At last weekend’s Oscars several of the winners used their moment to highlight issues of inequality: Race, Immigration, Equal pay for women, Gay rights, and the Right to be weird. All of which I fully support and most other people will. But there’s a huge catch because recognising the right is not the same as Equality and we need to sort the semantics out.
Look at the Civil rights movement in America. The constant eroding of the black communities to be allowed to vote in elections is a real embarrassment to the US. The suppression of black voters is linked to the tightening of the need for ID to vote. Now you and I in this country, go into our polling station give our details, hand over our voting card and then put a cross in a box. Why are they doing this? To stop voter fraud. The same fraud that doesn’t and hasn’t existed in the US for decades. All it is, is a barrier against immigrants, latinos, black and other minorities to stop them voting as they tend to be more liberal and would likely vote Democrat. Recognition in law? Yes – Equality? No.
Stop and search, shootings of black men, the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of young black men in prisons across the world. And we can’t be smug as our worst performing schools in the UK are the inner city ones with the highest number of young black men. Why is this not at the top of the political agenda? Why do we still point in awe at someone like Tiger Woods just because he happens to be a black man playing a very “white” sport? Why are there still football clubs who think it’s acceptable to travel across the continent and chant about their pride in their racism? If it got them votes then Politicians would be all over this. Why do you think UKIP are succeeding? Because they make these stereotypical images of “johnny foreigner” and the danger he brings forward and warns that the Bogieman will get you. It’s a national and international disgrace.
Equal pay and stature for women in work. Doesn’t exist. Women in the US earn only 77 cents for each dollar a man earns. The UK is better though 80 pence in the pound. The best examples are the four Scandinavian countries, France and Ireland where the figures are mid 80s but still not enough. Again we recognise the rights of women but to actually match that with our money seems beyond developed nations. In this day and age we still lack women in Parliament, as CEOs of Footsie 100 companies as strong role models. No, we’d rather have them with their tits out on the inside page of the best selling newspaper in the country. Why is there still stigma attached to stay at home dads? The women even get the blame for that.
Women are the true powerhouses of the home in the majority of cases yet if they want to use those skills in the workplace they are looked down on, paid less, promoted less and find themselves piled up trying to push through the glass ceiling. “Women can do everything” is the biggest lie we tell ourselves. They can do what they want and as their husbands we should support them and give them the freedom to express themselves as they need to. Equality would be that each household did what was right for them and the government should allow swapping of maternity pay to paternity pay to let stay at home dads the ability to support in the home. It shouldn’t be one or the other.
Gay Rights? Being fought daily across the US to try and counter laws that allow same sex marriage. Mental Health Stigma? Still there, we’re recognised but that’s it. Immigration – political football rather than a serious issue spoken about seriously please without cries of “Racist”.
All of these issues and groups have been recognised. None have truly gained Equality.