Ain’t I a Worker? Sojourner Truth – and Carers

Sojourner_truth_c1870Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) is an inspirational woman- an ex-slave who spoke out against slavery.

“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?.

Because, you see, when white men talked about women – they only meant white women.

Carers these days may identify with Sojourner’s question. When she asked ‘Ain’t I a woman?‘ we may ask ‘Ain’t I a worker?’ When people talked of ‘women‘ to her, she knew they had a big, fat thought bubble that said “Oh, but not you. Goodness me no, I didn’t mean you.” And when people talk about workers, about people who work too hard for too little money, about people (from CEOs in big business to unionised workers) being ‘paid the market rate’, you know that it if you are a carer, they are not talking about you. Even if they couldn’t for one day do the work that you do, you are somehow not the workers that they mean.

Maybe we need a T-shirt with these words on it: “Look me in the eye and tell me I ain’t a worker“. Sojourner lived long enough to convince people of the justice of her cause. Let’s fight to make sure that we do too.

As  carers we can’t strike – but we can go on virtual strike. Join us, 21 June 2014 and show the world the cost of care!

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4 Comments

  1. Yes, that’s all true. I’m sick of ‘workers’ looking down on me like I’m a waste of space because “you sit around not really doing anything, don’t leave the house like a normal worker, putting your coat on…………. and can think of more worthwhile things to do instead of what you do right now.” This is in my opinion is a direct reaction to all of the Tory party spin at the moment, meaning anyone for whatever reason/excuse isn’t in work, then you are akin to the Benefits Street inhabitants. No mention or acknowledgement of holding down a full time job and caring and raising a family single handed all at the same time for past 14 years! Perhaps its the strain of doing both all this time that has affected your health also, perhaps you too are 14 years older……….Well, I have thought of everything possible I could do to come off carers benefit and care at the same time and some of the work ideas are not what people would put on their CVs or openly admit to doing! Is this what I have become? Why am I not valued like Nurses? Do I not do what they do, except I don’t get time off, just the odd couple of hours twice a week. Am I not a health care giver and worker?? All the while, all political parties keep stumm. not mentioning the hidden workers, with no rights and no real pay nor any real acknowledgment of the important assets we are to this country and to the “patients” we look after 24 hours a day. People who are unemployed get referred to now as “they don’t work”, well those who are lucky enough to “BE in Work” should watch out in case they too suffer the same fate as many others and “don’t work” too. Like its a lifestyle choice???! So to those people I say : ” Wake up, stop thinking you are better than other people and stop being so judgemental” be thankful you are luckier than many other people are right now. That’s my thoughts on the matter. I’m sorry if I’ve rambled on a bit, but I feel the need to vent my frustration and anger as I know when people are sitting in judgement on me without knowing all the facts, not that my life is any of their business like. “What exactly is wrong with her?” is another impertinent question I get asked. Am I meant to leave my mother with not an ounce of respect or dignity in order to justify my NOT WORKING. Well, I have no intention of betraying her trust or broadcasting her medical conditions to suit a few noisy parkers. I would love to answer them with “Would you like your doctor to tell ME what YOU are suffering from?” Forgive me, but recent remarks left their sting and I’ve been smarting ever since.

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  2. I’ve decided it maybe be best in the long run for me to unsubscribe as I find it too hard to reign in my feelings and these days seem to have developed quite a temper. Its not like me to let loose as I have done on public sites such as these. I need to get my identity back and to mix with others in the same situation as me as surely these are the people who will empathise, understand and support me. We can hardly blame the average person for their opinions even if we think those opinions are wrong, these are so widespread now; its down to ignorance in some cases. Others maybe insensitive to the needs of others because that is just their nature. But I still think a lot of negative reactions are purely down to the propaganda being ladled out by the so called leaders in power. They have done a real good job! btw Witchygirl3 is my other username when I’m taking the micky out of myself! All I need is my broomstick

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