Today, I stopped at a roadside stand in Alabama to pick up some fresh produce. The plums were small but, sweet as the tea served in the local restaurants. The tomatoes were large with more flavor than any tomato you'll taste anywhere in the world. Last but not least the cantaloupe; was so delicious, with it's sweet delicate flavor, and so much yummy juice dripping from it that you would be hard pressed to eat this melon with out making a mess. As anyone who loves food knows if it's messy to eat, it's top notch in flavor.
As I was indulging in these June delights, I was thinking about the lady who I bought them from. It was fairly obvious that she was very poor and she had her children in tow. All girls. What a shame that the trade off for living somewhere that lands are able to grow such unique foods; is that you must allow your body to be regulated by the government. It was obvious that the mother as well as her girls were very proud of what they had grown and rightfully so, it is amazing. It was also apparent that they didn't seem to take a lot pride in themselves..........The mother, and her girls would not answer a question without looking to the father for confirmation.
They were all pretty and intelligent seemingly able to conduct business all on their own, but the father was obviously in charge of all things related to the stand. By all things I mean, all things financial. Apparently the mother and girls worked the garden and he had a "real job", because I suppose laboring in the garden isn't "real" enough work. As soon as someone made a sale they trotted the money over to the father.....I thought to myself ummm, yea, that would not work for me.
It's one thing for all parties to contribute financially, but all parties who contribute financially should also contribute in the decision making. The woman and her children seemed to put the father on some sort of strange petal stool. The lady would say daddy, how do we feel about that? When ever I asked any question .......I wanted to grab her and say I asked you, I didn't ask him. It was like the mother and her daughters couldn't vocalize anything that may possibly contradict what the father would say. I guess it was just easier to ask him what to think than to risk controversy.
This seems to be par for the course in this state. Strong opinionated women or even educated women are looked at as aliens. The lady seemed awfully surprised when I spoke of my relationship. I said I was contemplating more school or not and she said ask your man. I told her I was going, not him and he would support me either way.........She looked like I had said, tomorrow the aliens are coming back to get me or that I had buggers hanging out of my nose.........I checked for anything hanging out of my nose and there wasn't anything. I guess the idea of not looking to her husband was out of anything she could comprehend. It's just not part of the culture in the rural areas of the state.
This women and her daughters were very nice and If I come upon their stand again, I'll purchase from them. It just takes me by surprise to see such capable women, these women work the land here and that is not easy task. If you've never worked in red mud, I can tell you it's a lot of work. These ladies work the land and sell the fruits of their labor to people like me. They are self-sufficient if I've ever seen an example of it, but where important decisions are concerned it's the father who has the final say.
I fear these nice likable hard working women are the women who have let their rights be taken, without ever even thinking the consequences could be dire. I see her young daughters and fear where voting was concerned their father had two votes and their mother none really. I know there is no malice from the women they just do as the women in these poor rural areas have always done. With no exposure to any other way of thinking this is the way they will think and their sons and daughters will think.
How do we reach these women? How do we reach these men. I don't want to portray the man as some ogre. He was loving to the woman and her kids he was just somehow given a higher rank..........A better status. I'm sure really if he understood the risk the State was putting his daughters at, he would be the first to defend them. The problem is the spin that the media in the area puts on the women's issues is that if you defend women you are killing babies...........
The media along with the rest of state seems to be in this space where the actual issues are only presented in the fox news version and anyone who ever speaks of an abortion, wants to kill babies...........It is so taboo to even research the issue that no one wants to run the risk. No where, have I ever traveled where I was treated like I have leprosy because of a difference of opinion like here. They really do think when I have a planned parenthood t-shirt on that I think all pregnancies should be aborted no matter what.....................I would think I was crazy too if that were the spin I had on choice.....
How do we reach this group?
How do we do so without being condescending?
How do we show respect for the culture, while still to presenting our side?