Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole, i.e. , on the side of the class that produces its own product in the form of capital.
Karl Marx, Capital, "Chapter XXV"
Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
His posture caught my attention. It made him appear to be slightly bowing forward from the waist whenever while standing before these two elderly white colleagues, both of whom had been Peace Corp teachers back in the day. Now these two senior citizens at the time along with this young man and his age-wise compatriots and me, the oldest, in my early 50s, are here in Ethiopia, with another government organization receiving funding from USAID.
He is black. So are the colleagues in his age bracket.
I remember thinking of the days when blacks carefully constructed postures of subservience. I should say, I remember hearing and reading about those days. Sometimes I noted the residue of such a posture whenever my father stopped to speak to a white man at a auto shop or gas station. He would clasp his hands behind his back and slighly bend forward.
And I remember the grin, even today. This twenty-something young man with the grin. And the nodding. Yes, sir, I understand. I understand. Nod. Nod some more. This was in 2002.
The events following September 11, 2001 are still unfolding. There's talk of Bush, Jr. sending high-tech missiles over Iraq. But it's a year later now. The war will come in 2003. March. The second half of the school year would have already begun just a month earlier.
The University of Wisconsin would have rid itself of the black troublemaker. Or rather, the "black chick" the English department hired two years before only to dismiss, or attempt to send packing before the contract is signed. That's how it's done sometimes. The "authorities" in power assigned a black administrator do the job of assisting them with giving the narrative a little twist: we tried, but she just didn't work out.
Now, months later, it's an even younger black man who stands tall whenever he's before me.
You're a good young man.
Thank you, sir.