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The Future of Cultural Change is Future Cultural Change

ecollier's picture

            Human culture is in constant motion. Human beings seem to have a long history of forward thinking. Because of this, cultural change has been taking place constantly from the beginning of culture. More specifically, the fight for equality for various oppressed groups of society have fought or been fought for since inequalities existed. More recently, the fight for animal rights has been a priority in many minds. As has happened in the past, animals will one day lay claim to some form of official documentation of rights.

            In the past, racial groups and other minorities have suffered due to nothing more but the color of their skin, genitalia, belief system, mental capabilities or sexual orientation. At various times, each of these groups have risen up and fought for their rights. Some fought more violently than others, some fought more creatively than others and some fought for longer than others. In the past, those who are oppressed have eventually strived for equality. The future of cultural change will follow the same pattern.

            In America’s first years as a country, blacks were enslaved from Africa and brought overseas against their will. Here they were forced to work long hours for no pay at all, often suffering from abuse, sickness, malnutrition and death. They were disregarded by most as undeserving of what would presently be considered basic human rights such as the pursuit of happiness. After enduring humiliation such as this for years, many people stood up against slavery. Eventually, after many big incidents and lives lost, slaves were freed. To contemporary society, slavery in America seems inconceivable. This happened almost as if the country as a whole had to work out its issues and come to a resolution within. Although blacks are still not given all the same opportunities as whites, The Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” which is a major win in the fight for equality.

             This also happened in Hitler’s Germany during World War II, when Nazis persecuted Jews as if they were a lower life form. During the 1940’s, only 70 years ago, one man decided to rid the entire country of all non-Aryan people. He went about doing this by creating an army of soldiers and brainwashing them into following his orders. His armies performed some of the most horrific deeds upon millions of Jews, homosexuals and gypsies in history. They were to be treated as if they should be punished for the possession of life. They were beaten, starved, medically experimented on, and forced to endure suffering of horrific proportions.

            Presently in America and all over the world, groups of individuals are petitioning for their equality. Both the gay community and women are organizing strong movements in America. Gays in America are denied equality of marital status, and are seem to be gaining more and more footage in that fight. Women are fighting for equality in both work and home life. Feminism, defined as simply as the advocacy of women’s rights and equality to men, has been springing up all over the country, and countless studies have been conducted to measure the movement’s progress.

            What many have not yet realized, is that there exists another oppressed group today, in America, treated similarly to blacks and Jews throughout history. Animals in the meat industry are treated in a way capable of defining the word “exploitation.” Food animals, as they are sometimes called, refer to cows, chickens, pigs, fish, and every other animal used for meat or byproducts.  There is already a campaign for the ethical treatment of all animals, as well as numerous organizations for the support of animal rights. Just as blacks and Jews were treated in history, animals in factory farms are treated as if they possess no sentience. Their pain and suffering is disregarded in the name of economics and industry.

            In the future, animals will gain recognition as beings with the right to life and happiness. A time when their plight was of little concern will be long forgotten, just as all fights for equality have been. The future of this universal strive for equality looks similar to what it is presently, but whose major role have shifted. In the future, gays will have equal relationship rights and women will earn more and more of a percentage of male earnings. New oppressed groups will rise, possibly immigrants, small-scale farmers or youth. But in the end, the white male will still always dominate.

            As a collective whole, the human species is future thinking; therefore the pattern of constant cultural reform will remain. The future of cultural change will continue along the same path as it has taken in all of history. Those groups of oppressed people will continue to fight for a chance at equality and although they have yet to meet the golden standard, they continue to get closer. In the past, natives, blacks, immigrants, women, homosexuals and Jews have all had historic and high-profile movements for basic rights. Today a few of these continue, most noticeably women, homosexuals and animals. Like all other groups, animals will transcend the patter slightly because they are of a non-human species. But like all other groups, they will gain recognition, however slowly.