Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dignity of Labour

While being at school our English Teacher tried her level best to drill into us the importance of respecting all kind of jobs and accepting the fact that one job is not greater than another. She used to point out that we Sri Lankans are really bad at this. At that point of time I didn't understand what she really meant. I used to think that I get on well with anyone hence I do respect the dignity of labor. With more exposure and experience now I value and understand the wisdom that she tried to impart on us.

Local caste system was based on the job a person did and this has engraved a culture of disrespecting certain type of jobs or at least had created a mentality of considering certain castes/job to be superior to the other. At the surface caste system invisible in our current society, but deeply within the mind the damage is already done. Most of the disrespect that we show to certain professions might not be originating at a conscious level but at an unconscious level.   Think of the following instances and see whether if you are showing disrespect at an unconscious level,

1. Do you refer or  people in certain profession with a respectful tone and people of another profession in another tone ( in Tamil like avan and avar, in Sinhala eya or aroo ), specially in informal chats with friends or family?
2. Do you alway think that you want to be served and doesn't want to serve?
3. Would you discourage someone from taking a certain job, since you consider that job to be held in lower esteem by the society?

If the answer to any one of the above is Yes, I am sure you are at least showing disrespect at an unconscious level. But then I am sure 9 out of 10 of us will fall into this category. We at large haven't still come to accept that there is life beyond stereo typical superior jobs and that others are also professions which need expertise and skill. Realizing this might not happen over night but if we are to mature as a society and become progressive instilling this and removing even the unconscious superiority complex that we hold is crucial.


  1. Point #3 is the hardest to get over in this country, whether you're discouraging someone else or yourself.

  2. I think I try not to, but still do at a subconscious level. Especially when someone doing a supposed 'inferior' job stuffs up, I think "how hard can it be to do THAT right"....

  3. BTW, wth is an "unconscious level"? LOL

  4. Nee, I guess unconscious discrimination is the right word..its the act of discriminating but they are not being aware that they are doing it.. google and see, you would find a lot of research papers on it ;)

    subconsciousness is bit more different I guess.