A Realization Through Film
Since its release in November of 2013, the film 12 Years a Slave has wowed the critics and raised the bar for slavery movies. Django was great, but it felt more like an action packed glorification of slavery rather than a historical account. Steve McQueen did an awesome job directing the tale of Solomon Northup, a man who is abducted from New York and sold into slavery.
Films like this make us look back on a time that we seem to forget ever existed. After watching the movie, it is surreal to think that only a few hundred years ago we accepted the ownership of human beings openly in society. But has the human race completely broken off ties with owning slaves? Many people argue that in many ways racism and slavery is alive and well in our society and needs attention.
Sure slavery might not be as dramatic and widely accepted as it was in 12 Years a Slave. That doesn’t mean it is no longer a serious problem. There are several different ways that people justify their accusations of modern slavery and racism thriving in our world today.
Segregation In Society
Many laws have been passed prohibiting the open segregation of our cultures, but it still hasn’t died out. Ghettos in cities experience high concentrations of one race in a particular area. Racism runs rampant in some areas and forms a barrier, keeping our cultures from blending together.
There are even racist fraternities in the state of Alabama that have consistently rejected the admission of African American people and received little to no intervention by the law. People have allowed themselves to become slaves to their own racial preferences.
The Rich and the Poor
The need for Robin Hood hasn’t expired just yet. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. It seems that the wealthier people have a more powerful say in the decisions of government. Why should the minority have power over the majority just because of a financial advantage? Looks a lot to me like we are becoming slaves to our own currency.
The biggest problems with slavery exist in the countries that we aren’t paying enough attention to. Latin American and Chineese areas are being exploited for their availabilty of cheap labor. Due to harsh living conditions, people submit to the extreme conditions of working with corporations for only pennies compared to minimum wage.
It’s amazing what a bit of persuasive speaking can do to people. In Brixton a man named Aravindan Balakrishnan lead a Maoist sect and brainwashed people into believing that he was the modern Christ of communism. For over three decades, he dominated the lives of women and completely controlled their lives. This is just the most recent case of cult slavery, there have been many others throughout history.
How can something so extreme go on for so long without us noticing? And if cults have that type of cunning secrecy, who’s to say there aren’t more slaves undetected right now?
How Can we Move Forward?
The first step in alleviating the burdens of slavery and racism in our society is recognition. We have to step back and admit the things that are going on around us. In 12 Years a Slave, they didn’t question the morality since it presented such a convenience to them. Look down at your Nike sneakers, Adidas shirt, or Apple iPod. There is a decent chance that in order for you to get those at a cheap price, a child had to live miserably in another country. After recognizing the flaws, we need to speak out. It doesn’t matter if it is on a big or small scale, as long as your voice is heard.
Once we identify the root of the problems it will be easier for us to avoid them in our future as well. If we can successfully do this, we will see a true melting pot in our culture. Without the suppression and control of other humans, we can live freely without tension and hatred. With the right attitude a life like this it isn’t an unrealistic goal to reach in our lifetime. The most you can do as a citizen is:
- Speak Out
- Be Heard
Adam St. Pierre