Tag Archives: debt

student loans, scarce jobs, professional expectations

I just finished my annual workshop for Seattle University Law students entitled “Money Problems: Balancing a Commitment to Social Justice with Concerns About Financial Security.”  I thought I would share the format of the workshop in case people find it useful to engage similiar conversations in other spaces. Continue reading

The Suspension of Fear

There’s something oddly alluring to me about college towns. Perhaps surrounding myself in such an environment provides an illusion that my college years will forever live on and allow me to deflect the cold permanence of the so-called real world. Moving from one transient community to another, I found myself in Northampton, MA in 2005 looking for a cheap place to live after a few months of apartment-hopping. This was when I first met my new roommate Sailor Holladay, who like most people in this area, moved here for school. We lived together for the remainder of Sailor’s time at UMass-Amherst. The following interview was conducted on my radio show “Passions and Survival” in May of 2007, just before thousands of diplomas were handed out, summer plans were actualized, and the population of this peculiar valley turned over once again. Our conversation covered the politics of debt and academia, traveler culture, the desire to desire, and the forging of practical ways to create and support radical projects. Continue reading

Buy One, Get One. Free.

by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Debt is spelled with a silent ‘b’. (I mean to use the passive voice.) Debt is spelled with a silent ‘b’, an empty letter holding space next to unopened bills. Debt is spelled with a silent ‘be’. As in “be quiet, feign ignorance and master the timing of smiling and leaving.” But I learned this before I learned to spell.

My mother learned from my father that debt was the American way. A $9 trillion US deficit backs this lesson up. From letters dropped out of my mother’s mouth I learned that money was something we never had enough of, something we needed urgently. From cards dropped out of my father’s hands I learned that money was not real. From the hypocritical narrative of consumer capital I learned shame and silence. I learned that we were less than empty, that we were less than zero.

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