My skin doesn’t reveal my soul

Traci Neal,
Columbia, SC

As long as I can remember, growing up in the South, I have had my experiences with racism. I think, in some ways, it became normal for me to encounter it occasionally. Still, nothing would prepare me for what I would face in April 2023. I am a professional poet. I felt amazing to be a part of a book anthology for African American poets.

We, poet contributors, were celebrating our book launch on April 26, 2023, via Zoom. We were halfway through where poets were reading their individual poems. All of a sudden, we get Zoom bombed by a hacker who puts up these derogatory images of male private parts and was shouting the “n” word while typing it in the chat. It hurt to my core so much that I had to walk away from my husband’s laptop.

Many thoughts ran through my mind that night and sleep didn’t seem to even be an option for me. It took a few days to reflect and wrap my mind around it all, but I am sharing this story as a declaration. I have a soul. It is beautiful. It matters. It cares about humanity. My skin doesn’t reveal my soul. It just opens up the door for conversation and maybe even growth. You can never judge a book until you take the time to read it. I hope each of us will listen more in order to learn more.


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