Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: The Sacrifice of George Floyd!

The George Floyd incident has sparked a worldwide debate on racism forcing people across the world to take action against unprecedented acts of discrimination, violence and irrationalism. Infact a closer look into the depth of this behaviour will reveal an insecure, irrational, inhuman face of the so-called ‘humans’. And interestingly there is another behaviour- that of fake sympathies towards the victim on all available social media channels! In the spirit of enlightenment let me ask a few questions to understand the human behaviour which led to the death of George Floyd.

How do we learn to behave in such a heinous, vile and monstrous way in spite of years of education, awareness, campaigning, protests, sacrifices to teach the world that discrimination in any form is unacceptable? Or is it a flaw in our education system which has sowed this seed of discrimination? In any case, it is clear that the animalistic behaviour of human beings takes over humanist behaviour with the slightest of opportunity, so did we ever learn to control it?

What role can education play to change the perception of inequality? Is it even possible? Can we expect a world without discrimination? From the beginning of time, the world has been shaped by the disparities, conflicts due to inequality, world wars due to discrimination and economic dominance due to racial bias. So will this ever stop? Is it a lost battle? History’s evidence in favour of George Floyd is very weak, it will not change the world, neither will people remember this filthy, disgusting, nauseating act of taking a life without remorse!

Why should we discuss this then? Why should we make our social media profiles black? Can an age-old idiosyncrasy be changed sitting in the comfort of our homes while donning face whitening masks, watching media mongers debate racism, inequality, injustice and hitting a ‘like’ to all solidarity comments on Facebook? Will it change anything?

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Are we inside Plato’s cave? The famous Allegory of the Cave by Plato explains the impact of education and the lack of it on human nature. This makes me realise that we are infact acting like the people in the cave due to the lack of education or due to the impact of flawed education systems. George Floyd’s death is the death of the man who tried to tell the people inside the cave to go out and breath in the open and let him breathe too! Floyd exposed the collective failure of society to educate itself. The lack of thinking in many of our education systems and policies which only breed hungry, lusty, jealous, money-making machines.

Where is the path to enlightenment? Will we learn to coexist with differences? The answer lies in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Peaceful coexistence has to be practised, in a slow and study manner. Do not expect people to learn or accept the idea of renaissance overnight. Education systems and policies have a mammoth task and enormous role to play, to eradicate this feeling of superiority due to gender, skin colour, nationality, language, culture or race. To teach to be human, to teach to coexist, to teach to accept differences, to teach to live, and to teach to breathe and let others breathe.

About Shwetangna Chakrabarty

Shwetangna Chakrabarty is the IBDP Coordinator and University Counsellor at Guangzhou Nanfang International School, China. She has 15 years of experience in teaching three different curricula in four countries. She has taught mathematics and business management to the International GCSE and International Baccalaureate (IB) students. She has had multiple responsibility positions including pedagogical leader, DP, Extended Essay, MYP Personal Project, CIS/NEASC accreditation coordinator and IB Examiner. She has a degree in education and an MBA, she is also a college counsellor certified by TripleA learning, U.K.
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