50 Essays Guaranteed to Make You a Better Person

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”Some Thoughts on Mercy,” Ross Gay

This essay is, unfortunately, more relevant than ever. Poet Ross Gay delves not only into the terrible prejudices with which people of color in America struggle every day, but also into the way those prejudices influence their own perception, their own idea of themselves. “Look how I’ve been made by this,” he writes.

“But what if we acknowledged those fears, regardless of how awful or shameful they are? What if we acknowledged this country’s terrible and ongoing history of imagining its own citizens — indigenous, black, Japanese American, Arab American, Latino — as monsters? What if we acknowledged the drug war, and the resulting mass incarceration of African Americans, and the myriad intermediate crimes against citizens and communities as a product of our fears? And what if we thereby had to reevaluate our sense of justice and the laws and procedures and beliefs that constitute it? What if we honestly assessed what we have come to believe about ourselves and each other, and how those beliefs shape our lives? And what if we did it with generosity and forgiveness? What if we did it with mercy?”

As an added bonus, there is also some really beautiful stuff about bees.

Read it here.