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'Forty Acres and A Mule'
At Register #3 with the Ghetto Grocer
Her name is Jenny, a tough chick of some forty years and of Polish descent. As I approached her register at the grocery dive I once worked for, I noticed her face was red and tear-streaked. I asked her if Mark [my former co-manager] was being mean to her, and she burst in a searing hiss of tears that vaporized before they flowed, emerging as steamy words, "It's only nine a.m. and I've already had one black man threaten me for not giving him a discount, talking about some kind of reparation bullshit. If that motherfucker wants some repairs, I' told him I'd knock those crooked teeth down his throat and he could get Obama to pay for his dentures."
As Jenny rang up my order, I offered some historical context, "During the Civil War, some union generals and politicians offered the slaves of their Confederate enemies title to the land they had been forced to work as a form of repair of the social contract, hence the term reparations, which a nation tat loses a war often pays to the victor, not unlike court-ordered restitution today. That never happened and they became wage slaves instead."
"Oh, you mean the same shit that's happened to me, loosing my house and renting on room on nine dollars an hour because some rich motherfucker lied to me and I believed it like some dumb Pollack?"
"Sure, it was a rich man's scam to get help from the poor against his rich enemies. It's the root of the term 'forty acres and a mule,' which has since come down to us as a metaphor for an un-fulfilled government promise."
Jenny slung my bag of discount pesto tortellini over to me as I handed her the ten dollar bill and she declared, "They got their forty acres on their independence card and I'm their goddamn mule—me and every poor bitch and bastard slaving away to feed their fat asses."
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Add Comment
Sam J.June 5, 2016 11:00 PM UTC

If we're going to give them 40 acres and a mule, what do we give the mules?

I'm all for reparations but "No reparations without relocation". Let's say land at $5000 an acre and another $50,000 for settlement and other cost and all Africans go back to Africa. We would make out like bandits for $250,000.