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For those of us who live below or at the poverty line, our 24 hours are very different from the wealthy.

You may be learning increasingly about capitalism and the ways in which it touches every aspect of our lives, especially with regards to student loan debt, healthcare and stagnating wages. There are efforts around the globe to address long-building inequities and the oppressions which feed into and from capitalism and create social structures which revolve primarily around working exceptionally hard for a very long time and for not very much compensation. One of the most oft-repeated phrases is “we all have the same 24 hours” — other iterations of this include: “you have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé” for those of us who marvel at the icon’s ability to go above and beyond to create practically flawless art while being a mother to three children and a wife. The message of that phrase pushes the idea that Beyoncé is who she is within our same 24 hours, and if we work hard and grind til we own it, we too could be just like our fave. An important thing to note however, is that Beyoncé is a multimillionaire. We know this, she knows this, and as a capitalist society we are conditioned to admire obscene wealth and ignore the fact that Beyoncé is an exception, because her success does not mean that systemic oppressions have ceased to exist. Now this piece isn’t here to deconstruct Beyoncé or her career—and Beyoncé neither benefited from whiteness (although she does benefit from colorism), nor generational white wealth—it’s here to simply illustrate a point: that we do not all have the same 24 hours and that the foundation of these ideas is classist, racist and ableist. [caption id="attachment_49883" align="aligncenter" width="800"]I Do Not Have The Same 24 Hours As Beyoncé I Do Not Have The Same 24 Hours As Beyoncé by Dania Alexis[/caption] For those of us who live below or at the poverty line, our 24 hours are very different from the wealthy and even the increasingly shrinking middle class. A day looks very different when you have:
  • to take public transportation to get to and from work
  • long commute times
  • unstable, fluctuating hours at work and unstable, unpredictable schedules
  • debt and/or student loan debt
  • disability, chronic pain, mental health issues
  • lack of access to grocery stores (aka: food deserts)
  • inadequate health care
  • multiple part-time or full-time jobs to afford a basic standard of living
  • no child-care help
  • housing insecurity (aka: an unstable home life, homelessness)
These examples are just some of the very few ways in which our time starts to look very different from someone who can afford housekeeping, child-care, or even time off from work. Those of us who are poor or who depend on hourly wages, and live paycheck to paycheck, see our time consumed by work and trying to gain access to the basics of living. This makes being able to build upon our dreams and goals almost impossible. This makes an actual savings account with more than $500 in it almost impossible. This also makes participation in local organizing and politics something that we’re too tired to do, or too busy to do. This is by design, as our political systems in the U.S. were meant to benefit wealthy, white men and if we’re too tired to resist oppressive political systems, then they can continue to hoard resources at the expense of marginalized people. Our emphasis on wealth creation (which is always at the expense of other people) through the constant idea of “grind until you die” is a romanticized way of seeing humans as only being worthy of humanity if they are able to produce goods for other people to consume. People who do not produce anything should still be able to live comfortably. Humans should not be resources. Capitalism and capitalists push for our 24 hours to be used judiciously and at the benefit of others under the premise that we, too, can eventually live a lifestyle of extravagant wealth. Ask pretty much any person who earns under $3,000/month, and they’ll tell you that they just want to be able to not be an accident or health crisis away from complete and utter destruction. We just want to be able to save up, maybe go to the doctor more often, take a vacation, buy all the groceries we want and have time to spend with our children without it being about homework, eating or sleep.

As long as our culture refuses to hold the Depps of the world accountable, there will always be women like Heard who will be tasked with watching their abusers prosper.

[TW/CW: discussion of domestic violence, rape culture and mentions of sexual assault.] New York Magazine's July 27th, 2015 cover is still as harrowing as it is iconic. Just beneath the bold red lettering of the publication's moniker are 35 women—the victims of Bill Cosby's serial sexual abusedressed in black and seated calmly in their chairs. The uniformity of their open poses and solemn, forward-facing expressions portray a shared preparation for public scrutiny, a feeling all too familiar to anyone who has ever spoken aloud of the abuse they have suffered. Seeing these women congregate in one image is an impactful sight on its own, but the standout element for many of us sits at the end of the last row: an empty chair. It remains unoccupied by all of the women who, despite the presence of nearly three dozen fellow survivors, still didn't feel supported enough to tell their stories. That doubt something that so many silent survivors harboris substantiated by a society that not only continues to interrogate, mock, and ultimately gaslight victims of abuse, but also protects their abusers when they are especially powerful or popular. Johnny Depp is an immensely popular actor. When he and actress Amber Heard divorced in 2016, Heard detailed for the court a history of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of Depp. Her testimony included pictures of her bruised face and a detailed witness account from a friend who had to physically shield Heard from Depp's assault. When his legal team claimed that Heard's accusations were false and motivated by possible financial gain, she promised to donate her entire settlement$7 millionto charity.

