Monthly Archives: February 2012

(more legacies of) Slavery

More Legacies of Slavery

Slavery was (is) so much like what has happened (is) happening with credit now –to credit and to citizens. Credit card companies own (most) of us. Every day, my inboxes fill with offers to provide me with credit scores, and/or additional cards. Switch! (I’m encouraged). To speed up shopping, link a card to your account, tap and go! Meanwhile, those at the top are getting richer and richer, and those at the bottom seem to get poorer and poorer, resulting in a vanishing middle class. The gap between the top and the bottom is widening –I hope you like what you’re born into, because moving out of one designation and entering another will be difficult (at best). As I write this, I’m recalling when (some, not all) women got the right to vote –not as impressive to me, perhaps because of (some of) slavery’s legacy: seemed just right for women, from that tradition as its women had always worked –after all, slavery was an (economic) path to getting labor done –an economic path with racial barometers and barriers. For enjoyment, I read When They Were Girls; the they included Clara Barton and, a personal favorite: Susan B. Anthony. Perhaps because of my father’s pale coloring, that book was magical to me, anything that applied to him, I figured (still do) also applied to me, but I was wrong (still wrong) about that. I failed to understand that Susan might not be working on my behalf. She (in pictures I’d seen) and my father were a similar color
–they looked the same.

I come from a household in which my mother and father always worked, so it was not strange to me to be left at home, alone, while adults worked –no matter the job, I was left to my own devices, usually reading and writing till my parents returned. I started writing at age six. The legal right for women to vote was granted in my mother’s country (also mine) in 1920, via the nineteenth amendment to the US constitution. But as a woman of color, she had to wait longer to exercise that right. Slavery, in essence, was extended (even to now). Post-reconstruction America, was not a hospitable place for the variety of citizens that lived here, then and that live here now. Please read more about the USA’s history of low tolerance for racial equality here: (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2957.html). Read more about some of the history of black exclusion from home ownership via exclusion from bank loans here: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortgage_discrimination).

–such reading can help to change a mind (such as mine) about affirmative action (which has probably) helped me, and is probably still helping me: as I think about policies based on (or rooted in) medical discrimination, especially against those with physical and/or mental abnormalities and/or anomalies. While not at the bottom, I don’t believe (except for perhaps in remembering –no more mental math team for me, I guess!) I am not at the bottom, either. I can still both teach and write, but with more compassion for those excluded from these ranks. I am a better person (seems better to me) because of what I’ve survived, and the ways in which this survival is manifesting itself. (–would be better, perhaps, if not for the banks.)

I do feel enslaved to banks –and to credit card companies (who really own me). My car is mine, however, paid for in its entirety (but, being a 2004 Nissan, the car does require maintenance, that I must pay for –often with a credit card, so until that amount is paid off, I suppose I don’t really own my car –and as balances get too low for the lien holders, I get offers to go into more debt, possibilities of reverse mortgages, etc. (now that the house is nearly paid for) and a general lack of empowerment for me who is not a corporate leader, who owns no valuable stock, and who is not invited to the meetings where decisions are made. I pass nothing on any sides of tables (but I do have to report injuries, –my prior medical conditions– when asked by companies about to make some decisions I’ll have to try to live with –oh my numbered days!)

There was a time after slavery ended when blacks still had no rights, still lived without any real ownership of their lives, couldn’t make legal decisions that would be upheld wherever they went –even within the country, south to north, east to west, etc. (Still a problem for the bi/multiracial and the gays & lesbians in various parts of the world.) Religions have made acceptance more difficult, not easier. It seems logical, for instance, to construct a brown Jesus. Would He not be the color that people from that part of the world tend to be? Our recent enemies from Iran and Iraq? Brown –a dominant skin tone (darker than my own father). The most violent forms of aggression against minorities seem to have ended or seem to be ending. There will, likely as long as there are people, be pockets of violence filled with people who take out their fears and animosities on others. An end of aggression is not upon us, despite turning the other cheek. It seems likely that lynching was an outcome of the end of a terrible system that persisted in the new world longer than anywhere else –and now enslaves us all. My maternal grandfather was murdered, perhaps lynched –this isn’t talked about much; hardly ever mentioned. His absence has been felt; however. He is enigmatic; a person of imagination, not memory. And he is one of my antecedents. Incredibly shadowy –as a lynched figure would have to be.

