Second class citizens

So I’ve just watched The Help and I’m thrilled to announce that while they necessarily had to leave bits of the book out, they didn’t ruin it – huzzah!

Got me thinking though, what an atrocious place those black people were in – no rights, people actually afraid they’d catch diseases from them (yet conversely happy to let them raise their kids), expected to just be subservient and do as they were told. And this attitude entrenched both in white and black cultures.

Horrific. And now we read about it in books and watch it on screen and tut and shake our heads and cluck over how terrible things were in The Past. Thank our lucky stars we live in more enlightened times.

And yet, and yet…

…are we sure about those enlightened times?

Because the world over, people live in fear and in states of degradation – no longer even allowed to enter the houses and lives of the ruling class, they certainly are outcast; unacceptable; less than. Not worthy of time or consideration.

I must be talking about those in the treacherous grips of the Hindu caste system. Or the orphans in Africa. Or the tribes in the remote areas of Papua New Guinea. Or the Indians in South America. ‘Cause we aren’t racists any more in the West.

So we can take pity on those poor folks whose needs we haven’t engaged with and don’t really understand. We might send them aid or missionaries or clothes or hold a fundraiser. And send away our hard earned money and feel better.

In these days of the celebrated First Black President of the United States of America, I couldn’t be talking about people we might know. Not people in our culture, surely? Not the affluent West?

I surely don’t mean the elderly? The poor? The homeless? The drunk? The depressed? The disabled? The mentally ill? Cause we’ve got really, truly justifiable reasons for not reaching out to them

…haven’t we?

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