Langston Hughes once said,
That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.
To this, I sigh. His words, only four verses, echo down vacant courthouses, silent churches, and empty firearm chambers. To speak of justice, is to speak of injustice; they sit together tightly in the face of the sun as the black thread and the white are woven together. And when the black thread breaks the tailor must look into the whole cloth, and he must examine the loom also.
Lady Justice, we’ve been a strong vessel, to which you’ve poured all your debris. But we’ve also been a mirror for you –– if you’d only look us in our eyes. And yet, you feel emboldened to stand before us at every court bench, at every streetside, every home, every police station and disguise your blindness as transcendence. Your scale does its best to quell the rhythm of rebellion, but you cannot hear its melody, the thundering of its heart.
Often have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world. But Themis, let the dawn show your silhouette as black. You are no saint, no divine being too virtuous to confront the injustice, the unrest, and the pain of too many.
Your justice is a thin veil of lace cast over a lamp, trapping small insects drawn to it’s light. Your justice is the grim reminder of torture when wailing sirens pass by our house. Your justice is the white flowers placed delicately on the casket of your victims.
That justice, is the terror that runs through a white cop’s body, fearing the slight of a black man’s hand to reach his wallet –– that his carseat is a minefield, that any wrong move could spell death. That, because he could not bear the thought of leaving his children fatherless, he leaves
this black body mangled, disrupted by bullets because his mind would not accept the narrative of his dignity, of his humanity, of his justice.
But, Lady Justice, my mind is no sieve, and my eyes lay bare. I am bound to be haunted by the strength that lets black fathers, mothers, kinfolk march onward –– in your name.