No, thank you

There was a very interesting article on the News just now. Leicester is pretty much slap bang in the middle of England, It has a large proportion of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority residents (BAME). It also got hit quite badly by COVID. They were one of the first hotspots way back last summer, and they never really calmed down.

Now that the vaccine has arrived, they’re starting to see an interesting statistic. Uptake among White residents is high – it is high pretty much everywhere in the UK. However, uptake in the BAME population is significantly lower.

Okay, some of us could maybe put that down to education. BAME people do not understand the benefits of the vaccine in the same way that White people do. But this argument is nonsense because they also surveyed the sectors in which people worked, and BAME *doctors* were also a very low uptake. I’d have thought a doctor would be savvier about the benefits of the COVID vaccine than most, wouldn’t you? And yet they still refuse the vaccine.

Where there was a correlation, however, was in trust. As in, how much these people trust the system.

It’s funny, because we have people who quite eloquently, and very vocally, point out how BAME people are treated differently to Whites. From what I have seen, everything they say is true. And it is only 10 years since our government was found out – trying to forcibly repatriate people back to the Carribean, because they didn’t have the correct documentation, which they had never been given in the first place. Hard-nosed politicians seem to have, for years, felt that they can take these steps with impunity, they could do whatever they want without repercussions. But I wonder whether what we are seeing is the payback?

Speaking Your Mind

I saw a post fly past last night by Fandango, the subject was a post he had read on freedom of speech / hate speech. He’d commented on a post and been asked some more questions in return.

I’m not sure how best to describe what I thought, but it all felt a bit skewed, as though questions were not even on the same playing field. That description, in itself, probably sounds daft, so it is probably best that I jump in and provide my own answers to those same questions. Maybe in that way I can at least illustrate what I mean.

What do you consider “hate speech?” When can something be described as inciting violence?

What do I consider…? Hang on. Straight away I’m being asked for my opinion. In the UK, at least, it isn’t an opinion. Our parliament has helpfully described several types of hate crime – discriminating against a person on the basis of their race etc. So, all of our police forces work to that common definition, and happily publish it. Those are the consistent standards.

It is also a sufficiently-accepted definition that it appears in dictionaries, even, for example the Encyclopaedia Britannica or the Cambridge English Dictionary.

Even the USA has a standard definition, which will be used in a court, provided courtesy of the FBI. So, another reasonable answer to the question of what do you consider to be hate speech? would be the same as the FBI.

There’s very little wriggle-room, here – these are pretty standard definitions – Feel free to disagree with it if you like, but it’ll land you in court.

So, the reason I thought that question was skewed is because it is soliciting an opinion, on something which is already defined. It is like saying “what is your opinion of the sky?” It doesn’t make sense.

Do you see the Terms and Conditions as black and white rules, or with a lot of gray area?

They are a contract. Like any other contract, the amount of grey area depends how well-written it is.

That there will be a large variation, because contracts are written to different standards… well, isn’t that par for the course?

Do you yourself block others? Why/why not?

Of course. Because I have Terms of Service, too, although I don’t tend to label them as such. But why would my site be any different to another site which invites user-participation?

Why is it that you limit your social media use to only WP?

I’ll miss this one because I don’t really understand the relevance. Maybe Fandango provoked it by something he said in his comment. But either way, the platform we use is not relevant to our general freedom of speech.


Do you see now why I thought it was skewed? It’s really that “hate speech is an opinion” thing. It isn’t. As a result, possibly a lot of things which appear obvious to me are not so obvious to others?

The Bottom Line

Did you ever find yourself watching an interview on TV and just end up wishing that the interviewer would cut to the chase?

During the pandemic, we have had some politicians advocating opening all businesses and shops again. In effect, to take the virus on the chin, but to keep on making money. Trump over in the US was probably the loudest exponent of this theory, but we had them too and I suspect everywhere did.

And I’d watch them dancing around on TV, all the while wanting the interviewer to ask, how many deaths are acceptable here? Because we all know that the virus can be fatal, but any answer other than zero here is not really acceptable. Not for somebody seeking re-election.

You know, all that faffing around, but there is a clear, incisive question at the end of it which, if asked, would force people’s hand.

I felt a bit like that the other day. I happened to be chatting to a teacher, who was bemoaning how sad it was that children were losing so much by not being schooled. I agreed with them, but the bottom line, if I had to choose between somebody’s education being disrupted for a year, and somebody’s life, it’s a no-brainer.

Retribution

I’ve read a few pretty agitated posts this morning, some of the authors surprised me as I don’t normally think of them as firebrands.

I think the US now needs to decide where its priority lies. Righting the wrongs? or, gaining some revenge against the perpetrators?

It seems prudent that step should be taken to limit Trump’s influence for his remaining few days in office. But beyond that, where is it going to focus its energies? On the old or the new?

Make no mistake – the more important, this is either/or.

As Still As…

I’ve seen a few posts fly past, obviously responses to a prompt, discussing statues. I tracked this back to A Guy Called Bloke’s Weekend Quickie of a few days ago. Since I’d looked it up, the part of the post which interested me was:

What’s your stance on statues […]?

…where Rory is presumably referring to the removal of statues that people find offensive.

I fully agree that many of the subjects of these statues are, indeed, offensive.

But, do you know, my biggest fear on this one is that we will one day have a generation of people who believe that these events did not happen. That something as big as slavery, for example… did not happen. So I think that statues are best left in place, to serve as reminders. Even if they do happen to offend us.

That couldn’t happen, I hear you say. Well, there is a small-but-vocal section who would deny that something like the Holocaust happened. An event where there are still, just about, living memories, not to mention libraries full of evidence.

And, in the UK in the Nineties, we introduced a National Curriculum. Which is, in effect, controlling what pupils learn, centrally. What if, one day, the holocaust-deniers became in charge of the National Curriculum? Would children still learn about Auschwitz? There are already critics in the UK who will tell you that this already happens – that the UK glosses over some of its more inconvenient truths in favour of flag-waving events. A dose of Dunkirk, anyone? But, please don’t mention our role selling arms to the Saudis to use in Yemen.

Again, if you think that could never happen, just look at some of the extremists who have been elected – i.e. gained power by totally fair means – in recent years. Couldn’t it?