Last week I was royally pissed when I saw someone tweet about their latest blog post in which they compare themselves, as an indebted person, to being enslaved.
I didn’t click on it because I title like that–and a subtitle that doubled down on the idea–is designed to garner clicks, and I’m not going to grant my precious clicks to some inane bullshit.
But here’s the deal. Debt can suck. It can drain what funds you have. It can restrict your mobility. Hamper your goals.
SLAVES DIDN’T–AND DON’T–GET FUNDS, MOBILITY, OR GOALS.
American slavery began as a transatlantic nightmare in which humans were corralled, then shoved on ships so tightly packed that in some cases, captains anticipated a 20% loss. Yep. The trip took about 6 weeks, six weeks of being chained to other humans, lying in your own filth, sometimes with corpses.
THEN those humans who survived were inspected like cattle and sold to the highest bidder so that they might work until they died of exhaustion–old age unlikely–doing backbreaking labor, usually in sugar or rice or tobacco.
One’s status was determined matrilineally–FUCKING CONVENIENT, GIVEN THE PATRIARCHY–which meant that rapacious owners could assault the women they owned regularly and then ENSLAVE THEIR OWN CHILDREN.
Those children became fodder for the internal slave trade, which was the same system, minus the transatlantic ship and now featuring boats from places like Virginia down the Mississippi, to places like Louisiana. And now they farmed King Cotton more than other crops.
Families were broken at the will of enslavers. Runaways were beaten for daring to leave the system. If you look at runaway slave advertisements–readily available online–you can begin to see a pattern of injury descriptions that are concurrent with “hobbling” injuries–injuries to prevent further running away. Slave patrols–made of poor whites who wanted a piece of the system they could not buy themselves–beat even those slaves legally on the roads, nevermind runaways.
In Virginia for a long time if you “killed a slave in the course of correction“–beat them to death–the colony reimbursed you.
Modern slavery is only so different–secretive, where it was publicly acceptable before. Often overtly sexual in nature. Some undocumented immigrants also live in virtual slavery as housekeeping staff to those who exploit their status in order to keep hold of them indefinitely.
SO UNTIL YOUR FAMILY IS DESTROYED, YOUR LABOR STOLEN, YOUR BODY MANGLED, YOUR SPIRIT COMPELLED TO THE WHIMS OF ANOTHER–and Citibank is NOT another–YOU ARE NOT ENSLAVED.
Out of respect for those who were enslaved and those who are, just stop it.