---Injustice--- Then & Now Audrey Cockrell

Injustice of any kind can happen to any person.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Martin Luther King Jr.

Minister and Civil Rights Speaker

"Of Mice and Men"

"'Funny,' said George. 'I used to have a hell of a lot of fun with 'im. Used to play jokes on 'im 'cause he was too dumb to take care of 'imself. But he was too dumb even to know he had a joke played on him.'" (Steinbeck, 40)

This conversation of how George used to treat Lennie is Steinbeck's way of showing how people who had a disability were treated. Lennie was mentally disabled and therefore taken advantage of. People with disabilities were often seen as "below" other people. Because they were seen as subhuman, people did not treat them as equals. Such as when George tells Slim this story of how he treated Lennie unfairly and made fun of him. If Lennie did not have a disability George most likely would not have made fun of him.

"'Well I can't stand him in here,' said Carlson. 'That stink hangs around even after he's gone.' He walked over with his heavy-legged stride and looked down at the dog. 'Got no teeth,' he said. 'He's all stiff with rheumatism. He ain't no good to you, Candy.'" (Steinbeck, 44)

This description of Candy's dog by Carlson is Steinbeck's way of showing how people felt those with disabilities were not any good. Candy persisted that his dog was still good and he could just keep taking care of him until the dog passed away. However, Carlson persisted until he finally got his way. There were some who believed the "unwanted" were acceptable and could be taken care of. All to often, their opinions were over thrown or left in the shadows by those who wanted to get rid of the "unwanted". If Candy's dog was a strong healthy dog, like the one Carlson thought of as a good dog, he would not have been cast out and put down.

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time we fail to protest."

Elie Wiesel

Writer and Holocaust Survivor

"Tularicetio"

"'This Little Frog should not be going to school. He can work; he can do marvelous things with his hands, but he cannot learn to do the simple little things of school. He is not crazy; he is one of those whom God has not quite finished.'" (Steinbeck, 4)

Tularicetio in school and life is Steinbeck's way of showing how "abnormal" people were often seen as incomplete so they were not allowed the same privileges. He could not understand as most students could so the teacher said he did not belong in school. She also believed he was just not fully finished by God. People who were "abnormal" were seen as uncompleted and did not belong. If they were a slow learner they were often given up on or no one ever tried to help them. Therefore, they were considered not human cause they did not learn the same. If he had learned like a "normal" person then she would not have felt he did not belong.

"It was seriously doubted that a teacher so young and so pretty could keep any order in a school." (Steinbeck, 4-5)

This description of the school teacher by the towns folk is Steinbeck's way of showing that the appearance of women often led to being underestimated by men and even other women. Here the towns folk claimed that she was too pretty to handle a classroom. Later on in the story she proves them wrong. Often women were underestimated when stepping "outside the normal", taking care of the house and taking care of the family. They were told they could not handle the task and were shot down. Often that only made them more determined to prove others wrong.

"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them."

Frederick Douglass

African American Orator and Social Reformer

"The Chrysanthemums"

"'I wish you'd work out in the orchard and raise some apples that big.' Her eyes sharpened. 'Maybe I could do it, too. I've a gift with things, all right. My mother had it. She could stick anything in the ground and make it grow. She said it was having planters' hands that knew how to do it.' 'Well, it sure works with flowers,' he said." (Steinbeck, 2)

Elisa's conversation between her and her husband is Steinbeck's way of showing how women were not seen as equals but as below men. Elisa was talking to her husband about her flowers when he says that he wish she could grow apples that big. Elisa says she could. He dismissed the fact that she had said she could do it. He believed it was not a woman's place so she should not be encouraged on such ideas. This shows how women were not allowed to be seen doing or thinking the same way as men. Back then when a woman wanted to do something like a man they were shot down. They did not want women thinking they could be as good as men, when men thought they clearly were not. However, if he had been talking to a man they first of all would not have been in a garden, a "woman's" place. Second of all he would have been encouraging that man to help grow out in the fields, instead of discouraging him.

"Far ahead on the road Elisa saw a dark speck. She knew. She tried not to look as they passed it, but her eyes would not obey. She whispered to herself sadly, 'He might have thrown them off the road. That wouldn't have been much trouble, not very much. but he kept the pot.'" (Steinbeck, 8)

What Elisa saw on the road is Steinbeck's way of showing how women were disrespected. Here Elisa had given the peddler something she really cared about, while unintentionally giving him something he wanted. The peddler knew that if he could take flowers in a pot then he would get the pot he had asked for. So he had pretended to care about her flowers. He knew it was her soft spot and so he could easily get it. In the past, men have disrespected women because they believe them to be "below" men. If the peddler had manipulated a man he would have not acted so hastily in disrespecting a man's possessions.

"There is no calamity which a great nation can invite which equals that which follows a supine submission to wrong and injustice and the consequent loss of national self-respect and honor, beneath which are shielded and defended a people's safety and greatness."

Eldridge Cleaver

Writer and Politician Activist

ViDeos on injustice

For the Birds

In the video you would see small blue birds fighting for space on a wire. Then a newcomer comes along. However, this newcomer was not like them. Therefore, they bashed the newcomer and made fun of him. The newcomer-a big, tall blue bird-was mistaking their "comments" as "compliments". He came over and tried to hang with the small blue birds and try to be a part of them. They get annoyed with the big, tall blue bird so they got and idea. They decided it was a good idea to push him off the wire. They did not realize what their actions were doing until it was too late. When the small blue birds finally landed after getting flung off the wire, they are missing feathers. You would notice that the big, tall blue bird then handed a small blue bird a leaf and then offered the rest of them protection. This shows how even after being treated horrible he still treated them kindly. People in the past made fun of those who did not "fit in the normal" and tried to get rid of them. Only to later realize that they needed help and those who had been discriminated against were sometimes still nice to them and willing to forgive them.

The Ugly Duckling

Here you would see ducklings being born. Then you would see a duckling of different qualities than the rest. This duckling does not fit in. Throughout the video we would see the duckling get pushed around from place to place until he found his home. People often did not want to be responsible or associated with the "unwanted". The "unwanted" would then have to wander around and try to find a place to fit in. Just like the ugly duckling, it would take them way more than one try to find someone who would accept them.

So why does this affect you?

Injustice can happen to any person. We have seen injustice in big events, such as the segregation of Blacks and Whites. We have learned from the past to be more equal to all and not have injustice towards others. So now we no longer have public segregation by color. Even though some of the most common injustice events occur in the past this does not mean it is not happening today. There does not have to be a big event, it can be in the small events. Daniel Little is a philosopher of social science; social and racial justice in the United States; China; higher education. Daniel Little wrote an article about what makes people care about injustice and why they should care about it. In the article Daniel Little states: "If a supervisor favors one worker over another — offers better work schedules or higher merit evaluations — out of personal preference or animosity, we have a basic reaction of unfairness." We can experience injustice in work, school, and even in our homes. It is not as drastic as some other world events but it still is injustice. There are some world injustice examples going on today, too. For example, one injustice is the issue of women in Middle Eastern countries, many of whom do not have the same rights as men. These women are often treated as property and have no rights whatsoever. Here on our home-soil there is still injustice towards our veterans. Those who have served to protect our country and our freedom often end up homeless. Many of our veterans sacrifice not only their time but their mental, physical, and/or relational health. When they return home from serving they often become homeless because of traumas from the past. They cannot forget the horrors of war so they often cannot step back into life as if it never happened. These veterans give so much service, yet little is given in return. Everyday we can help others prevent injustice and teach them about injustice that happens today.

References

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