I Finally Know What Juneteenth Felt Like!
Have you ever been in bondage? Not that type of bondage, you sexual freaks! I’m talking about the grips of something or someone who possesses a strength so terrifying that you know in your heart you may never break free? Those of who have held student loan debt are very well acquainted with this sensation.
Ah, Malaka. What do you mean “have held”. Why do you speak of student loans in the past tense?
Because, my brothers and sisters! I have finally been made free! I am free from the shackles of Sallie Mae (that repugnant whore), Freddie Mac (that crooked swindler) and Mohela (their little mutt that has terrorized the populace)!
Notice I said I have been “made” free, not “set” free. I and hundreds of thousands of graduates like me are not eligible for this new-fangled student loan forgiveness the government has rolled out. If you graduated before 2010, you’re pretty much out of luck. But no matter! I’m here to testify that there is indeed light at the end of the proverbial tunnel! And fam, once you step into that light, you’ll never want to go back into the dark, dank, darkness. That’s why when people ask me if I would ever consider getting a Master’s Degree I reach for holy anointing oil, fire water and command that demand to return to the hovel from whence it emerged. More debt for why?!?
(Excuse me while I ascend to my soap box. I’m about to preach up in hurrr!)
I love Black history; you all know that. Black history is American history. And for a time in American history, my kinsmen were in bondage -severe, soul breaking bondage! They toiled from sunup to sundown, never taking breaks, always in fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones, subject to the massa’s whims and wishes, and always believing in The Day…that one day when they would be free! And you know what? That sweet day finally arrived on June 19th, two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. That’s right. For almost three years after they were officially set free, Black slaves toiled in fields, smithies and swamps for no remuneration!
There are accounts of some slave holders appealing to the “better nature” of their once imprisoned hostages, asking them to stay on and work for the “common good”.
“I can’t pay you, but I’ll treat you fair and share what we grow together,” one planter said.
Well, we all now know that’s a lie. Slave holders were compensated for lost “equipment” (that equipment being enslaved Blacks) to the tune of millions of dollars. Ol’ Massa could’ve afforded to give Toby $0.75 a week for his troubles. He just didn’t want to bother.
That’s how I felt when I called Mohela today to find out why they hadn’t taken my money from my bank account.
“Well, Malaka (because they always refer to you by your first name), it shows here that we did receive two payments from you on June 2nd…which brings your account to a $0.00 balance.”
A silly grin spread over my face.
“Really?” said I.
“Yes,” he confirmed. “And as a matter of fact, you’re in overpayment. We’ll be sending you a refund of $1.80!”
“You don’t say!” I chortled. Then my tone turned hopeful. “So this means our relationship is over, right?”
The rep laughed and said yes. Then he offered me his congratulations. I think I mumbled my thanks. I can’t recall. I was already dreaming up ways to spend that extra $500 a month we’d been sending them and was lost in my fantasy. He brought me to the present by asking if I wanted to take a short survey after the call.
“It’s not mandatory,” he said casually.
“Uh huh. Okay!”
“And just to let you know, we’ll be sending you a notice verifying you’re in full repayment in 30 days,” he promised.
“Great. Thanks. Have a great day.”
How ironic. I was in overpayment for 24 hours and they never bothered to call me to tell me the great news… that they owe ME money. I remember the days when that scenario was reversed; when I was laid off and unemployed, wondering how I was going to make rent and constantly being hounded by the Student Loan office.
Ya 13 minutes late in your payment!
When ya gonna pay? When ya gonna pay?!!?
It was like anticipating a whipping. Thank God for deferment!
Sometimes I wonder what our ancestors did after they were finally set free. There are tales of men and women wandering the country looking for loved ones that had been sold away. Others said they were going to sleep in for the first time in their lives. For those who had been “made free”, i.e. purchased their own freedom, they were finally at liberty to go back and carry their enslaved loved ones to a new and better life.
However you slice it, freedom sure is sweet! It’s surreal. It almost doesn’t seem like it’s my reality yet. I’m dazed…I mean, I’ve been 14 years a slave to the federal government in pursuit of a degree I never used! A degree “they” told me I had to have to get any sort of decent job. Screw “they”. They didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. I got a degree, and the economy crashed leaving millions of people jobless.
No matter. Ise free now, and lawd do it taste delicious! Bye-bye Massa Mohela!
Have you had student loan debt? What’s the biggest bill you’ve ever paid off? How did it feel? Discuss! 🙂