Opinion By J1 reporter Kristin Beduhn
We are living better than 75 percent of the world. A concept that can make every superficial problem and fear, every over dramatic tweet and frivolous compliant, seem extremely trivial when compared to the true injustice that makes up the framework of our world. Subsisting in the society of the top 25 percent we are provided privileges that include, but are not limited to cultural norms, education, and birth rights.
Observing the cultural norms that surround us, you began to realize benefits they provide. Everyone is a product of what surrounds them. We go to a school where the cultural norm is to graduate from high school and continue on to college. This is an extraordinary privilege that can be taken for granted. To many in the United States, because no one surrounding them is going to college it appears a far-off concept that has no place in their thoughts. Looking outside of the United States, in many countries the idea of an education is laughable, solely based on their cultural norms of achieving a low education. Due to the fact I have grown up in such an ambitious and empowering society, college has not just been exposed to me, it’s been encouraged and enforced.
The culture norms that provide me with the mindset that a college education is not an option streams from the privilege of my education. The strongest opinion I have had in life is that education is an opportunity that has been taken for granted to a sickening extent. This summer I was volunteering at a refugee non-profit. While there, the leader of my group explained that it can take only six months for the refugees to become fluent in English. This statistic seemed insane to me given the fact I have been enrolled in Spanish for 12 years and the only concept ingrained in my brain is “Oh My Darling” verb song. The leader continued to elaborate saying because none of the refugees have been exposed to an education it is their eagerness to be educated that makes them so successful at learning a whole new language. The concept dawned on me that my access to education already gives me the upper hand over a huge part of our world. Social inequality is present in my everyday life. It is in everything I take for granted such as waking warm in a house, driving to school, and having access to the outside world through technology. All of this comes to me naturally while others fight every second of their life for them.
Where you are born and who gives birth to you define a huge part of your life. I was born in the United States, because I was born here our society considers it deviant for a man to rape me, meanwhile in India marital rape is still legal. I was born in the United States so I can legally drive a car when I’m 16 years old, a privilege women in Saudi Arabia just gained this past year. I was born into a upper-middle class community. If my parents decided to send me to public schools due to my district I would be enrolled at Millard North, a school with the graduation rate of 95 percent. If I was born 20 miles down the road I would have been enrolled in Omaha North where the graduation rate drops down to 59 percent. Twenty miles separates me from two very different environments. My parents both worked hard to surround me with certain cultural norms and educational expectations; there is no injustice in their hard work. The injustice streams from the fact I was born into my social class. I worry about not getting dates to dances and As dropping to -As. While a girl is born in Africa with little access to medical help and fights for food every day.
I do not want to devalue people’s feelings. Due to the fact we have never been exposed to the full extent of monstrosities injustice can bring, we feel the same pain it is just more relative to the situation we are living in. We can not help what society we are born into, but we can work towards making all societies equal. This should open our eyes to become more eager. Eager to wake up early, to go to school. We should sit in every classroom overjoyed. The constant personality should be teach me, educate me. In an ideal world we would celebrate every time a teacher gives us homework, it is an opportunity to learn. Men and women have died for our freedom of speech, we need to use it, speak up. We have the upperhand, many people have been born with less and have achieved so much more. We were born into certain rights and along with those rights we have responsibility. Our responsibility is take advantage of the privileges we are given and use them to give others the same opportunities.