This past April I visited the Oak Alley Plantation outside of New Orleans Louisiana with my friends who were visiting from New Zealand. I never really intended to write about our trip to Oak Alley but in light of the events in Charlottesville I feel it is the appropriate platform for some thoughts about America’s dark past and present. So if it is not already evident this post is going to be a bit “political”, sure, but to be alive is inherently political, as is travel so to avoid such topic is inherently privileged. I rather use my privilege as a decently paid straight cis gendered white woman in America to bring up difficult topics rather than sit by the wayside while other which brings me to my visit to Oak Alley Plantation.
This Plantation is a shining example of the sugar plantations that were plentiful around the South in the 1700 & 1800’s and with that comes the “Big House”, as the plantation houses were referred to at the time, and slave quarters. While cotton plantations were also plentiful sugar plantations were where the real money was and it was even referred to as “white gold”. Those with Sugar Plantations were on the very upper crust of society.
How to Make Changes
The history of racism and slavery in this country needs to be contended with and we need to accept it never went away we just changed its face. No excuses that you are one of the “good ones” we all contribute to the institution of white supremacy weather we realize it or not. Dismantling an oppressive system of course seem overwhelming, it is, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start with some small actionable steps in your daily life. Have difficult conversations with your loved ones and friends, if you won’t who will? Find and own your privilege and use that to signal boost those who do not have the same privilege and platforms as you. Don’t speak for the oppressed, listen to them, let them speak for themselves and support their causes and work.
I would like to give a special thanks to my friend Dom of The Logical Editor for their continual sharing of information that has helped me and many others dig deeper and look at how we can do better and be better.
A little googling will do you well in finding a lot of great resources for making changes in our society but here are some recent articles that are worth reading on the current events that will hopefully give you an idea of where to go from here.