You Don’t Have Much To Say

October 11, 2011

I just came across Al-Jazeera’s series titled Slavery: A 21st Century Evil, which I think is more than 110% appropriate for these Occupy Wall Street protests.

Let me take a tiny step back. Yesterday I was listening to Sean Hannity (my co-worker’s default radio station on the drive home). He interviewed a young lady (Zuni I believe her name was?) who made some decent arguments about the corporatocracy and what people should do. I pretty much agreed with everything she said, but then he asked her why or how the corporations should be punished. She didn’t have much of a response. It would have been the perfect moment to talk about the link between modern slavery and American corporations.

This, again, goes back to what I’ve been saying, what Kevin Bales says in Disposable People, and E. Benjamin Skinner in A Crime So Monstrous: fight with your dollar. Zuni did mention this strategy, but didn’t stress it as much as it should’ve been. The example she used was MacDonald’s. True, MacDonald’s is not good for you and it would be ideal for people to stop supporting it; however, what Hannity wanted to point out was that MacDonald’s fulfills a desire the American people want. So ultimately the solution to the MacDonald’s problem isn’t that we should tax it more. We should curb the desire to eat their products.

The same goes for the perpetuation of modern slavery. Corporations like The Gap and IKEA fill a void in our lives for affordable, decent quality clothing and furniture. You can’t simply yell at the government and corporations for paying below minimum wage overseas if you continue to support these businesses. And maybe every single person occupying Wall Street doesn’t own clothing from The Gap/Old Navy or furniture from IKEA. It’s entirely possible, but very unlikely. We’ve accepted the products of modern slavery as essential to our everyday lives. Even our food. Even some food harvested in our own country is done by modern slaves.

I’m sure the people on Wall Street and in Woodruff Park all agree with my points, but are they ready to act on them?

Update 4:51pm: just saw that the Occupiers in Atlanta have marched to Bank of America in Midtown. So…you make the effort to get to the building, just so you can yell at it? Can’t you all simply walk inside and take your money out?! Can’t you actually do something to end the “greed”?!

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Imagine This

January 19, 2010

Today I thought “Hmm. I’ve been so busy with preparing for school that I haven’t had time to even think about another blogpost.” But I found something in the final hours of the day. I read another article on human trafficking at Change.org, but this time it was an apology to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for our lack of progress. As much as I usually enjoy Amanda Kloer‘s articles, I found this one particularly useless and painful to read. Yes, there are many who believe racism is dead in the US because now we have a black president. Yes, the Golden Globes were a clear example of our seemingly frivolous ways of spending money here while many besides Haiti across the world suffer. And yes, this article in the San Jose Mercury News may be a feel good piece about teens making a difference in the Bay Area.

But these are not things to apologize for. Read the rest of this entry »


Sisters of Avalon

September 30, 2009

For my International Studies in Human Rights course this week, I’m reading Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. My copy has been used at least once before, and the margins are only somewhat stained with the former owner’s comments. His/her hot pink pen scribbles and underlines pieces I agree with, and I readily underline over her own markings. My comments sometimes overlap with hers, or they stand on their own. Other times I can only underline and put exclamation points by her notes.

This kind of dialogue can’t happen in a Kindle. While I may never meet this person, and as Billy Collins has so beautifully written, I have established a melancholy relationship with the previous reader, which makes my experience that much richer. The margins are fat and begging to be taken and deflowered. I’ve claimed them as my own. My dark blue ink collides with the previous person’s hot pink – an illustration and tribute to accessible knowledge. At the end of the book, Kevin Bales asks that the reader pass on the book to further the education. I am all too ready to give this book to someone else. Let the dialogue continue.