Saying that racism is over in America (or even the world, for that matter) always will get you a hearty laugh from me. I’m white, yes, but not blind. I see color. I see what happens when you’re the wrong color in the wrong place. 2014 should have been a wake up call for those who were on the fence, and with them the rest should have been pulled over to greater realization. However, a great many people still suffer from privilege goggles. They believe that if they don’t see it happening, then there is no problem. The problem with this elitist thinking is that those in the privileged class WILL NOT see it happening. That’s part of being privileged. All those ugly things are kept well away from you, and you get to benefit from the double standard (jobs, income level, safety, housing, goods and services…the list goes on). If you can’t see how the population is dispersed, when was the last time that you noticed an affluent neighborhood boasting multiple people or families of color in their ranks? Aside from the token family, the cities that have diversity at upper incomes are few. Most live in lower income areas, ending up there by legacy. It’s all well and good to tell someone to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, but let’s get over that saying. You can’t pull yourself up when there is nothing to grab onto, not even boots that might have straps. The saying is tired and elitist–and insensitive. It expresses the speakers ignorance of the real issues at work behind economic inequality. The opportunities simply are not there for underprivileged families and every day the programs that were put in place for them are being cancelled because voters refuse to fund them, but are okay with giving millionaires subsidies for their companies (which are poisoning the land, air and water around them).
What I find to be the most telling proof of racism’s existence is the actions that people take around racially charged issues. Take for instance the shootings of African American teenagers and adults (even children). In reaction to the poor public safety service that a community has been given by police, the people have a right to come together and demand higher quality. Yes? I would think we can all agree on that. However, when the people of Missouri town banded together to make a change, the police responded a la DiBlasio…they turned their backs on the public they swore to serve. They dared to elect a black mayor. Oh, the humanity! They didn’t even get to replacing elected law enforcement officials, just the mayor. If this reaction doesn’t scream racism, I don’t know what does. Read more….
“It was a time of company towns, when all real estate, housing, doctors, and grocery stores were owned by the coal companies themselves, which led to the suppression of dissent as well as overinflated prices and an extreme dependence on the coal companies for everything that made life livable. In some of these, workers couldn’t even leave town, and armed guards made sure they didn’t. Also, if any miner or his family began to air grievances, they might find themselves evicted and run out of town.” – Brandon Weber, curator, shared on Upworthy
My travels have carried me as far as Ireland in the East and as far as Memphis in the West. I’ve met a lot of people and have still further to travel and more places to stop along the way ahead of me. But, in that time already spent, a constant degradation of the view of Unions has been seeping among those people I meet. Speaking on privilege, the subject often errs on the side of race and gender, but there is another seat to which the horse-racing-blinders apply: Economics. Race is gendered and economic, and all the probable combinations of that.
Unions are a relatively new construction, at least for the United States. I believe Rome had their congregations and strong arm tactics for the rights of workers being hired. That said, the United States is the first in line to try and shirk the necessity of such institutions. Why is beyond my ability to understand. I’m pro-labor and therefore pro-union. The two shall not be parted. The simple fact of the matter is, if you view your time and effort (labor) as a commodity up for sale, then you start to understand the dynamics of how this thing should work. Instead of viewing your time and effort (labor) as something you MUST do, must feel privileged to have a job, view them as items for sale.
Everyone says that time is money. Time is precious. Most certainly it is. You’ll never get a minute spent back. So all the time you spend commuting and working is gone. It’s lost. Do you realize that if you work 5 days a week, you have approximately 4-6 hours a night at home with family and friends to spend. The rest is spent on resting, your commute, preparing for the day and actually at the job. Resting, commute and preparation time is not time you really spend on yourself. We all require rest, but we cannot get anything done while we’re tranced out in the sack, and quite frankly, you might as well call it preparation time. The reason you sleep your forty winks, is so you’re rested for the next day, which you spend on someone else’s business. So goes the commute, some of the weekend (doing laundry, cleaning up, preparing meals ahead of time, etc.) A modicum of time is spent on your own needs, your business. That is supposed to be compensated by a salary or wage and benefits. When you earn subsistence level wages, that’s very hard to accept–depressing even.
