21st century problems – which should not exist

I’m sure by now you have all heard of what happened in the City of Minneapolis. It is so unfortunate. And I can’t believe it happened. I’m still in shock.

It is for one of these reasons that I’m glad technology has advanced so much as if we didn’t have our phones and internet….I doubt the world will be so aware of what is happening in our current time.

I’m currently teaching my class Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird which was published in July 1960. That is nearly 60 years ago. The themes that resonated within the novel is so apparent today which is quite disappointing. I thought while our world is scientifically advancing, our moral understanding and values would as well.

But that is not so. Well, not for everyone at least.

George Floyd, an American man, was murdered on Monday 25th May 2020 by an American officer. The only difference between the two was their race. The victim was black. And the murderer was white.

My students and myself know how open-minded and accepting we are in Australia, so it was quite a shock for us to comprehend that this has happened. Why are there still a minority who are so narrow-minded?

We are all humans. We are all the same.

A few days ago, I did this activity with my class asking them to state whether they agree or disagree to the following:

  • People are innocent until proven guilty
  • Jurors are chosen because they are fair
  • People who are different are dangerous
  • Justice always prevails
  • The majority is always right

We had mixed responses and I didn’t mind it. The world has never been black and white. We, citizens living in this society, are constrained by laws created by man.

It was sad to see that I had the majority of my class state they disagree that “justice always prevails”. And they are right. What defines whether this action is justice or not? Who declares whether this is justice? How do we know it’s justice? Isn’t the concept of justice created by man as well?

We don’t see justice in the courthouse scene in TKAM and even children (Jim, Dill and Scout) knows that Tom Robinson was convicted unfairly…due to the fact that he was coloured.

AND we are seeing this exact situation right now in the 21st century.

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck was not immediately charged with third-degree murder on the scene. Why not? This is preposterous! Where was justice in this situation? Imagine if their skin colours were swapped.

In fact, it was until people’s wrath and riots that the court finally charged him this morning, four days after George Floyd’s death. Their excuse: they needed time to put together evidence. SMH.

But it is not only Derek Chauvin who is at fault. We have the other armed officers who were also on scene and watched as their colleague murdered a man in broad daylight.

We need to continue to fight for this justice. We do not accept murder. We do not accept racism.

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