I’m a deep thinker, often too deep. After watching a bunch of cool things today, the following things are running through my mind:
The fact that when they started setting up Colonial Williamsburg, they wanted it to be some silly, unrealistic utopia of what colonial life was like. It’s been designed around what the top 10% of colonists enjoyed as daily life. The rest of us would’ve had dirt floors and no amenities like the gentry this place is modeled after were able to enjoy in their homes.
Secondly, why isn’t history taught in a better way? Reading boring textbooks and having someone talk at you about boring dates and names is no way to learn anything. I know I learned about colonial times at least 6 times in my educational career, and yet I’ve learned more from watching Hamilton and doing research inspired by it, and listening to people here. We need to do better in education. Maybe virtual reality can make it possible. Feeling the way I felt today, sitting in a courtroom, listening to how the various states joined the revolution was really inspiring. That made me feel a way. NOTHING ABOUT THE WAY I WAS TAUGHT HISTORY MADE ME FEEL A WAY EXCEPT BORED. It was boring.
Realizing that this thing I’ve been feeling and trying to fight and wrap my mind around is that our entire society, culture, and country is built on intentionally disadvantaging people. The more I learn about the things they didn’t tell us about slavery in school, the more pissed off I get. The way Black bodies were used without their permission and agreement is sickening. And no, the fact that some never tried to run away is not the same as them consenting to provide their labor for free. Enslaved people had no choice. Wait, they did, I guess. Stay and maybe be treated moderately badly, or run away, get caught, and then get savagely punished. Or killed. Sounds like an easy choice, right?
It’s so disgusting that 1. It even happened. 2. The reality of it has been whitewashed as much as possible to make the enslavers, their children, grandchildren, and so on, and everyone who ever benefitted from it (hint, we are still benefitting from it) can feel better about what happened. Not ALL enslavers, right??? 3. And that politicians today seem to think that teaching the real truth is somehow making white kids feel shame and guilt and we cannot have that. That icky feeling you feel from learning the true brutality of slavery isn’t guilt. How can you feel guilty for something you didn’t do? No, it’s not guilt. It’s anger, frustration, sadness, sympathy, empathy even. And it’s ok to feel all of that about finding out that people were treated poorly, even worse than you’d been told. No one is asking you to surrender your lifestyle to make up for the past. But realizing that the ancestors of people around you and in your country were brutalized so others could get rich should be upsetting. Realizing that families were divided, enslavers raped female slaves to MAKE MORE SLAVES, and all of the enslaved were treated like property should make you want to fight someone. But it’s not the Black and Brown people around you now and it’s not the people who want to acknowledge what really happened. You also can’t fight the ghosts either. But what you can do is stop fighting change and stop saying stupid shit like ALLLLL lives matter. YES, ALLLLL lives matter, but people need to open their eyes and look around and see what’s going on. See what privilege you have that others may not have.
It’s pretty upsetting to realize that so many voices are silenced in favor of the richest, whitest, male voices. Nothing we’ve been taught is the whole truth and it’s tricky to find the documentation proving that others voices existed. I think it’s hard to realize that other voices did and DO exist. Hopefully the internet can be the equalizer that allows previously silenced voices to be hard and recorded.
I’m going to wrap this up for now because I am getting too wound up this late at night. Thanks for reading!!
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