ArabiaTerra Posted March 13, 2012 Report Share Posted March 13, 2012 GR, it's not about banning particular words or things, it's about challenging the underlying attitudes in society that make certain things or words prejudicial. It's about challenging our own attitudes and privilege. We've been fairly successful in the last several decades at eliminating the more overt racism, bigotry and sexism that pervades our society, but that's not enough. Now we need to challenge the more subtle attitudes and prejudices that we're all guilty of. A lot of racism, sexism and bigotry is entirely unconscious. We don't even realise we're doing it and the only way we're going to recognise it, is if, when people point it out to us, we pay attention. This is where Affirmative Action has a role to play (I hate the phrase "positive discrimination", all discrimination is bad). A good example is in the debate about the lack of minorities and women in the boardroom. I doubt that many (or even any) of the current straight, white, male directors actually ever thought "I don't want any blacks/gays/women on my board", yet despite legislation being passed decades ago to address discrimination in public life and the workplace, minorities and women continue to be under-represented. This isn't because there are no minorities or women to fill these positions, it's because the current incumbents are letting their unconscious prejudice and unexamined privilege affect their hiring decisions. Straight, white males tend to hire other straight, white, males. As long as we fail to tackle these unconscious prejudices, then legislation is the only way forward. Only once women and minorities are properly represented in the boardrooms will the problem disappear because they will be properly involved in making future hiring and firing decisions. Tackling the obvious racism, sexism and bigotry in our society was the easy bit, because it was so obvious. Now we have to tackle the underlying assumptions and attitudes that once made the overt stuff acceptable. This is the hard bit, and we have a long way to go. The first step of this is paying attention when someone points it out. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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