Joy is different for everyone.
And so it was for the Black women who contributed to this issue.
For this issue we focused on black women’s joy because the world doesn’t allow Black women to tell all of their stories. More often than not, we are called on to do the supremely thankless task of responding to tragedy while we’re still processing it.
The frustration, trauma and anxieties arising from those tragedies have made movements out of moments. And yet, rage propels you right until it shatters you.
And rage - outrage, protest, rioting, resentment, backlash - marks this time. At times, it can feel like there isn’t a lot of room to breathe. Until a friend makes a joke or a child tells you a long story or you hear that one song you needed to.
Hovering over chess boards, eating pizza on hotel beds, on a grandmother’s veranda, in a kitchen, and even on the internet, in this issue we found joy in the spaces where we can simply be.
Lila Bristol makes order of the world by staring down the black and white pieces of a chess board. (She always plays black.) Putting the world into its proper place is why Asheda Dwyer cracks open a coconut in the mornings. And remembering a wonderworld of grandmother’s garden reminds Amanda White where she felt joy as a kid.
Joy allows us to be our fullest selves. As Huda Hassan writes in the feature essay for this issue, “Laughter has the literal ability to physically heal us.” In a year where hate and crisis seem to be constantly around the corner, it has been a complete joy to edit this issue of the Ethnic Aisle.
We, too, needed this.