As I just tweeted, I watched “Glory” for the first time in its entirety. It is one of those films that I set aside as one I wanted to watch, but never got back around to it. Watching it reminded me of a great experience I had last year.
I was raised in a town with little to no diversity. Last year, I took an early American history class with a more diverse crowd. While we talked about the founding fathers and what great things they did, someone slipped up their hand and said, “Yeah, but they had slaves.” It brought to the forefront the fact that the founding fathers went into great discourse about freedom for all people, but had the antithesis of freedom in their own homes.
I still have great respect for what our founding fathers accomplished, but we cannot overlook the facts. It makes me wonder who I am hurting. Who I am oppressing without realizing it. For the founding fathers, it was considered perfectly normal to have a slave. What is perfectly normal for us that hurts other people?
For me, this especially rings true in technology. Resources like coltan are required for our technology and have very negative implications for the well-being of people in the Congo. Not to mention the mass amounts of pollution created by the production of the latest and greatest gadget. As I support and use technology, I also support these things. In some small way, I hope that my assistance will lead to longer life in technology and require less production.
Does this mean abandoning technology completely on morals alone? Maybe. But the very last thing we can do is close our eyes to injustice. When the first African-American soldiers were allowed to fight in the Civil War, did people not say “It’s about time”? What else is it time for?