Recently, I posted "Who are You Wearing?", a short entry featuring a photo of a Eva Gabor wearing a leopard coat. I went on to mention a BBC article that explores the plight of garment and textile workers in impoverished countries, and how their labor provides us with $5 T-shirts.
So, I took a short trip this weekend, and, while on that trip, had a moment to take some deep breaths, and thought..."Hey, wait a minute...who said that everyone who works to make high-priced goods is fairly compensated?" And a strange connection popped into my head.
Long ago, when I was a college student, a friend of mine wrote a truly incredible term paper on the danger of "truth". To illustrate his point, he looked at great leaders -- Martin Luther King, Gandhi, JFK, etc. He pointed out that these individuals were a threat to no one as long as they spoke for a specific segment of the population.
The bigger picture point of it all is that no person... not a woman, not a man, not a race, not an age, not a socio-economic status or geographical location, makes any person inferior to another. No one deserves less than fair wages for his/her labor, and anyone who contributes to a profit-making enterprise should share in the wealth that work helps to generate. So, while it is common to champion the cause of the underrepresented group of the "moment", the fact is, injustices are all around us, all the time.
In Wilmington, NC, where my in-laws live, the Bellamy Mansion is a beautifully restored Civil War-era estate, featuring the work of so many who were not yet allowed to fully participate in the economy. I bought a lovely book there, entitled "Stitched from the Soul" by Gladys-Marie Fry, documenting slave quilts of the Antebellum South. The author writes elequently of the stitches, the tears, and blood as "time markers" of the everyday events of their lives, stitched into the quilts. Denied the opportunity and often, the ability to write, the slaves stitched their journals into the quilts. Nowadays, locating the quilts themselves is problematic, but harder still, is locating the written data to document their origin.
So, it is easy to point at people in a far away country, and take up their cause, but what about the daily injustices all around us? Some slaves had quilting as an art form, a way to tell stories... I wonder about the stories, talents, outlets for artistic expression of the people who help to make our $5 T-shirts?