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  • Writer's pictureHifza Farooqi

Divided we fall

Hifza exposes inherent divisions in society and suggests positive solutions.

From the time humans first began to live in settlements, divisions have existed within human societies. In some societies, age granted authority, in others, lineage. Some societies even had class systems or castes that divided people. Generally, those with the most wealth had the most power. Today, while progress has been made to make us more equal based on human rights, divisions remain, both large and small. Many factors from waste to race are indicative of the organization of society as well as the globe at large.

The ability to export waste is indicative of the distinction between the powerful and the weak. Many powerful countries export their waste, including Canada and the United States. They export their electronics and non-reusable waste to poorer countries like the Philippines. China also used to be a recipient of Western countries' waste. However, in 2018, China was able to refuse to receive waste. By being able to refuse the trash, they were able to assert their power over the globe. However, Southeast Asian countries unable to say no are now receiving the waste because they are too weak to say no.

"Sadly, a British passport will be treated much differently than an Iraqi passport."

Similarly, the ability to travel around the world distinguishes those with power from those without it because, frankly, air travel is a luxury. Many in the world have never ridden an airplane, even in the United States. More so, even in air travel, there are distinctive classes of travelers. There is first class, business club, privileged club members, and similar statuses allowing passengers different treatment. Generally, discrimination is based on one's appearance but in airports, it often has to do with your wealth or citizenship. Different passport holders are given different treatment at the airports. Sadly, a British passport will be treated much differently than an Iraqi passport.

Racial hierarchies are also a large contributor to power divisions in society. Today, there is much more acceptance and respect between different races, but one has to consider that even in a diverse country like the United States, segregation ended only less than 60 years ago. Just considering recent discrimination faced by those of east Asian descent due to the origins of COVID-19, clearly, there is racial disparity in the United States. Due to such negative perceptions of those who are colored, they are mistreated or discriminated against. Discrimination makes it harder for them to get jobs, receive an education, or live well. Unable to live well, they end up struggling to raise their children who then struggle as their parents did and stay helpless.

Race as a significant factor in the preservation of history is also worth noting. Many Western historians hold prejudice, aiming to preserve their own history rather than the collective history. It is important to assess the credibility of things taught or depicted in media for there is always the potential for bias, misinformation, or ignorance. As crucial as it is to preserve the stains of one’s history, it is also important to recognize them as stains. History is not a painting where its splatters are called art. Stains on our history are made of violence, of blood, a form of ink no artist should be proud to use. Some areas with incredibly rich history have no monuments to preserve their legacies simply because they lack the power to create them.

"As crucial as it is to preserve the stains of one’s history, it is also important to recognize them as stains."

Divisions of power are always difficult to combat, but it is important to be aware of them first. Waste management is a big issue in the world but countries should be working together to reduce it rather than focusing on the ability to reduce waste being dumped in their country. Similarly, racial hierarchies are an age-old problem that cannot be solved, but understanding it is important to work towards removing barriers. Preserving objective history is necessary for future generations to look back and learn from. The most important part of studying the past is to prepare for the future, so we must work hard to do what we can to help reduce problems the future may have to deal with.


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