A Vexed Question

JP Morgan admits, and attempts to make restitution for past links to slavery. Specifically, certain Southern banks used slaves as collateral back before the Civil War, and it seems that the current assets or possessions of JP Morgan are derived from those now defunct banks.

I'm working on a project involving prison farm songs and african-american spirituals, and a general investigation of the exploitation of racist artifacts in modern culture.

Does your culture exploit privileges or memories of other cultures, and is that necessarily a bad thing? Or avoidable? How conscious do you feel you are, or should be? What does restitution mean to you?




sirbarrett said...

This should be an interesting project. I'd like to hear some of your findings. There are tonnes of songs and stories that are part of cultural history and/or artifacts of culture stolen or reappropriated by other cultures. In Anne Lanyer's time (1600's?) they had black masque balls where they would paint themselves black and impersonate what were then mythic Ethiopians. There's that song "eni meanie myni moe, catch a n$%^r by the toe..." that I learned as "catch a tiger" when I was a kid. Well, cool. Best of luck on the project!

paulmonster said...

Thanks, BC! After awhile, one is no longer surprised by the plethora of things like "eanie meenie mynie moe" out and about. I've just recently heard that the quintessential staple of all drunk parties, the conga line, originated in slavery.

Guilt, at this stage, is not so useful, I'm finding. Consciousness and active choices as a result of what we know is more useful. Speaking for myself, I believe this is where we will find the real restitution.

I will keep you appraised of this project, which is ongoing. More soon.

sirbarrett said...

rad. I agree that acknowledging guilt does nothing to the past or current situation of things. We should instead, consciously change the constructs. We all have power, but it's how we use it that counts.