The fences we put up are getting bigger, more inhuman and harder to overcome. It is the argument of this paper that these fences should not be allowed to exist, that we should not fence people in, whether the context is moral, social or cultural.
Dr. Christina Kochemidova , in her article The Culture of the Fence: Artifacts and Meanings, brings up the various contexts a fence can be looked at. A fence can be used in many ways; as a bar, or barrier, to prevent ingress or to prevent escape. Alternatively it can be used as simply a marker, to demarcate a boundary. More often, fences are used as a division and increasingly as a means of control. These sorts of fences are invisible; they exist as rules, laws, and attitudes. This is also noted by Naomi Klein in her article Don' Fence Us In. There are numerous examples of this; racism, privatization and property rights are the most prevalent. These create barriers that are incredibly difficult to overcome.
Man may have originally have used the fence to demarcate, but over the centuries it has evolved into more; a protective barrier, in one way, to keep the "other" out. The other can be anyone we perceive as a threat, or conversely anyone we wish to control. The fence as a control measure is frightening. This avatar is especially clear in the case of racism
Racism is universal. Whether it manifests itself as the oppression and slavery of blacks in the United States, or as hatred of Pakistanis and Muslims in Norway, or the conflict between Hindus and Muslims in India and Pakistan, the common factor is the segregation and separation of two peoples based on the belief of the inherent superiority of one over the other. In fact, the word "apartheid" was created from the Afrikaans word for "separate"; the whole concept of a fence lies in that word. Racism has been responsible for some of the most horrible atrocities ever committed; the Holocaust, the slavery of blacks. In the United States, prior to the Civil War, Blacks were not even allowed the right to be citizens of the country; they were not even given the right to be considered human. Segregation in the south of the country took the form of separate facilities for everything including transport and housing. Even when they were finally recognized under the Constitution, they were still educated separately under the guise of "separate but equal" schools under the law. This sort of segregation is a fence. It separates and empowers one group, and suppresses another as is evidenced by the example given above. Denying an ethnic group the status of "human" is one of the most horrific fences that can be put up. This status was used to control the blacks and keep them "in their place". Denied education, proper housing, denied their very independence, the blacks were successfully controlled by these fences that kept them exactly where they were wanted. Education became an extremely important way to break out of these barriers. However, as noted by Hansman et al, education itself is prone to racist overtones. They remark that in many multicultural institutions, the structure of the work is planned around the majority culture, thereby leading to the ineffectual training of minority groups. Institutional factors therefore have a role in maintaining racial prejudice. Another