Sunday Inspiration: Dignity can’t be negotiated!
I saw this on the internet recently, and I found it thought provoking. I can’t find information about the author, and I’ve seen this quoted on websites from both sides of the aisles. It’s clear we can always argue about what an injustice is or isn’t. But let’s not argue, let’s read this story with an open mind and think about what we each hold so dear we’d stand up for justice no matter what.
What do you think?
First day of class, the law teacher walked in. The first thing he did was ask for the name of a student sitting in the front row:
– What’s your name?
– My name is Nelson.
– Get out of my class and never come back! he ordered him.
Nelson was confused. The teacher was heading towards him, he got up quickly, packed up his stuff and left the classroom.
Everyone was scared and outraged but no one was talking.
– Very Good! Let’s get it started. What are laws for? asked the teacher.
The students were still scared, but slowly they started answering the question.
– To have order in our society.
– So that people pay for their actions.
– No! Does anyone know the answer to this question?
– For justice to be done, spoke shy a young girl.
– Finally! Justice! But what is justice?
Everyone was starting to get mad at the teachers attitude. However, they kept answering.
– To protect the rights of the people.
– Okay. But still?
– To differentiate good from bad, to reward those who do good.
– Okay, so answer this question: Did I act correctly when I kicked Nelson out of class?
Everyone was silent, no one responded.
– I want an unanimous answer!
– NO! They answered with one voice.
– Could we say I committed an injustice?
– And why has nobody done anything about it? Why do we want laws and rules if we don’t have the will to practice them? Each of you is obliged to speak up when you witness an injustice. All of you. Don’t ever stay quiet again! Go and get Nelson. After all, he is the teacher, I’m from another period.
You know, when we don’t stand up for our rights, dignity is lost, and dignity can’t be negotiated.”
– Doris Carrier
Wow! What an eye-opener!
Unfortunately we’ve been taught to ‘respect’ authority in our lives …..parents, and then I’d have to say ‘teachers’ and the list goes on from there. So when in a classroom the ultimate authority is the ‘teacher”. I would have to say that we are indoctrinated from our early years to this model. So it would be very difficult to stand up and question that authority in a classroom (maybe they knew something about the person that the students didn’t).
Now I’m not defending this kind of ‘injustice’ as it’s the root of some of the most egregious atrocities in our world …..there are quite a few like the Holocaust. Today it’s become easy and quick way to spread ‘injustice’ via our social media….spread misinformation and people posting the most outrageous things to out-do others. We can’t allow people who do this become leaders or authorities in our society.
I went to Catholic School from 1st through 8th grades. In my first grade class were 72 kids. Yes. 72. with one Nun. Sister Rose Eileen. Tall rail thin and mean as you can imagine. We were scared, we were poked, prodded, slapped
We had to kneel on the floor, of hard linoleum for any perceived trespasses. It was pretty much like that all years. Except 1. a young nun, i suppose they had not poisoned her yet. Could we have refused? Spoken up? Told our parents? Back in the 1960‘s the answer was no.
Resoundingly, NO! We were somewhat broken before we even began to live.
I think I fully overcame that part of myself when I had my 2 children. Never, ever would someone bully my (babies) Kids.
We must stand strong, not be bullied. Stand up for justice and everything we hold to be good,
honorable, truthful, just and fair to ALL. That is the way it should be. It SHOULD Be!
One more thing we seem to have forgotten…. One Nation. With Liberty and Justice For All.
Wow, you sure pushed some buttons today!!
My only remark is about all the folks who are claiming “Rights” without also taking on the Responsibilities that go with those “Rights”.
It is our Right to live in this free society and it is our Responsibility to be informed citizens who vote for candidates who support everybody’s “Rights”.
One can apply that test to many subjects, including the wearing of masks, getting vaccinated and maintaining social distances. Who has the Right to decide what is correct behavior for ME?
Also, we claim to be a society where all persons are equal. That it is our Responsibility to treat others as we would be treated. So, how does that measure up with folks who claim that Their Rights are more important than My Rights. Who has Responsibility in that? Much food for thought and even more room for action.
Thank you. Powerful story. Peace, ck