19th Century vs. 21st Century ~ Injustices of the world around us.

29 Apr 2011

Now, in the modern era the world is very different from how it was in the 19th century. We have technology which, in the 1800's, people wouldn't have even dreamt about. We have no need to grow our own food or go hunting for game. All we need to do is drive down to the local supermarket or butcher. Now, in the 21st century people like to believe that we live in a just, free society. They like to consider themselves more civilised than the people of previous times. They like to believe that we live in a fair community; a community where everyone is treated the same, with no exceptions. However, as many find out, this is not 100% true. Yes, we live in a different world than the people of the 19th century, by far, but if you look closely and compare the modern day with the 1800's you will find that although things have changed spectacularly, some things haven't changed at all.

   Take the treatment of other cultures for example. In the 18th century the British were conquering the world, exploring distant lands and meeting new civilisations. By the 19th century the British empire practically had control over the majority of the world. But, as they settled throughout there newly claimed land they paid no respect nor consideration for it's native people. In India the Indians were being forced to follow British laws and to fight in British wars, many of which were on foreign shores. On top of that Indian palaces and temples were being demolished to make way for British factories and railroads.
   In Australia and New Zealand the Aborigines and Maori were suffering a similar fate. The British were swiftly moving through their land, destroying the native wildlife to make room for their settlements. This land was sacred to the Aborigines and Maori, and it was being destroyed without a second thought. If this wasn't bad enough the native people of this land could not fight back and defend their sacred land, and therefore their beliefs. Any rebellion they manged to mount was crushed by the might of the British empire. The Aborigines and Maori could only stand by and watch as their shrines were destroyed and their villages ripped apart.
  Now the people of other countries and cultures are better protected by anti-racist rules. But still some cultures are targeted with contempt and utter disrespect. For example, a few years ago many Indians who had come to Australia to study in the universities were beaten and insulted. Some were so badly hurt they were forced to attend hospital for several days. Another example is the treatment of Muslims. Many Western countries oppose Islamic dress calling it 'oppressive' and 'a burden'. Some, such as France have actually gone as far as to ban the Burqa, or the face covering. Many Muslims are verbally, or in some cases physically assaulted. Many cultures are not respected for their ways of life, yet they are expected to respect and follow Western customs.
   Another problem during the 19th century was that the rich treated the poor like tools of trade. The poor were made to work long, hard hours with little support or wages. Many people died working at jobs which were evidently too harsh for them to manage. Meanwhile the rich soaked up the profits and lived lives of luxury. The people who worked to gain them these enjoyments often went hungry. Also, when a worker got sick, or injured, even for a few days, s/he was sacked and replaced in a matter of hours. And because of the long hours and no leave people missed out on family occasions such as weddings, funerals and birthdays.
   Nowadays people in the workforce are protected somewhat from harsh, cruel working conditions. Also sick days and holidays are allowed. But still, in other parts of the world, work conditions are unforgiving and life-threatening. Many people die from fatigue because of over-working. Others die in accidents caused by unsafe machinery which should not be in use. Also in many cases family is ripped apart because of finacial stress while in other families single parents often have to work overtime or take on more than one job, just to support his or her dependents.

   As stated before there were many social issues in the 19th century, as with all the centuries before them. Some problems spanned back decades, even hundreds of years while other problems were new and directly affected the lifestyles of the people who lived then. Although the world has changed a lot since the 1800's, such as child labour or lifestyles, many things such as discrimination towards other races and cultures are still around today and may as well still exist at the end of time. Everyday things change; people are born, people die, yet everyone goes on woth their day to day lives, practically oblivious to the problems around them. Some people try to change things but they, while passionate, are few in number and in order to fix these problems everyone around the world needs to participate. But this will never happen, people are too obsessed with their differences and that is why these problems will continue to affect people lives. because frankly no one cares about the problems of others.    


Anonymous said...

Good evening miss Stephens (here in france, it's already 10 pm)! I read your text and found it really interesting, would you care if i use some extracts for one of my english homework?
But I'm not totally going along with you..
For example I think that your examples in your text are really light. You could say that today the 'occidental way of life' or the United states are ruling the world, you can't see a country nowadays without businesses from European countries or America, the outsourcing is considered as normal today and even if actually it manages people to work it also made them as object and not as human beings, see in China for example, when you buy a trousers 500, you don't imagine the people who has worked hours on it to be paid badly.. Another things, there is STILL child labour in countries and you (again) can't really imagine the tee shirt that you wear being made by a little girl.. There are many injustices in the world, there were and we have to do something in order to fight injustices to have a better future for people who will lived after us. For example, in france, government always talk about unemployment, why don't stop outsourcing and allow people of the third world countries to live totally by themselves, helping them? If we want to erase the borders of the world, made by man himself, we first of all have to change the mentality of people and make them believe that they can do things by themselves! They have to be independent, autonomous, not needing to be 'secured as government says.. If we want things to change we have to understand that when there will be no trees left, no water left, no animals left, people will finally understand that bills can not be eat!
But today money and fear rule the world, but we have to believe in humans beings, we have to see hope anytime. Even if it's hard, even it seems impossible..
I say, no government, no fear, only people who wants a better life, in a way of respect, tolerance and solidarity for everyone.
I'm quite ideological and have a bit of utopia in me I know.
Anarchy and Peace.

Sincerely yours

Anonymous said...

Sorry if i did several faults, i'm still learning english language..


Hadiyah Jacqueline Stephens said...


I don't mind if you use this article in your essay, only reference it so you don't get in trouble of plagarism. =)
I wrote this article in Grade 8 so a lot of the things I say in it I don't exactly agree with now. You have your arguments spot on; good luck with your assignment.

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