Prejudice. No matter where we go, we don’t know if we will ever feel as secure as we should be, because of our race, religion or our lifestyle. It is the one thing that opens apart old wounds of long-forgotten hatred. It is the salt people would sometimes love to rub into old wounds. We may have advanced so far as to be able to soon find the cure for Parkinson’s or that America just elected its first black United States President. Yet, prejudice is something that would take probably three milleniums to actually heal and fight against.
Barely a month ago, one of my mother’s tuition student was sitting for his final exams for his Science paper, which also happened to be his favourite subject. However, his confidence and probably, all hope in himself was shattered the day he got back his results. Instead of getting the results that he so rightfully deserved (I presumed he was going to get 95 out of 100), he got 65 out of 100 instead. Believe me when I say that these results were no accident. It had nothing to do about being too overconfident about doing well. Neither did it have anything to do with nerves. Quite the contrary, actually.
We all know how vital it is for teachers to check the examination papers that they have set for the students. However biased they may feel over their papers, they must hand it to the school principal and or allow the teachers in the same field (e.g. Science) to ask for a second opinion. The sole reason is to check and make sure that the questions are sensible enough for a child to answer depending on the format handed to them by the school examination authorities. What happen in this case, was the complete opposite. Although the questions were set according to the topics (Standard 3, primary schoolers), the format of the questions were set in the upper primary version (Standard 4). So naturally, the students (especially the good students, my mother’s student included) all did badly.
Once parents managed to put two and two together, they were outraged and demanded an explaination. When they approached the teacher, she lamely told them that she had now lost the children’s papers. This ‘loss’ was no accident either; the papers that were lost belonged to my mother’s student and to another student, both of whom, who did reasonably well despite the consequences, had a chance of upgrading themselves to a better class next year.
What shocks me most is not the teacher’s less then caring approach, or that she did such a thing on pupose. We have all seen such acts of prejudice, many are which are carried out on innocent children.I was upset that the children involved had to bear the brunt of such injustice, they have done nothing wrong whatsoever. I was also upset when I learnt that there was nothing done against this teacher. Sure, the parents made plenty of noise, but until today, no action has been carried out against this teacher. No suspension, no headines screaming racism in schools, nothing. Just this year, a teacher got fired for being racist here, so why isn’t anything being done now? Why, despite all the complaints, has there been nothing done whatsoever?
No matter how much we speak up, there always seems to be a blanket of slience that is forced on most of us so that the truth can’t get out. However, there is a catch to this. No one can keep the truth quiet forever. Sooner or later, the dirty laundry has to come out, and the person involved has to own up and face the music, whether they like it or not. Even after the HINDRAF protests, no needs for this community has been met. More often than not, they are carelessly ignored. There seems to be no other channel to whom we can complain to. It would seem that all hope is lost. Yet, I still hope for a fragment of justice to highlight this latest plight to show others just how much most of us have to suffer. For all our sakes, may we find justice in an unforgiving and prejudiced world.