Human Rights In Les Miserables

1059 Words5 Pages
The title of the documentary 13th refers to the 13th amendment of the constitution of United States of America: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” which outlawed slavery (unless as punishment for a crime). DuVernay’s documentary argues that slavery is being effectively perpetuated through mass incarceration, this is a truth that existed since Les Miserables was written and is still true to this day. Evidence shows that human rights have evolved, yet the execution of such rights still remains discriminatory and unjust for the minorities in society, such as black people. The documentary 13th, makes unconstitutional…show more content…
In Les Misérables, Valjean was sentenced to prison for nearly two decades for committing a petty crime to feed his nieces and nephews. After he was released he had to carry with him a yellow card identifying himself as a criminal. As a result, he cannot find work, in other words he was stamped or marked for life; the same happened with black people even though they were free, they still were marked and seen as bad people just because of their skin color. The birth of a nation shows the image of black people seen as cannibals, and rapists. That same nation was responsible of the creation of the Ku’ Klux’ Klan’ that was killing black people indiscriminately just because of their skin color. The Ku’ Klux’ Klan’ persecuted black people unfairly because they saw them as criminals, this same situation happens in Les Misérables. Javert became like the Ku’ Klux’ Klan’, persistently chasing black people, only that in this case, he was chasing Jean Valjean because he thought that he was a criminal. For Javert once a person committed a crime, they were a criminal and would always stay as a criminal. “To live, once I stole a loaf of bread; today, to live, I will not steal a name.” (Hugo, 363). He makes Valjean’s life miserable by constantly looking for him to send him to prison. In both cases, both the black people and Valjean had to…show more content…
African-Americans had to flee all over the U.S.A. in order to hide and survive they became immigrants. This made them refugees in their own land. Valjean was forced to flee in many occasions, one time he had to find shelter in a convent, then kept moving places and even had to change his identity for most part of his life because Javert persistently kept looking for him to incarcerate him. In the documentary 13th, black people suffered a lot of injustices, they did not have rights, they could not vote, they could not go to school and they were considered low class. In Les Misérables the government implemented unfair treatment of women, lack of legal rights to protect women and they were seen as a inferior. “That kindness which consists in defending a woman of the town against a citizen, a police agent against the mayor, the inferior against the superior, that is what I call ill-judged kindness. Such kindness disorganizes society.” (Hugo, 70). Fantine was fired from work when it became known that she had an illegitimate daughter. This forced her to hide her daughter and leave her with the Thenardiers. “She seized the hand of Madame Thénardier and said, “Will you keep my child for me?”... You see I cannot take my child into the country, work forbids. With a child I could not find a place there.” (Hugo, 42). She also had to make other sacrifices such as cutting her hair in order to sell it and obtain

More about Human Rights In Les Miserables

Open Document