Sometimes we experience poetry in human life -- a sense of joy and wonder, connectedness and meaning, and occasionally even transcendence. Sometimes we do not. This is, I believe, a general aspect of the human condition. Such generality notwithstanding, different persons face different obstacles to hearing that poetry. Some obstacles are internal, rooted in an individual's personality. Others are external, deriving from an individual's family, community, or society. This essay explores one distinctive and particularly difficult external obstacle to that poetic joy: lasting social subordination. How does lasting social subordination affect a subordinated person's ability to hear that poetry? What, if any, approaches can a subordinated person take toward hearing that poetry, subordination notwithstanding? How, in other words, can people cope with enduring social injustice?
Jonathan R. Cohen, Coping with Lasting Social Injustice, 13 Wash. & Lee J. Civil Rts. & Soc. Just. 259 (2007), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/30