I am beholden to companies with lots of money, bank wads (–I know that Nene is rich, but I don’t know Nene–), the ones really responsible for my having the stuff I consider mine (could be stolen at anytime –hope not, however). Some of it, I’ve had so long I no longer fear a corporation taking repossession of it (again: could be stolen at any rime, but then wouldn’t be mine tom worry about theft might help get me off the grid where none of this would matter, including blogs and websites –where servers are maintained by others, including the corporation –what I consider my work depends on them).
The house (in need of repair), provided I can hold onto my job for (at least) another five years, will be ours (I’ve been married almost 40 years) –no more mortgage then! Some (all Jehovah’s Witnesses) of my friends –one of whom would have made a superb French teacher, were not supposed to go to college because the world was supposed to end before their graduation –in the eighties. But the world is still here for now –I don’t know for sure –who does; even those who claim to know have based this knowledge on human perception –which remains problematic. For how much longer, no one can say with certainty (–this planet is as vulnerable as any other cosmic object); and right on Earth, we’ve got climate change and its effects (poor polar bears), those wayward asteroids and possibly a return of a comet that took out the dinosaurs (the Earth does indeed have some craters. Click on this link for a list, each item of which is also clickable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_impact_craters_on_Earth). It shows, what I believe from what I was taught and what I’ve been exposed to (what I haven’t been exposed to has not had an opportunity to influence me, but if LFT is correct, then such opportunities might have a chance to occur before what we believe is here –according to unreliable human perception– is gone).

Of course, we are capable of annihilating ourselves (hydraulic fracturing may assist with a process of annihilation –but may not– contribute to an ultimate demise that seems rather definite to me. I doubt that humanity will last forever (Limited Fork Theory is all about strategies of doubting; connections could be made in doubt as well as in affirmation). So far, lasting forever has not been a tendency of any terrestrial inhabitants –why would it/should it be different for humanity? For human beings? I don’t think that we are special, no more so than anything else alive. Aren’t we just parts of other species in a long chain of life? Chain is significant, I hope, calling to (some) minds those chain gangs –and a song by Sam Cooke, released on an album: Wonderful World –an album where the rights belong to (Cooke’s first single for RCA):

The Corporation.

Clicking on this link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_Gang_(song)) will take you to more info about the song. There are, of course, other songs about chains, but the focus is on the song named.

Click on this link (http://gerryspence.wordpress.com/category/corporate-slavery/) to read more about how we are corporate slaves –slavery that is a part of, it seems, citizenry (in this democracy –built-in slavery, built-in like appliances also made by corporations. One of the flaws of democracy, that many of us think of a form of (political –to differentiate it, as much as possible, further from religious) salvation. Our money does say: in God we trust.

Sharecropping

Quite an insidious system. You never own your little agricultural plot; takes an incredibly long time to buy off your family. You’re encouraged to plant, plow, harvest, but progress is difficult (at best) to measure. This link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharecropping takes you to more about sharecropping as Wikipedia reports it (I like how Wikipedia is an aggregate, relying on the knowledge and accountability of users –I see no reason not to trust this user-based system of info dissemination –I’ve been taught to trust the Bible and encyclopedias –Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, but one that constantly accepts info as info become available; it self-corrects, and expands, grows as humanity grows, –is as trustworthy as humanity is– Wikipedia bifurcates, is a bit of LFT in action). Cotton enters here (again): the touch and feel. The fabric of our lives. Please visit http://www.lex97.com and watch the T-shirt skeletons movie, on the website: lex97 and on YouTube: the forkergirl channel.

Whitney’s Gone…but I’m still here

Whitney’s gone, but I’m still here
(hoping to take advantage of this gift)

(–maybe the world needed or wanted Whitney more —
but she is gone, and I remain to do what I can –but I can’t sing as she did, certainly not at the peak of her career in the 80’s and early 90’s, but perhaps I’ll do what I can –what more or else? I expect to fall short, human that I am without choice or argument).

Whitney’s gone

(but I’m not, not that our lives should be conflated;
I would disappear without fanfare or even notice beyond my family & employer, maybe a few friends from neighborhoods where I’ve lived; a handful of doctors who may still wonder a bit exactly who I am/was).

What should I do with this “extra” time that is mine
–not that I really believe that I have “extra” time;
I don’t think my time on earth has lengthened; I don’t think that suddenly I have skills previously lacking, but I can see (a little) more of my son –I hope at least another 20 years though the world may be gone, and I may have entered another dimension presently (though not necessarily forever) inaccessible from here. Perhaps climate changes will make the planet inhospitable to life as humanity has known it and has come to expect it (with some religious-based differences).

Will there be enough food and and clean, fresh water?
Something that has led to me has been here since life on Earth began, so I may have descendants who will struggle to survive (along with all other lifeforms), but the easy ride (fortunately, humanity did not have to share this world with dinosaurs, but recent work suggests –pretty much confirms for me– that birds are descendants of dinosaurs and that some of these past lizards may have been feathered –the male t-Rex may have been quite a bit more familial –caring, involved with rearing young
t-rexes, etc. He may have stayed with the nest, protecting it, decorating it, etc). He may have been one of the early gardeners.

I don’t know what kind of gardener Whitney was (or in more time would have become).

I am not (never have been) noted for my gardening. I did receive a small plot to care for long ago as part of the Moses Cleaveland school gardening program). My mother has performed more admirably with plants; she deserves an award from me (my father is no longer here to award her personally, but she believes she’ll be reunited with him –and with all others who have departed
–including Whitney and the dinosaurs).