It is clear that the cultures of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples are incredibly significant because of how much white people fear them.

Throughout history, cultural traditions have been used to mobilize groups of Black and Brown people together against a common threat—white supremacy. People of color have survived centuries of endless white violence and, at many turns, have used the power and reverence for our many cultures as a means to fight back. It is crucial that we preserve our cultural roots as much as we can, especially in these times when white supremacy and nationalism are so blatantly on display. White supremacists and nationalists have historically used the concept of “culture wars” to demonize people of color and paint themselves as victims, usually of some form of the white genocide mythos. Racists and xenophobes yelling at people of color for not speaking English, even threatening to call ICE, is one of the many hills they choose to die on. Their fear of other cultures—languages, traditions, religions, ethnicities, ideologies—is apparent in their actions, on both small and large scales. During the build-up to the 2016 presidential election, National Review’s Reihan Salam described culture wars as the “fight over the future of American national identity in the face of rapid and accelerating demographic change.” Culture wars are, more or less, a seemingly endless contention over who can and who cannot be considered a “True American,” with white, cis straight, conservative, Christians being the ones with the most ability to lay claim to this title and, therefore, also the ones with the ability to determine who else has access to rights in America. In almost every case, these culture wars have been conservative projects, instigated and waged by people anxious about the loss of old orders and the emergence of new ones. Their anxiety finds expression first as a complaint about a particular policy, and second as a broader lament about how far the nation has fallen from its founding glory and how desperately we need to restore whatever is passing away.” Stephen Prothero, Washington Post It is clear that the cultures of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples are incredibly significant because of how much white people fear them. Therefore, we cannot forget how our ancestors have used their various cultures as weapons against white supremacy, as tools to work towards their own liberation, and as mechanisms to cope in their positions as marginalized peoples. We cannot forget how the many children of the African Diaspora have used cultural traditions to combat and subvert white supremacist violences as they waded in the devastation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Bois Caïman is where the seed that would grow into the 18th century Haitian Revolution and slave insurrection was planted. At this site, the organized resistance began to take form when a traditional Vodou ceremony was performed. Vodou is a religion and philosophy with deep cultural roots and significant meaning that was birthed in Haiti (once called Saint-Domingue) when an amalgam of religious beliefs were carried to the island with the ships harboring people stolen from Africa. During this time, Haiti was under French colonial rule. The island was rich in sugar, coffee, and indigo, which the enslaved were forced to harvest and maintain. Their revolution was a fight against the harsh labor, as well as the dehumanization and incremental genocide at the hands of the French colonists.

We can’t look at Patty and feel empowered by her character when she is a walking testament to everything we are told is wrong with us.

Netflix loves revenge stories, especially super problematic revenge stories that push harmful stereotypes and reinforce dangerous narratives. 13 Reasons Why has had a controversial run on the platform, and now they want us to make way for Insatiable—an obviously fatphobic upcoming series whose creators are promising that it’s not as terrible as it seems, and it seems pretty terrible. The story follows Patty, a fat teenager played by Debby Ryan, a thin actress. In order to play both fat and thin Patty, Ryan wears a bodysuit that honestly it looks someone just strapped a maternity belly on her and said, “That’s good enough.” Despite the fact they put a thin person in a fat suit and did a terrible job of it, I have to say that, for me, this is preferable to having to watch a fat actor take this role and serve as a real-life “before picture” for Ryan. After a fateful meeting with someone’s fist, she spends the entire summer with her jaw wired shut and shows up on the first day of the new school year with a smoking hot bod, as rated by conventional beauty standards. She decides she will get revenge on the people who made her life he'll when she was fat. Her vengeance is where the story is supposed to be “empowering,” but we’ve already boarded the fat-shame train before we even get to that point. This series is marketed as a dark comedy, in the vein of Heathers or Jawbreaker. In reality, it is nothing more than a revenge body narrative that begins from the idea that fatness is undesirable and fat bodies must become thin in order for those who inhabit them to be truly happy. Patty does not come back from her summer still fat and decide to let her tormentors have it. She only seeks this revenge after she returns as a thin person who suddenly has access to a world of options that were blocked to her before. Regardless of what she decides to do with that social capital, this entire story still rests on that fact.

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