Allegory of the cave is a scenario brought by Plato. The scenario is about prisoners who have been in a cave from childhood. Their legs and neck have been chained to an extent they can move. The prisoners only believed what they were seeing on the wall and not knowing the actual reality of the true nature of the shadows (Brians, 1998). The AllegoryAllegory has a lot to reveal about systemic racism. The Allegory is about the power of knowing the truth.
On the other hand, systemic racisms are practice and policy entrenched in an established institution, resulting in the exclusion or promotion of a particular group of people. The cave in the AllegoryAllegory represents the racism the blacks are undergoing from the whites. The prisoners who are chained in the cave are the blacks and also the whites. The shadows are the beliefs the whites have that make them racist, and the conception of the shadows by the prisoners is how in reality, the whites come up with ideas from what they see and not what they know about the blacks. After escaping the cave of racism and learning the truth, the prisoner who escapes is like the whites who change. It is well elaborated below.
Systemic Racism and the AllegoryAllegory of the cave
Like the prisoners in the cave, most of the Black Americans are still imprisoned in the cave of racism, and they are prisoned to the extent that they only believe what they see and not the truth about the entire globe. According to extensive academic research carried out by the federal government and researchers, it shows that systemic racism is ingrained in almost every way the society works with people in terms of the practices and policies at institutions like law enforcement, schools, government, banks, and companies. The research shows that differences exist along almost every facet of the life of an American, including healthcare, education, incarceration, wealth, employment, and homeownership. This shows the hardship the black American is going through to make it out (Gal et al., 2020). Their fellows do not believe those who try to succeed out of the cave and come back to share the enlightenment on the absolute truth about the real world to the extent that they even want to kill him.
The cave in the AllegoryAllegory fits into the modern world concerning racism in many different ways. Discrimination and racism affect the quality of care that a person gets when hospitalized, the ability to live successfully, police officers’ treatment of the citizens they are meant to serve and protect. An individual’s ability to live in a society and a community is also affected by mistreatment due to institutional discrimination. This shows that the cave is the world in which many people have been prisoned and only believe the shadows of what they see on the wall and not what is real (Leyden, 2020). People need to think beyond the shadows of ethnicity and to stop believing what they see on discrimination.
The prisoner who escaped the cave into the real world and realizes the truth on their interpretation of the shadows and returns to the cave to enlighten the fellow prisoners and is rejected by the other prisoners also reflect the behaviors of the whites who changed their mentality towards racism. Like the prisoner, the whites Americans with different opinions with reality and what they had known before from what they have seen about racism face a challenge of rejection from the fellow whites (Ladd, 2018). An example is the white supremacist who took to the streets of Charlottesville in 2017 lost their jobs.
The shadows in the AllegoryAllegory of the cave that the prisoners saw and interpreted in their knowledge are the same shadows the many whites Americans are being taught as kids. Many parents have twisted the shadows that even if the kids in their adult age face reality and the truth, they still believe in what they were taught at their younger generation because that is what they led to believe (Ladd, 2018). They focus on their translation of the shadows to the extent that when forced with the truth, they turn on the teacher trying to prove them wrong.
The apology is about the conviction and death of Socrates, who was a teacher and a mentor to Plato. Socrates was being accused of corruption and impiety of the youth, and he was brought before the Athenian court. He explains that he does not have much experience with the court and will only speak in her accustomed manner. Socrates explains his behavior that it stems from the oracle of Delphi prophecy that says that he is the wisest of all men. By considering his ignorance in the world’s affairs, Socrates concludes by elaborating that he was wiser than other men only in that he acknowledges that he knows nothing. He says that he recognized his duty to challenge wise people to expose their false wisdom as ignorance (Nail, 2009). Through the questioning, he earned a lot of admiration among the Athenians, but on the other hand, people he embarrassed were hated and were being angered by him.
Socrates links himself to a gadfly stinging that is stinging the lazy horse, which is the state of Athens. He claims that Athens without him is bound to drift into a deep sleep. Still, by means of his influence, even though it irritates as some people see it, Athens can be awakening a virtuous and productive action. After the hearing, Socrates is found guilty by a small margin and suggests a penalty. He jokingly suggested that if he were to receive what he is worthy, he ought to be honored with an excellent meal for being of service to the state by awakening him. On a serious note, he rejects exile and prison as a punishment but offers the fine. The jury rejects his proposals and sentences him to death (Plato, 2019. He accepts the jury’s verdict with the observation that only gods know what happens after death and that it will be foolish to fear what one does not know. At the end of the court hearing, he cautions the jurymen who voted against him that they harmed themselves more than they have harmed him by silencing their critics instead of hearing to him.
The first narrative that shows that people congregate around a false narrative is when Meletus accused Socrates of charging fees for his instructions. But any person who was seeking the instruction could testify that there were no charges for the services he offered. Socrates himself did not believe it was proper to place a monetary value on truth or for the process of teaching people to think for themselves. The congregation comes in when he was brought before the committee of the jury, and even outsiders came to witness the hearing. Regardless of the truth that teaching people to improve themselves through learning how to reason correctly and was, to his judgement, the most valuable that he could render, and it was available for everyone despite their ability to pay (Linder, 2002). He was also not against teachers who charged for the instructions when they felt the need for the charge; he even commended one of the teachers, Events, to charge affordable rates for his students.
Another false narrative was that Socrates did not believe in the Athenian gods and that he was evil because he did not accept the stories concerning the Athenian gods. He disputed the stories because the gods were accredited with immoral behavior that cannot be tolerated among human beings. He believed that the gods were good but not in the disturbing and dark stories circulated about them. Socrates did not attempt to defend himself against the accusation, but instead, he addresses himself to a larger implication in the crimes he is being accused of. The truth was clear from the start as far as this accusation is concerned, but yet the jury did not see the reality that Socrates’ life only revolved around being a law-abiding citizen in Athens (Van Harten, 2011). The vote was cast for the death punishment by the court, and the jury passed a verdict of death.
Concerning the white’s behavior toward the black, AllegoryAllegory of the caves give a theoretical example in the cave and the prisoners, plus what they believe in. racism has been something that has to affect the blacks for a decade when it comes to education, jo application, owning of the residential house among others. The white privilege is yet to be done with, and it is still being seen from the different research being conducted. Allegory tries to explain how the whites came to be racist and what happens to any of them in case he/she takes a different root from others.
On the other hand, Apology by Plato tells us how people congregate around false narratives and how the false narratives result in hate and violence despite the tabled truth behind the narrative. Socrates was convicted wrongly and sentenced to death.
Brians, P. (1998). Plato: The Allegory of the Cave, from The Republic.
Ladd, D. (2018). The white southerners who changed their views on racism. Mississippi: Guardian News & Media Limited publishers.
Leyden, N. (2020). Racism and Discrimination in Plato’s Modern Cave. : Community College of Rhode Island publishers.
Shayanne Gal, A. K. (2020). 26 simple charts to show friends and family who aren’t convinced racism is still a problem in America. New York: Insider Inc publishers.
Linder, D. (2002). The trial of Socrates. Available at SSRN 1021249.
Nails, D. (2009). The trial and death of Socrates. A Companion To Greek And Roman Political Thought.
Plato, B. (2019). Apology. BookRix.
Van Harten, A. (2011). Socrates on life and death (Plato, Apology 40C5–41C7). The Cambridge Classical Journal, 57, 165-183.
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