INDIGNITY VOL. 3, NO. 74: The right to read about wrongs.


INDIGNITY VOL. 3, NO. 74: The right to read about wrongs.
Portrait of Frederick Douglass as a young man, engraved by J.C. Buttre from a daguerreotype. Frontispiece: Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom, Miller, Orton & Mulligan (1855) via

MR WRONG: History Doesn't Go Away If You Ban It

I WORRY ABOUT the children in this great nation of ours, and how We The People are getting them Educated. You should, too! The whole purpose of an Education is to make sure The Children don’t grow up to be Criminals, or at the very least, if they do, then they will only be White Collar Criminals and then can go to the nicer gaols. Whatever happened to the idea of a Kinder Gentler Nation?

All I hear about is how schools are terrible and then at the same time books are getting banned and stuff is getting deleted from the classrooms, such as slavery, because it’s what, disturbing? I still don’t know what Critical Race Theory even is, because the only CRT that I understand is Cathode Ray Tube, as in Television.

So whatever with CRT, it’s like, I don’t have to understand it as a Thing, all I wanna know is what the hell is getting taught in the schools? How are you gonna explain the Civil War and stuff without talking about slavery? How are you gonna talk about the Civil Rights Movement without telling The Children that there used to be millions of people in this country who had zero say in what they did for a living, where they lived, and who could be in their family, because they used to sell people’s children, like animals! It’s racism, how can this concept not be presented to the Youth? It is History, made out of facts and stuff, and don’t tell me it’s the Victors of the Wars who write all the History anymore. We have the Internet and stuff, I know it’s full of garbage, but also there’s Facts and Information, and it’s not all “Infowars,” if you will. Ignorant people will muckle onto easy non-Fact answers for things!

My theory is not original, but I agree that there are a lotta people who are Afraid. They are living in Fear of the descendents of people who were enslaved and then freed and got a shitty deal anyway for hundreds of years because of racism, and then they hadda fight for stuff like being able to vote and get a decent job and maybe a mortgage or a loan for a car, and most importantly, a good Education. I mean, it’s a Fact about enslavers, which is a Reparative Description Preferred Term:

Enslaver is the preferred term. Use of the preferred term enslaver addresses slave's harm in the context of Western chattel enslavement of Africans and their descendants. However, NARA should not remove all uses of slave, particularly in its use as a modifier for economic systems or types of documents. This approach will be reevaluated as policies and practices at peer institutions develop.

It’s a Fact about enslavers that they didn’t want the people they were exploiting to learn anything! They didn’t want them to read or expand their minds in any way. It’s in the goddamn Encyclopedia Britannica! Are we gonna burn that, so racists don’t get upset at having to hear Unpleasant Facts? Frederick Douglass gained Knowledge because he learned how to read, are we not gonna tell the Children about why it was hard for Frederick Douglass to gain Knowledge? Knowledge is Good!

Fuckin’ c’mon, is it too uncomfortable-making to hear that millions of people got fucked over, for hundreds of years, in America? It’s too much of a stretch to understand it’s still happening?

Not that you asked, but I got a decent Education, personally. I went to Catholic School until I got kicked out, and then I went to Public School, which was way better because they had Gym class and after-school Sports, and more interesting stuff like Science labs, where we could light up Bunsen Burners and do experiments. We also had Social Studies, where I learned about America, and the history of Civil Disobedience, and how Civil Rights protestors got murdered and beat, but there was a commitment to nonviolence, inspired by Ghandi. I studied Africa and memorized a map of all the countries and learned how Tarzan movies were bullshit with the jungle stuff, and how to pronounce the name of Ghanian leader Kwame Nkrumah, and that lots of insanely hot peppers are African. We learned about China and their feudal era and the brand of Communism that started there (I understood it, but it didn’t make me want to be a Commie), and the horrifying practice of footbinding, to keep the women from being able to move too far. A different kind of shackle! The Children should learn about Western Civilization, Eastern Civilization, and all the Civilizations, good and bad. Facts!

Also there was Art Class, which I really enjoyed, and that eventually got me to College, where I got an Art degree, and then I ended up being a Graphic Artist for a Career! If I didn’t have that Educational foundation, I woulda for sure been a Criminal, because I have a Criminal Mind. Nature defeated by Nurture! I mean, I have always thought that being a Graphic Artist or a Designer or whatever is like stealing because I’m not working in a fucking coal mine, but you know what I mean. The Children need the same deal that I got. I wasn’t a great student, so I went to Junior College before I went to finish at a four-year school, and they were State schools, so I got a break on tuition, and because I came from a Broken Home and we were also Broke, I got loans and a Pell grant and stuff to get me through school.

Education needs to be Affordable, but it also needs to be even more affordable for people who are Broke! I always say Broke, and not poor, like Dick Gregory said in his autobiography, “not poor, just broke.” It’s a Mindset, and if nobody wants to have a structure in our Great Society to help people who are Broke, they’re gonna be Poor, and desperate. If you want to keep Broke people from getting a hand up, then what you’re afraid of is Retribution, and not for the Past, for denying people a Future. How fucking hard is it to understand? It’s Critical!


New York City, May 10, 2023

★★★★★ A fine, even, near-invisible layer of cloud lightened the blue, giving the sun a gentle brightness to go with the gentle coolness of the air. Young people pushed cartons on dollies around the sidewalks by Columbia. Waiting in line at a food truck was better than waiting in line for a sandwich indoors; the extra blocks of walking were nothing at all. Only the wobbling of the table disturbed an outdoor lunch in the sun—no gusts, no glare, no insect pests. Strips of astroturf in two shades of green, gleaming in the light, lay across all but the ends of the gravel bed in the almost-completed schoolyard. The shade on the pathway through Morningside Park was now full and deep. Sunbathers lay on the unbounded outfield of the baseball diamond. A house sparrow flew down to the water fountain by the backstop and helped itself to a drink from the puddle by the drain.


Indignity Morning Podcast No. 65: Giving people the news coverage that's proven to work.

Tom Scocca • May 11, 2023

Listen now (4 min) | The Indignity Morning Podcast is also available via the Apple and Spotify platforms.

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WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS for the assembly of sandwiches from More Recipes for Fifty, by Frances Lowe Smith, published in 1921, found in the public domain and available at for the delectation of all.


1. Mix one-half pound butter or margarine, two cups grated cheese, two cups finely chopped nuts, and one teaspoon paprika to a paste. Spread slices of any kind of brown bread with mixture, and put together in pairs.

2. Mix six Neufchatel cheeses and half cup or more chopped pimento; season with salt, pepper, and Mayonnaise. Spread one slice of rye or barley bread with cheese mixture, the other with peanut butter, and press firmly together.

3. Mix six Neufchatel cheeses, or their equivalent of cottage cheese, to a paste, with salt, paprika, and cream. Spread bread with Watercress Butter, and put together with cheese mixture.

4. Mix six Neufchatel cheeses, one-half cup each finely chopped nuts, olives, and green peppers; season with one-half teaspoon salt and paprika, and moisten to a paste with cream. Spread brown bread or any quick bread with butter or margarine, and put together with cheese mixture.

5. Mix two cups peanut butter with hot water to make a smooth paste that spreads easily ; add a little salt. Mix two cups cottage cheese, with salt, and enough cream to soften, but not to make too thin. Spread one slice of bread with cheese, another with peanut butter, and press together.

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, kindly send a picture to us at

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