Thursday, December 11, 2014
When a big event happens in the world that suggests prejudice/oppression still exists in today’s society, people tend to take one of two positions. They join the side of the oppressed group, or they pretend/believe the oppression doesn’t exist. Most of the time, those in the latter category are in a position of privilege, whether they are aware of it or not. This same concept applies to the state of order vs. freedom in our lives today. Those with power, keep the power, and those without are helpless to change it. The state of order and freedom in present-day American society is not balanced, nor will it ever be. Though we are not completely without one or the other, the balance between order and freedom is something that humans have never had and will likely never achieve. In today’s society order rests far above freedom, and unless drastic changes are made both outwardly and internally, order will remain above freedom in the scale of things. It is clear that we need both to thrive, and the drastic differences in lifestyle between those with power and those without in our world are clear.
Power is synonymous with control. If you are in a position of power, such as a member of congress, or a policeman, or even an average white adult male, you are incapable of completely understanding the oppression of those below you in the pyramid of power. The reason so many people with power become corrupt, is because no one else can tell them otherwise. Take a look at ferguson; Officer Wilson shot and killed an unarmed, black teenager, and then was not indicted for the crime. When something like this happens, you would expect there to be some repercussions, but instead there were none. Officer Wilson is involved in a system of powerful officials who are not being told they can’t do what they are doing. There was a study called the Stanford Prison Experiment, in which a group of college students were assigned randomly to be either a prisoner or a prison guard, and within days, the experiment showed just how easy it is for power to change someone. They were not given any or very few instructions as to what they were and weren’t allowed to do, and the prison guards essentially ended up torturing and humiliating the prisoners. Another clear example of this is in The Crucible, where the judge is “incapable” of being controlled by the devil, simply because he is the judge. He has ultimate say and power, and everyone suffers for it.
To further this idea, I’ll bring up my next point, which is that people are selfish, and will only do things to further benefit themselves and the people around them. It is insanely difficult to see the “big picture” when it comes to the whole world. We as humans are all caught up in our own worlds and lives, that it’s very difficult to see outside of that world. When a man says “not all men” when referring to a woman mentioning the amount of rapes done by men, when a white person believes that racism is dead because slavery was abolished, when a member of the LGBT community bashes someone who is openly bisexual, all of these things are based on power. People don’t see outside of their own world easily, and when you get a minority telling you that they are a minority, sometimes the easiest thing to do is tell them they’re wrong, because the system is benefiting you.
The only truly “free” people in the world are the people with the highest power. Specifically, rich white men. When you look at how much poverty there is in the world, and how little some people have, it is clear that there is a system of power, and it is not all based on capability. People born into poverty have to work their entire lives to make it half as far as someone born with more power. They are much less “free” than the person born in the same year, at the same time, but with different living conditions. Free doesn’t necissarily mean “easy” but it does mean that the person is able to do what they want or need to do to get by in life, which doesn’t always happen.