Recently a town hall
among staff at my school
was held to process the recent travesties of systemic racism
and it closed with a reflection about hope
which made me think of the beginning of a beloved poem,

“‘Hope' is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -”

Until, it does.

It was so easy for my white colleagues
to wear hope on their shoulders
like a tactfully draped scarf.

But hope ends when my black colleagues and friends 
share stories of their
sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, family, friends

shot at stoplights

lynched at fast food restaurants

shuffled into incarceration

year after year, decade after decade, century after century

Hope is the thing white people
dramatically tug at and adjust
to make themselves feel better
about their inaction.
Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

3 thoughts on “Hope

  1. Really powerful piece! I understand wanting to have hope, but how often does hope take the place of action for white people? I had never before connected hope so clearly with white privilege, and I appreciate your piece for helping me see hope as a potential (and enticing!) detour to taking action.


  2. This is such a powerful piece of writing. I’m glad you shared it today.

    Like Elisabeth stated, hope and action are two very different things. You can hope all you want, but if you only hope alone, then nothing changes.


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