Prejudice and discrimination in Britain today; racism, homophobia, sexism and just about any other “ism” you can think of. It seems to be the hot topic these days and I for one am pleased that it is getting so much coverage and hope the coverage of incidents and more importantly anti discrimination campaigns continue to grow. A huge part of tackling any issue is highlighting the problem so we need to start doing this now. I will admit that I was, until fairly recently, ignorant of the sheer level of ignorance around.
I am not talking about celebrities being foolish and making rash and ill thought out remarks; be that on Twitter, on a pitch or in an interview; although, again these are important to highlight the severity of the problem. It seems to me, however, that a lot of famous people already know what should and should not be said but many have no idea why they are being asked to act in this way. For the ones who make such remarks in this way, their next step needs to be to learn on a more subconscious level about how they are being offensive to others; basically they need to change the way they think.
This, for me, is where the largest issue lies. To be ignorant, by definition, is to have a lack of knowledge. I have all the time in the world for ignorant people as long as they have the desire to be educated and to change. I know people like this. However, even in our 21st Century cosmopolitan Britain, it saddens me to say there are those who make an active choice to live and express themselves discriminatorily. Unfortunately, I also know people like this.
In the interests of highlighting some of the issue, I have two examples here of posts on openly available social networking sites. I will block some words but please note that even the gist of what is written may cause offence. These are direct quotes:
- “Being gay is just as much an illness as being a paedophile. The difference is social acceptance.”
- “Boring selfish woman beating half and half crying **** kill yourself!!! #Darky”
I have an open question to anybody who thinks any less of someone who is not white or not heterosexual or not male: why? Simple as that: why do you think less of them? Take one minute to really consider this. You have taken the time to develop and, in some cases, express these views, so you must have a reason for these opinions. Personally, if I do not understand a culture or a way of life, I will research it and try to understand it. I cannot understand people that choose to discriminate. Frankly, it baffles me.
Fact: 21st century Britain is a cosmopolitan society and will not change from being so. Ever. I want to live in a cosmopolitan society. I want to celebrate difference and diversity. If you do not want to live in a cosmopolitan society, the answer is simple: move.