Thursday, April 14, 2011

This Fucked Up Place Called America

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," waxing righteously indignant tonight and every night over the great gap between the wealthy few and the needy many. Oh, say. We've come a few baby steps from the slave labor used to build the Pyramids and grow cotton! But generally we're still wired either to dominate or recede.

I live in a place named Snobville. I teach in a place named Camden. It takes me nine minutes to drive to work, from Snobville to Camden.

Yesterday my daughter The Spare used this space to record a conversation she overheard from her classmates in which they extolled the virtue of bikini-shopping and moaned about having to fly to various resorts in coach amongst the "dirty people."

Yesterday and today I walked around my classroom as my students wrote about memorable moments in their lives. My students are nearly the same age as Spare and those girls she overheard.

Here is what is on the mind of my students:

*Mom dying of cancer, making plans with student to care for the younger siblings.
*Cousin being shot in a drug deal gone bad.
*Dad dying of liver cancer.
*Mom dying of a heart attack.
*Mom having so many heart attacks student learned how to dial 911 at age six. Mom has since died.
*Mom can't go home to Mexico to see her dying father because she doesn't have papers.
*Student gets called a gringo by his family in the Dominican Republic because he was born in America.
*Apartment fire, everything lost but our lives.
*Mom and Dad fought so much that a divorce is a relief.
*Cousin died, shot in crossfire.
*First ride in a squad car.
*Mom works six days a week, but on Sunday we have breakfast.
*My brothers were deported. I'll never see them again.
*Dad works three jobs to give us what he never had.
*I'm not allowed to write about my family. We are distantly related to Trujillo.
*No one in my family can speak English but me.

The misery these young people have seen is stunning. Their triumphs are few. Those who are upbeat write about love, parties, music, friends. Teenage things. But a patina of fear and resignation cloaks everything.

Even Spare, dear Spare, does not live with the expectations that her cousins will be shot and her apartment burnt down. But when I think that there are teenagers who wax indignant because they have to fly coach to a Mexican resort, I ... I ...

oh, crap. I feel a Billy Jack meltdown coming on. Clear the streets of Snobville while there's still time.


Alex (proudly poor, white, and trashy) Pendragon said...

Although I never did break through into that upper-middle class existence I aspired to, I NEVER suffered the pathetic day to day realities these kids do, sometimes merely due to the fact I'm white. Many years later, I am disgusted with my peers who dare call themselves Christian and join despicable movements called "Tea Parties" as if they even know where all this money really goes, or if they really know, they just don't fucking care. What those barbie clones need to happen to them is to get off at the wrong airport in Saudi Arabia and find out what it REALLY means to be a girl in a cruel world.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, everything is relative, isn't it?

Teacats said...

Calling out to all Pagan Pet/Cat Owners to light a candle and ask (in your own Ways and Means) for the nasty creatures hereabouts to be discovered and brought to Justice ....

Anne -- would you mind asking one (or several) of your Bored Gods/Goddesses to Lend a Hand?

Many thanks to All!

Anonymous said...

Holding you in my heart and in Light Anne,



heartbreaking isn't it..?

Intense Guy said...

It's probably like this the world over - but aggravated in the land of the thoughtless, rude American.

And to think - these (truly disgusting) weathy ones are the ones that hold the true power in our so-called "democracy".

Vest said...

I have spent more time than I should reading and enjoying your posts, must get on now things to do before attending a permanent departure tomorrow.