Thursday, May 28, 2009

Three Fifths of All Other Persons

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons (article 1, section 2, paragraph 3, United States Constitution).

Three fifths of all other persons, enjoying the rights and privileges of all other persons, but oh, with the little matter of a few “narrow and limited exceptions” as a reminder of the two fifths of oneself that is not equal to all other persons: I wonder what it feels like to be told that one is three fifths of all other persons?

And to be content with being three fifths of all other persons, with the “narrow and limited exceptions” that separate one from all other persons, since this is the majority's decision, the majority's assessment of one's human worth?

Right now, it feels too painful--as if I'm touching an open, bleeding wound, trying to find the glass buried inside and remove it--to write about it.