There is not much in this life that truly belongs to us. If you get someone to see the world the way you do without them questioning your judgement that alone is a talent. In the stories of Frederick Douglas, Josey Yglesius, and Frankie Mae they were all subjected to oppression they were born into. Society set standards for minorities which made them workers who had to abide by the rules of their owners or ‘bosses’. They all blindly accepted these social norms until knowledge set in. Oppressors kept a tight hold on workers by keeping them uninformed to the world around them. In Fredrick Douglas’ story an unusual picture is painted when his masters wife nurtures him and teaches him how to read. Douglas’ master quickly reprimands his wife about her behavior and over time she too becomes disgusted by the idea of her slave being able to think for himself. Total control over someone can only be obtained when one person remains ignorant to what is going on around them. In all three readings despite the harsh work conditions, minimal to absent pay, and crude treatment these workers would have lived better lives if they were unaware of the inequalities that haunted them. Frankie Mae knew too much for her to continue living peacefully because society would not allow her to defy her boss even if she was right. Her spirit was crushed once she used her knowledge in her own defense.
Society and media seem to encourage self dependency. We look up to those who can think for themselves and convince ourselves we too are thinking on our own. With the increase of social networking and media to the public most of what we learn has been formulated by someone who may only tell us what they want us to know. People who live in apartments that don’t satisfy legal living requirements subject themselves to sickness and hardship, unaware that they are being treated unfairly. We rely on someone of higher power to educate us, feeling satisfied when information is channeled to us through pieces of paper or a computer screen. How much of it would we actually agree with if we knew the entire story? We live comfortably alongside injustice and many of us would prefer to live happily and in ignorance than enlightened and in misery.
-Alverneq Lindsay (008)