“When you don’t know when you have been spit on, it does not matter too much what else you think you know.”Posted: April 24, 2014
-“Ruth Shays”, quoted in Drylongso by John Langston Gwaltney published in 1980
Most of know when we are being spit on. We know when an experience is designed to be disheartening, demoralizing, and dehumanizing. Walking in the middle of street with cars swearing at you because Mickey D’s won’t shovel their sidewalks (they always shovel their parking lot); wearing winter coats that don’t fit well so younger relatives can wear proper ones; waiting in long lines (They always have enough lanes open at Wegman’s where the well-off shop, never at Price Chopper in the First Ward. The line at Social Service is always long); old and uncomfortable shoes; the bank teller telling you how not to overdraw (“You are spending too much”—NO! I don’t get paid enough!); the person in the nice clothes next to you in line judging what you buy. And we resist. We resist at work and in our community. We give that car that yelled out the window the finger, we smile really big, we “forget” to ring something up, we make jokes. No one practices resistance the same way, but we all do it.
Although we know when we are being spit, it’s not always clear who is doing the spitting and how we can fight back. In this issue, Lulu O’Platt writes how she fought back by calling the NYS Public Service Commission and confronting NYSEG. Then she took it a step further: she shared her story with you and me. She shared life-saving information, and she let others know they are not alone. She turned the slight against her into a moment of unity, a moment of community. In another article Sonny Tufts reminds us that there is good reason to not pay attention to “the news,” and the most forwarding thinking amongst us are the less well off. “The news” is written by and for the elites and the better off, not for the working poor (and all poor are working even if they don’t get a “pay-check”). The only way to create a paper that talks to working people is to publish working people.
Share your story. What are your struggles? How do you confront them? What can we do together as a community? You don’t need all the answers to share your story, to let other people know they are not alone, or to have something valuable to say. Stories are the bedrock of community, and sharing them is necessary in order to fight back. We will respect your confidentiality: Peoplespressbc@gmail.com or
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