She wasn’t Jefferson’s MISTRESS. She was his SLAVE. And that should not be forgotten or glossed over.
Sometimes, even the so-called heroes of a nation can be bad-guys, too. Despicable and callous — knowingly doing evil — despite also being well-meaning in specific and conditional ways. Despite doing real and tangible good. Neither facet should be overlooked or minimized. No one person is all of one thing, but the cognitive dissonance America’s Founding Fathers lived and exemplified, especially Jefferson, is . . . breathtaking.
Powerful. I want to shove this in the faces of people who wrongly insist on calling women like Sally Hemmings “mistresses” of the men who owned them, their parents, and their children. They weren’t mistresses or irresistible femme fatales. They were SLAVES. Their bodies and anything those bodies could or did produce, be it labor children, DID NOT belong to them. “Mistresses” make choices and have a say. Bear equal responsibility. They get to not only say NO, but get listened to and live to tell the tale.
So, good morning, America! One of your more revered presidents was a racist, people-owning rapist. A true man of his time. Which means he knew better, but did evil anyway, because everyone else did. Because he could get away with it. Because to him, people with brown skin weren’t people. Even when they were his own children.
So, yes. I judge. I see and I judge. I see who this country chooses to memorialize and spin pretty lies about, and I judge. Not kindly, but perhaps far more fairly than is warranted. Considering that every bit of America is built on savagery, deprivation — stolen land, stolen culture, stolen agency, stolen people, stolen EVERYTHING — and the demonizing and disenfranchisement of those who’ve been downtrodden. To the point that you’ll poison or allow the drinking water of brown people — those Native to this land, AND those descended from the people who’s backs and suffering and slavery built it — to be poisoned for the bottom line that is ALL that has ever mattered to you and your predecessors.
We see this and we feel it. And we judge you. We are wary of you. And we do not trust you easily, if at all. You give us no cause to. No hope.
Poisoned water and lynched eight year olds isn’t any kind of appeasement to POCs. So, don’t look for appeasement for your selfish butt-hurt and whinging from us. Those days are over. Don’t expect conversations you don’t like to be shut down just because you’ve deemed them unimportant. There are at least a few things in this world that AREN’T ABOUT YOU (royal or personal). POCs pain, truth, experience, and the continuing plight/violation of self-agency we suffer is just four of them. Cherry-picking and opting out of “unimportant” areas of the discourse you like to bruit about is your right. Doesn’t make it MY MANDATE.
So, yeah. I’m gonna keep talking about useless, selfish Centrism and shameful monuments to dead creeps, racists, and traitors. And a bunch of other things besides. These conversations will be important until these offenses cease to exist outside of history books and the Smithsonian.