Monday, January 21, 2008

Juxtaposition Displaying Forced Submission...

It is MLK's birthday, not that anyone REALLY cares. I mean it’s a day off of work and school for most, but I doubt that many people really care to understand the significance, history and the message of MLK (outside of what they teach you in elementary school…another reason that home school is the way to go). I’m not sure that I even grasp the entire movement and struggle, because the foundation had already been laid for me. Not to sound crass, but I can honestly say it’s been WAY easier for me because of the plight of others like MLK. My generation HAS (and still does without a doubt) struggled, but in a less intense manner than that of our ancestors, parents and grandparents. I know that I can walk with my head high and not live in fear that a cross will be burned in my front yard because Lucas is white and I am black (this is due to the extreme diversity of where I live (DC metro area, but in other places in America I know this risk is still alive and kicking). I also have been privileged enough to get an extensive education, etc. However, I do experience different forms of racism in both my work and my personal life, but they are very quiet and polite (if you will…) and most likely (from personal experience) if a complaint was uttered aloud it would be dismissed and chalked up to paranoia or a chip on the old shoulder.

For some his dream has been realized, but I don’t truly believe it has been fully attained and won’t be until the relevance of his "dream" is extended to all sentient beings. I also feel that way in part due to the media and the portrayal of “minorities and people of color” (btw-I despise both references). I am about to read The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery by Marjorie Spiegel. The forward is written by Alice Walker (The Color Purple, Meridian). I feel that all people should consider that the implications of racism and sexism spill right over into specisim, where the similarities are rampant.

Animals are our “modern-day slaves”, that we objectify and dominate with such callousness and no regret. As a black woman I can not knowingly participate as an oppressor and feel that I’m being morally consistent. This vivid comparison scares and infuriates a lot of people, but obviously that isn’t EVER going to stop me from making it. It didn’t stop Marjorie or Alice either...thanks to both of these courageous woman who like Dr. King laid the foundation and built the framework for me to be able to speak truths close to my heart. I’ll review the book once I’ve finished it. I have read great reviews on this book and my husband devoured the book in about one day, reading aloud to me the parts he found most riveting. I have pasted some editorial reviews I got from Amazon below.

I too have a dream, that one day all living creatures large and small, hoofed and winged, amphibious and reptilian will be treated with respect and allowed to live out their lives cruelty free without the chains and oppression of a so called “modern society” with Neolithic tendencies…

(scroll past reviews for more blogging goodness)

Editorial Reviews
From Library JournalSpiegel, executive director of the Institute for the Development of Earth Awareness, has revised her 1989 book to present an in-depth exploration of the similarities between the violence humans have wrought against other humans and our culture's treatment of animals. Using considerable scholarship, she makes a strong case for links between white oppression of black slaves and human oppression of animals. Her thesis is not that the oppressions suffered by black people and animals have taken identical forms but that they share the same relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed. These comparisons include the brandings and auctions of both slaves and animals, the hideous means of transport (slave ships, truckloads of cattle), and the tearing of offspring from their mothers. Her illustrative juxtapositions are graphic, e.g., a photograph of a chimpanzee in a syphilis experiment beside a photo of a black man in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. As Alice Walker writes in the preface, "This powerful book...will take a lifetime to forget." Chilling yet enlightening, this provocative book is vitally important in our efforts to understand the roots of individual and societal violence. It belongs in all libraries. [The book received a special award from The International Society for Animal Rights.Ed.] Eva Lautemann, DeKalb Coll. Lib., Clarkston, Ga.-Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. Book Review"Fascinating..." The New York Review of Books

"An extremely important book honest and fearless...Marjorie Spiegel has said the single most important thing there is to say about animals. I love this book." Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Author of The Hidden Life Of Dogs

"This powerful book will take a lifetime to forget." Alice Walker, Author of The Color Purple, from her foreword to "The Dreaded Comparison"

"This book belongs in all libraries." Library Journal

"THE DREADED COMPARISON: HUMAN AND ANIMAL SLAVERY by Marjorie Spiegel...executive director of the Institute for the Development of Earth Awareness compares the exploitation of human slaves and of animals, as well as explores the putative justifications of those who profit." Publishers Weekly

"Marjorie Spiegel ...has written a deeply provocative book." David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor of History, Yale University

"THE DREADED COMPARISON is a wonderful and important book...I loved it. I urge everyone to read it." Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Author, When Elephants Weep

THE DREADED COMPARISON should be placed in schoolrooms across the universe. Gordon Parks, Photographer and Author

Spiegels book is a powerful and important statement about oppression and violence in Western culture. The author writes "To those who would be master, what matters is not so much who their slaves will be, but that there are slaves to be had". This work is accessible to all adult audiences, and would be suitable for college courses at any level in sociology, philosophy, or peace studies, or examining issues of oppression in contemporary animal issues. Multicultural Review

"...eerie parallels between slavery and dominance over animals are well described in this provocative book. We know that slaves have been treated like animals; Spiegel asks us to consider why we treat animals like slaves." Tom Hayden, California State Senator

"...Fascinating and beautifully concise." James Merrill, Author, The Changing Light at Sandover

"...this book is all the more powerful for the testimony of slaves and descendants of slaves who have voiced their empathy strongly with the rest of oppressed creation..." The New Scientist

"[An] invaluable contribution...Marjorie Spiegel’s extraordinary book, The Dreaded Comparison, with its judiciously chosen quotations and stunningly juxtaposed illustrations...packs a huge punch." Boston Book Review

"[A] gem..." Choice
THE DREADED COMPARISON is essentially a consciousness-raising exercise..." The Womens Review of Books

OH – and just for giggles I read this article from the AP:
(pasted after my rant)

What a crock…I mean he immediately refers to companion animals (like so many others)…oh my daughters want a dog. WHAT ABOUT COWS AND ANIMALS USED IN AGRIBUSINESS OBAMA (you know dude…the ones that you eat for dinner)??? Why does animal rights get soooooo lost even on those supposedly educated and informed like politicians? People consider themselves animal lovers because they like cats and dogs, they don’t see that there is NO DIFFERENCE between the dog that cuddles with them at night and a cow on their dinner plates. They are both domesticated and both are sentient AND both deserve to live a cruelty free existence! If he truly cared about animal rights issues he would obviously GO VEGAN!!!! Ya think??!?!!!

Obama Pledges Support for Animal Rights
5 days ago
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Democrat Barack Obama says he won't just be a president for the American people, but the animals too.
"What about animal rights?" a woman shouted out during the candidate's town hall meeting outside Las Vegas Wednesday after he discussed issues that relate more to humans, like war, health care and the economy.
Obama responded that he cares about animal rights very much, "not only because I have a 9-year-old and 6-year-old who want a dog." He said he sponsored a bill to prevent horse slaughter in the Illinois state Senate and has been repeatedly endorsed by the Humane Society.
"I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other," he said. "And it's very important that we have a president who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals."
Compiled by Nedra Pickler

1 comment:

Lobo Pasolini said...

Hi there, nice blog, I'm reading The Dreaded Comparison right now and it's really great. Harrowing, but gives an animal rights actist a lot of verbal ammunition. Keep up the good job! Lobo.