FD Experience-Metaphorical Slavery

“People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.”- Frederick Douglass. Any reward one wants to win, is a reward one must enter and compete in the contest for. Frederick Douglass was a slave born in America who learned how to read as a semi-autodidact. Most people, when they hear about slavery, they will think of men and women being bought and sold at auctions, chained, beaten, abused in the worst ways possible; being treated like an animal, rather than a human. They ponder of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Civil War.

That is not what all slavery is like. Not at all. Today, human trafficking still ravages the world, whether it is for labor or sexual reasoning. However, those types of modern-day slavery are still not the only such forms. One does not have to be beaten, abused, or even enslaved to another person to still be a slave. People are slaves of anything and everything- whether it be technology, certain habits or hobbies, sports, school, or even themselves and their own emotions.

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Even Frederick Douglass was a victim of such metaphorical slavery- literacy. Most people on Earth have a pretty clear picture of what literal, or even American slavery appears as. The image is common- emaciated people with chains around their necks, the innocent whipped with a cow skin, children plundered of food, idle hands extinct in a field of (often) cotton. This is the type of the slavery that Frederick Douglass was accustomed to, though he execrated, for very good reason. The memory of such slavery, for Americans at least, is an immutable image, burned into our minds. We think of slave ships.

We think of humans being treated no better than pigs. In Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, the young slaves go through much of what is described now. Beaten for no reason, and, at one point, branded for a case of false insolence. This type of slavery is technically called forced labor and dehumanization of certain people or a group of people. While most believe that we are safe from this torture and labor, we are not. Slavery does still exist today, unfortunately.

However, sometimes we can be both the victim and the slaveholder. Not all slavery is forced labor by another. Not even all modern day slavery is so literal. A myriad of people on this earth are enslaved by their own habits, technology, or their own minds. Millions of people are victims of addiction, the most common form of metaphorical slavery, according to the NCADD (National Association of Councils on Developmental Disability).

Any form of mental imprisonment is also a form of this variation of slavery- anxiety disorders, mental/eating disorders, obsessions with certain objects, etc. Instead of living in fear of constant physical or sexual abuse, those in slavery by themselves are only in mental torment. These tormentors lock one in and don’t release them, and can do anything at all to one’s mind and sanity. And, instead of normal slavery, this form of slavery is one proven much more difficult from which to escape. There is no matter of running away from someone cruel, seeing as anyone involved will want to assist the one who is in bondage. They, in a metaphorical prison, are their own, though noncompliant, master, overseer, and slave.

Of course, all must pay homage to Frederick Douglass- for he suffered from both at simultaneously. Once he learned to read, he traveled into a rapturous mental and physical place, as it says in his memoir, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Metaphorical slavery can be almost as pernicious as literal, but in a very unique way. There is always a struggle, a prize to compete in the contest for; always an obstacle, a River Jordan to cross. Whether it would be a therapy appointment or scaling a wall from a labor camp, there is always a struggle in any type of slavery.

However, when enslaved in one’s own mind, that person is their own master, not another. People can be slaves of anything and everything- but no matter what, they still have to work for what they get. Even if they never get everything.