Monday, April 10, 2017

Life is Unfair

I started off today by asking my students to draw the caste system pyramid from memory.  Then, they had to explain why Gandhi was against it.  Here it is the picture I made, by the way:

*Side note*:  Before break, I wanted to show students how a lot of other people made the caste system pyramid - with the "untouchables" as part of the pyramid itself, and how I drew them as not part of the pyramid, but rather the ground around it - not even worth of being part of the society.  But when I searched google, I found this:

But THEN... I saw that my picture was showing up under searches, but NOT on my site.  (For instance, you can find it HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE... to name a few...)  I didn't know whether I should be annoyed or thrilled.  So I chose thrilled.  I was happy that none of them came with the comment, "this is the worst rendition of the caste system I have ever seen..."  *End of side note*

Many students told me that Gandhi was against the caste system because it was unfair.  ...This is true.  But why was it unfair?  It was unfair because at the time, people couldn't move from caste to caste.  Where you were, you stayed.

I told students a story (common to many kids, I'd bet) about my dad.  I asked him if I could go to my friend's house.  

"No," he replied.

"But that's not fair."

"Life's not fair."

"But everyone else is going."

"I'm not every one else's dad.
"But! But!"

"Hey... you should have thought of that when you were in the dad aisle picking which dad you wanted.  #sorrynotsorry."

And we get it, right?  We can't pick our parents, our race, which culture we're born in...  There's so much that's out of our control.

Here in the US in 2017, we're striving toward equality of rights.  Gandhi understood that life is inherently unfair.  I can't help that I was born into a super-rich family (lie) any more than my friend could help being born into a super-poor family.  But we can go to school, increase our human capital, and try to work our way up and out.  In India, in Gandhi's day, this was not possible.  And that's why Gandhi fought against it.

If you want extra credit for reading and discussing the blog today, you should discuss it with an adult.  How is being born poor today similar to being born an untouchable in Gandhi's time?  How is it different?  Is it a fair comparison?  What are some things you can do now to help ensure you have more money later in life?  Write your answers to some of these questions on a piece of paper, and have the adult you read and them with sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.

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