Part 2 - The Memoir/Rant of a Hyper-Privileged Obnoxiously Lucky White Cis American Woman’s Trip Down River with 80yr Old Mother and 78yr Old Aunt

The Queen of the Mississippi_Anna & Alison

For those of you with the stomach for it I’ll go on….

 

Part 2 - Anecdotes

Another evening aboard the riverboat, we’re in the dining room again and I’ve invited one of the widowers I’ve grown fond of to join our table. During dessert he says his 50+yr old son’s a “drunk, who can’t hold a job….. Lives on disability and’s a deadbeat dad... He’s never paid his own bills, so I have to….But I’m just happy because he’s found Jesus and’s a born again Christian.”

I smile and pat his arm because who am I to judge another soul’s solace. But still….  

Or when we were getting off the bus after a tour around Vicksburg National Military Park and our bus driver, a black man, asked the white woman ahead of me if she enjoyed the tour and she replied “Not really. It was mostly Union stuff and not enough Confederate stuff…. But I guess I’m just still mad we lost.” Really happened...  

Back on another fucking bus and we’re listening to the 50ish year old white woman tour guide tell us all how lucky we are because our bus driver today is “Baby James.” *

She said she calls him that because they’ve been working together so long she feels just like he’s her baby. “Baby James” is black and 70 years old if he’s a day.

I just….

On yet another plantation tour, our guide is describing the people in the portraits on the walls inside the house. In one of the rooms hangs a portrait of a black man. The guide tells us the “charming” story of how when the family’s portraits were being painted by a visiting artist, their five year old daughter asked if the “devoted” butler could get his picture painted too. This was very “unusual at the time” and her parents objected. So she threw a fit until they relented.

I believe that what we we’re supposed to think when we hear that story is, How sweet…. See, the owners really did care about their slaves….  Slaves were like part of the family….. He must have been so honored…. What a feisty little white girl….

But to me it sounded like a plantation owning family had a house slave who was doing what he was forced to do to survive and along the way had “proved” himself to be such a “good and loyal” slave that they indulged their daughter and her “childish” whims….  

Where to start…...

And where will it end?

Part 3 of The Memoir/Rant of a Hyper-Privileged Obnoxiously Lucky White Cis American Woman’s Trip Down River with 80yr Old Mother and 78yr Old Aunt coming soon. Right now I gotta go donate to the ACLU….

* “infantilization” - Stanley M. Elkin an American historian who controversially compared slavery in the United States to Nazi concentration camps. He argued that the experience of slavery was psychologically infantilizing to slaves, making them follow what he controversially called the "Sambo" model. That the totalitarian environment systematically destroyed a slaves ability to resist, to plan, and to form positive relationships with one another.

 

Article by Anna Quick-Palmer