I have observed a worrying rising trend lately, which is people giving voice to opinions they might have previously kept to themselves. And, along with the opinion, comes the finger: the pointing finger. It is making my work, which includes not only promoting equality and diversity, but challenging those that discriminate, feel quite hardcore. On the other hand if people talk, we can create an understanding. This post is me talking.
A lot of the discrimination I come across is unthinking. Some of it is learned. Some of it comes from a well-meaning but frustrated place if you dig deep enough, but the ready and unabashed voicing of the harsh views is new. It is as if some half-formed opinions, fears even, have come bubbling up in the current climate. I know why too. It’s not just because it is harder out there. For many people it has never been easy. It is because the government have created a climate of them ‘the scroungers’ and us ‘the strivers’. Or perhaps it is them ‘the strivers’ and us ‘the scroungers’. It really is that arbitrary.
Whichever category you might put yourself in, the words themselves are ones that classify society and cause divisiveness. They become self-fulfilling prophecies. Remember Margaret Thatcher’s, ‘There is no such thing as Society’ statement. With that sentence she removed the handbrake on the rampant desire of the consumerist self. Forget, ‘Love thy neighbour’ it became all about keeping up with them instead. Now in their new incarnation of Not the Nasty Party Conservatives the Chancellor, Gideon Osborne, who coined the term ‘scrounger’ is a ‘striver’ presumably in his head anyway. Compare his life of money and privilege to be being born into a home where there is no money, no hope, no aspiration. Who is he to judge another so harshly, I wonder, even if he does have a deficit to balance.
In this language of them and us the Nastier than Ever party have created a climate where everyone finds someone to look down on, point the finger and blame. It is a dangerous route for humanity to go down. It is a hop, skip and a jump from blame to hate I am afraid. And hate gets us nowhere. Us. Whatever constructs and obstacles humanity may put in its own path to disprove the fact, there is only an us. Yes we are a diverse bunch, with different languages and cultures but however we try to classify and label one another, whether it is through race, or religion, or class, or if don’t open our curtains and watch daytime television, the fact remains that we are still one.
If you don’t believe me. Watch this. It is a profound and thought-provoking labour of love. It starts the conversation. It mixes up the labels and doesn’t so much open the conversation as blast it into your cosmic consciousness. You do have one – right?