Hopeful Desires

Frederick Douglass, Frankie Mae, and José Yglesias all expressed the desire to learn but were presented with obstacles which prevented them to do so. Frederick Douglass was a slave who was taught how to read by his mistress, Mrs. Sophia who was very affectionate and different from other slaveholding mistresses. However, soon, Mrs. Sophia stopped teaching Douglass because her husband’s disapproval who believed that “if you give a nigger an inch he will take ell” (69). This caused Mrs. Sophia to have changed attitudes toward Douglass but Douglass was still determined to learn how to read and write. Douglass became friends with the white boys on the street who taught Douglass how to spell, and soon he was able to read books. Similarly, Fannie Mae lived under oppression and struggled to attain education. Frankie Mae, an African American girl wished to attend school but was unable to go for so too long because Mr. White Junior, the owner of the plantation wanted as many hands to chop cotton. This caused Frankie to fall behind in school but she did have enough education to take account of the family’s expenses. Towards the end of year, when Frankie and her father went to settle their account with Mr. White Junior, Frankie presented her figures which differed from Mr. White Junior’s. Mr. White Junior was very angered by Frankie’s insistence and opposition which caused Mr. White Junior to almost pick up his pistol. From that moment, Frankie realized the oppressive and discriminatory society she was living in; thus, she lost hope and stopped going to school. Additionally, José Yglesias, a cigar maker understood the oppression he was living under when lecterns were torn down and the cigar rollers were prevented from hearing literature from the los lectores. The cigar rollers sat under the sun for the several hours earning low wages and finally decided to go on strike for three months in the midst of the Great Depression.

Douglass and Yglesias resisted the oppression they were faced with; whereas, Frankie gave up hope. For instance, cigar makers left their work because “their employees had forbidden men to read to them from the works of famous writers all bound in thick expensive volumes” (Ross 84); they stood up for what loved in a oppressive society during a difficult time to prove their point. Furthermore, Douglass motivated to learn how to read and after even after his mistress stopped teaching him—his persistence is commendable. On the other hand, Frankie was fed up with being discriminated against and oppressed that she quit going to school and got married at an early age. Though, Douglass, Yglesias, and Mae’s experiences differ, they all possessed the thirst to learn.

There are several parallels in contemporary and one of them is redlining and this act is done through the web. Credit card and insurance companies are hiring date aggregation companies to look at people’s Facebook posting and Google searches! It’s ridiculous how if “you’ve looked at guitar ads or sent an email to a divorce lawyer might cause a data aggregator to classify you as less credit-worthy” (Mazzuca 2012). For instance, an Atlanta man’s credit limit had been lowered to $3,800 from $10,800 after he had come back from his honeymoon. On the other hand, in 2010, AccuquoteLife.com had a system in which it presented suburban, college-educated baby boomers were presented with a policy between $2 million and $3 million and those who were recognized as working-class seniors were presented with polices wort $250,000. These market strategies are not considered illegal but do invade a person’s privacy and one cannot argue against the company once they are “weblined.”


-Monika Kumar

1 comment
  1. Wow, your ‘weblining’ post a really interesting look at contemporary society’s ways of exclusion! Thanks!

    This is also a good point: quoting you, “Though, Douglass, Yglesias, and Mae’s experiences differ, they all possessed the thirst to learn.”

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