And, yet, there are those who feel that we should feel honored to have a job–regardless of what that job is, what it pays, what it does to us.
The individuals who should be honored about the job you hold, are those who benefit from the labor you put forth. Having a job is a right, not a privilege, as our system works on a monetary exchange base. Calling it a privilege is probably the biggest slap in the face when you earn them how much in return for sitting there putting caps on tubes for a buck an hour? And, the company cries about billion dollar earnings not being enough, as the seat you were given pinches your ass cheeks and gives you sciatica and wondering where you’re going to get the money to buy school clothes for your child, or fix your car so you can get to work. That example hardly illustrates all the health problems workers get from their jobs, from emotional to physical injury. They give us benefits that barely deal with the issues: cover cost by copay, forced to take generics instead of the actual medicine needed, procedures refused for ‘we don’t cover that on your policy’. And your wage never makes up the difference in the maintenance of the machine that is you. There’s a reason they call that office Human Resources, where you talk to other machines about benefits and salary–you are a resource. Generally, you’re thought of as a renewable resource, but we’ll see how that goes as the environment in which we function continues to degrade. Much like other machines, our systems are pretty delicate and the things in our environment can gum up the works. One too many grains of sand in your gears and there’s no fixing what’s broke.
Now that you see you’re a machine who barters time and effort for salary and benefits, you might start to understand why it is necessary for all those machines to band together and negotiate the sale price of that time and effort and maintenance cost. For those who think that unions are pock mark on the butt of labor, they have really missed the lesson of history in this regard. Slavery may be illegal, but indentured servitude has come under another name: Capitalism. Without proper regulation, the human machines doing the work will be maintained at the same level as the other equipment in the factory: used up until they break and then replaced with newer models. Hated. Despised.
To learn the lesson of history, check out this video on Upworthy about a Mining Union to learn more about the history of Labor Unions…
I never really thought about this before. The author doesn’t give a de facto reason for why there are no female genitals on ancient marble statues of females. She alludes to the usual position that patriarchy did it. I suppose that is essentially the reason, but I’m thinking more along the lines of…we’re they sanded down or re-chisled to disguise their “disgrace” from Victorian eyes? That’s the reason that penises are absent on most male statues. They were literally knocked off as not to offend the eye. Some just donned a leaf, I guess, so that women could enjoy them without fainting at the sight, cause, you know, we can’t handle the truth.
Either way, this is an interesting read about a phenomena of history that illustrates the inequality between men and women. Enjoy…
“It has been a whole year of agony for the relatives of the missing 219 Chibok girls. There have been a few sightings of some of the abducted students but very little official information from a government that has long promised to rescue them from the clutches of Boko Haram.”
This incident eats me up inside. I feel so helpless, as do most readers who are following this story. What can we do from such a distance? For starters, we can keep the story alive by sharing it and sharing our outrage. Secondly, make sure that your outrage is coming from a place of: “I Goddam well know that we have the resources to have gotten them back by now.” Because, the truth is, we do.
The United States, China and other great powers promised their help in finding the girls. What has the help netted the families of the victims? Nothing. You can surely bet that the crux of that lackadaisical effort is racism. Would the same slow reaction have occurred if this took place in Denmark? Canada? If the girls were white? Yes, China promised to help, but do they care that a group of young African girls were taken and married off? China has innumerable human rights violations under its belt. They do not regard female children with the same respect as male children. They have historically regarded themselves as superior to other races, despite colonialism by Europe and Japan. As for the other powerful nations, well they’re white nations and we know what that nets people of color who need help.
It breaks my heart that these girls have been taken, most certainly sexually abused, forced into slavery, marriage and into a faith that disregards their humanity. Keep this story alive. Imagine if you were their mother or father…Express your outrage. Write to someone who can push with the campaign to bring back the 296 Chibok Girls to their families. They’re human. They’re suffering. They need us now.