Author: Jenna Lawson

Some Thoughts on Modern Indentured Servitude

Hello, everyone! Congratulations on making it almost to the end of the semester. I’ve been thinking a lot about sharecropping, company towns, and other methods of debt slavery-esque practices in recent history. More specifically, I’m thinking about these concepts in the context of property theft and alternative labor markets like the drug trade, especially in the context of Parable of the Sower and episodes of This Old House. Read more

Mr. Blandings’ Dream House and Aunt Jemima

The end of Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House filled me with a rage I did not anticipate. The Blandings’ maid Gussie ends up saving the day with a slogan for Mr. Blandings’ WHAM advertisement without knowing it, saying “If you ain’t eating WHAM, you ain’t eating ham!” The movie then ends with an advertisement of Gussie’s photo with her slogan under it. Thanks to Gussie’s work, Blandings is not fired and he and his family can continue to live out their American dream in their beautiful new home.

Read more

Invisible Privilege: Wealth Gaps

Watching Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House during class yesterday, I found Blandings’s inconveniences and dissatisfactions full of deeply unappreciative and bourgeois undertones. What spoke to me specifically was the casual mention of government bonds as a method of buying their dream house and how the accumulation of wealth is heavily informed by race. The following statistics come from this article.

Read more

The Origins of the Housing Crisis

As a History major, I have taken extensive coursework on structural inequalities experienced by black Americans. I’d like to take the time here to share a brief summary of what I’ve learned. All of this information comes either from in-class sessions with Professors Mapes and Crosby or from Thomas Sugrue’s book “The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit,” which I would highly recommend for those looking to contextualize racial inequalities in the modern age.

Read more