This week, our Value’s lecture really hit me hard. Not purely based on the content– the history of the Civil Right movement and that of feminism, is not new to me. Most of us would have heard the horrors through school and so forth, but it is scary how used to it I was hearing the stories. Which leads on to the main point of this blog: How many times do they have to be told before it makes a difference?
In the lectures we were told of the great escapades of the Suffragettes and the Suffragists but there was no mention of the men that were a part of the movement. In the past, I have looked into this out of curiosity, although there numbers were small compared to dominant, small-minded males who rejected the idea of woman with power at the time, they were there. You would think overtime with the ongoing development of the movement and the growth of male representation in the would be significantly higher and the opposition would be not so intense. But then we were told of one of the presidential candidates of Brazil’s comment that some woman were “too ugly to rape” . Even quoting that disgusts me! Where’s the growth- the progress? This is a man who will possibly come into a lot of power. Is there an inevitable cycle of volatile men, who carry on these oppressive believes due to learned behaviour?
It is clear from the lectures this week that there has been a lot of progress in civil rights. The separate but equal rules seem ridiculous now and there are many strong Black Americans in places of power with respect, who are still rallying for more progress. But the rights of the gay community were touched on also, and I think it is easy to say that they are still are facing so much injustice. Panti Noble’s speech touched me as it was so honest and with her quick wit and humour that allowed so many of us to engage with her story. It is unacceptable that anyone should be ashamed of living, dressing, or acting a certain way- their way. I have started to immerse myself in Dundee’s drag scene; sometimes you hear of or witness the ill treatment that the LGBT community face. Sadly, it is often turned into a joke to entertain us during the queen’s shows and make light of an emotional heavy situation- but the wound is still there and this is their way of coping.
The discussion of Emmet Till’s murder made me think of story in the news earlier this year of a young boy who committed suicide due to bullying from older kids because they thought he was gay. Gay or not, this young boy was a child. Why are people still being attacked because of who they love or for who they are? Why do people believe they are superior to another because they do not share the same skin colour or sexual orientation? Why are these differences so different? We all come from the same place; we all share the same biology. But then, do we all have a heart?
I continue to use the word ‘story’ as if these events were a fabrication of fiction, told to scare us. But these are facts. True events of hardships that a lot of us are utterly unaffected by. The horrible experience’s the lecturers told us of seemed to have achieved so much for their cause at the time, but how far have we really come? Emmett Till death was so tragic that I would have hoped it would haved ended all suffering and fear among Black Americans there and then. But it didn’t stop. The lectures really made me think if there will ever be an end to discrimination and racism. What will it take? We’ve heard of the heroic characters such as Martin Luther King and the brave Suffragettes. Both made history, yet, King lost his life and woman were still not fully recognized as equal. It made me really wonder how, as a teacher, am I able to make change or even if I will be there to witness the end of such social injustices. I know I will treat my classes with the kindness and fairness they deserve, but how can I shield them from the outside world? I can try to prepare them, but why should they have to learn to build up such an armour to protect them for others who may treat them unfairly for just being themselves?
This blog post is a entanglement of facts, questions, anger, hope and is clearly a bit of a jumbled mess. But what is so different about the world today?