What Will The Next Generation Think Of Us?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

Many often define this period of time as the ‘liberal movement’. A time where human rights reign and the tragedies against humanity which did prevail are now seen as events and periods we judge, learn from, and remember the innocent people who suffered (e.g. slavery, extinction/mass murder).

We can so often look back in history and judge people for what may be seen as horrendous acts  against humanity, without looking at the tragedies going on in our own world today and wondering: what will the next generation think of us?

The ‘digital revolution’, most likely.

The ‘western equality rights era’, probably.

The ‘human rights era’, no.

Our ability to spend money is a form of power within itself. Numerous companies have had their time in the spotlight for being caught owning sweatshops in order to make products for a cheap price and keep more of the profit. From Nike, Victoria Secrets, H&M and Gap, all have been found to have Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 11.37.53involvement with the sweatshop industry. A garment factory in Bangladesh caught fire in 2012, killing more than a hundred workers and injuring over 200 because they couldn’t escape the burning building on time due to the lack of safe emergency exits. This is just one of the many incidents where sweatshop labourers have died or were injured due to fires in poor working environments:

  • An estimated 250 million children ages 5 to 14 are forced to work in sweatshops in developing countries.
  • Products that commonly come from sweatshops are clothing, coffee, shoes, toys, chocolate, rugs, and bananas.
  • Children are as young as 6 or 7 years old when they start working at a sweatshop for up to 16 hours per day.

Yes, we do have various forms of racism, segregation, and discrimination in our western societies. Only just the other day we were confronted with the ‘Dove’ ad campaign which portrayed a black woman taking off her t-shirt to become a white woman. Donald TrumpScreen Shot 2017-10-15 at 09.55.25 calling the NFL team ‘Sons of bitches’ for not pledging their allegiance to the flag in protest for black civil rights. And obviously the infamous ‘Pepsi scandal’ involving Kendall Jenner being present at a ‘Black Lives matter’ protest and seemingly ‘calming the storm’ by handing a can of pepsi to police officers. Numerous events and stats will show racial inequality within western societies. But there are levels to this structure of power. Levels which are so often dictated by privilege. In Marxist terms, the world is run by money and so power. There are the ‘Bourgeoisie’ who are the most powerful as they have the proletariat (the least powerful) exploiting them. Now that’s a very simple summary of a very elaborate theory, but we so often apply this theory to specific societies, regions, or countries. We rarely look at this in a global context.

If the world were 100 people:

  • 7 would have a college degree
  • 40 would have an Internet connection
  • 78 people would have a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain, 22 would not
  • 1 would be dying of starvation, 11 would be undernourished, 22 would be overweight
  • 15 make less than $2 (£1.51) a day, 56 make between $2-$10 (£1.51-£7.53, bearing in mind that £7.50 is the minimum hourly wage in the UK)

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 11.47.59

In the 2017 global context, power is not as simple as the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.  The top 1% does exist, but there are also a bunch of us in the middle who have privileges such as a degree(s), internet connection, and spending money capacity. People with these privileges would still count as being part of the proletariat, but also benefit off of the misfortune and working standards of others in the world due to their own social, political, and economic powers. Your lifestyle, economic/retail choices, and food consumption decisions does have an affect on another group of people in this world who do not have those listed privileges.  We need to take greater responsibility for where we shop and what we buy as this ultimately affects what industries we are upholding. If you’re reading this right now then you have access to the internet and are able to research before buying. Circumstances in life are never statics, the world is constantly changing, which is why the statement by Martin Luther King Jr. in one of his letters from Birmingham jail is so true:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

By Anya McGregor-Kerr

@AnyaRose_

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