No one really gets excited about Obama anymore. What with the drone strikes and government shut-down and all, this is an understandable notion; all in all he unfortunately hasn’t been the greatest President. I remember the day he was sworn in, I was fifteen and had just started to become interested in the news. So to see the coolest politician I’d ever seen take on the position of Leader of the Free World will be something I’d value for the remainder of my days.
Aside from this, there was another sentiment that took my mind for a walk. ‘Isn’t it a shame that it has taken this long for a black man to be the President?’ And these days I like to imagine someone in the Oval Office coming from the Middle East. A Middle-Eastern man in the White House? I don’t think I stand alone when I say that to many this seems an absurd idea. Trying to fathom exactly what would need to happen within our collective conscience for this to become a reality has proven an interesting task.
With the furore surrounding the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi, a handful of media outlets across the West have been popularising progress in the realm of sexuality and acceptance. Countries like Russia, Uganda and India have been stigmatised as being backward for such a conservative stance on the rights of LGBT communities, but when we look at our own local communities, how different are our attitudes in the ‘West’, which holds a view that, in this case, sits as the minority.
The anger which met UKIP David Silvester when stating his view that ‘(natural) disasters would accompany the passage of his same-sex marriage bill’ led to his party distancing themselves from their MP. Across the pond, the house of representatives in the state of Kansas passed an anti-gay bill reminiscent of the racial segregation laws of a pre-Martin Luther King world. Whilst only last week, the pre-recorded BBC Three programme ‘Free Speech’ (filmed in Birmingham) cut-out a section where the logistics of reconciling homosexuality with Islam were discussed after the Mosque asked for the question to be dropped. Are we yet at a stage where we have all realised that the dominant sexuality that is heterosexuality is not the ‘right’ one? We’re making some progress yes but the answer is, overall, no, not at all.
A similar perspective can be applied to the field of sexism and feminism. With the proliferation of ‘Lad Culture’ and the ubiquity of ‘Lad Mags’, today we are still constantly surrounded by the exponents of a patriarchal zeitgeist. The fault of this is by no means, as so many try to point out, women (personally I find this primitive sentiment akin to blaming a woman for being raped due to ‘dressing provocatively’). If a bloke sleeps with a woman, he is hailed by his fellow men as a conqueror of vaginas. Yet, if a woman goes and has sex with a few men that she finds attractive she is slammed as a slut. Eyebrows are raised, heads are turned and sexism prevails. A view common among men is that they couldn’t bring themselves to ‘going-out’ with a woman who has sex with as many people as them. I don’t think there could be a finer example of double standards.
From women we move back to those coloured people who speak funny, are taking your jobs, shitting on your economy and raping your wives. These people are commonly known as immigrants, but in other circles are also known as fellow members of the human race. This strand of racism is linked to a warped sort of nationalism that I’ve never really understood because everyone is either a) an immigrant or b) a descendant of one. The amount of times we’ve been told that ‘Pakis’ are only good for curry houses, that ‘chinks’ are only good at frying eggs in rice and that Polish men have a monopoly on the plumbing industry, is ludicrous. Yes someone who was born in another country may well take a job here, just as you can take a job in a country of your choice if you have the means to do so. The media told us that in January of this year the population of Romania would descend upon our sacred British Isles. Using our healthcare and education systems; how dare they? Labelled as ‘benefit tourists’ these foreigners have been identified as the disease bringing our country down, whilst the victims of the sham of a show that is ‘Benefits Street’ have also been cast aside too, into this cauldron of cruelty.
These are the facts. According to a study conducted by Oxfam, in the UK the top five families hold as much wealth as the country’s poorest twenty percent. Whilst on a global scale, the richest 1% people hold as much wealth (c. $110 trillion) as the poorest half of the world population (3.5 billion people). So, instead of condemning men loving other men, women loving other women, women being free to have sex with whomever they desire and our friends from overseas looking for a better and more enjoyable life, condemn those behind facts like this. It is with this mind-set that we’ll move forward. We’re currently in a world where capitalism now colours every country and those who don’t make the cut or fit the image are marginalised. So let’s blame ourselves and admit that Uncle Sam’s idea is not the best for all involved. Think also about who you’re discriminating against. Those claiming benefits would much rather not be, and these people are not pissing on your beloved country. The people that received a one trillion dollar state-funded stimulus package in order to make up for their mistakes were not condemned anywhere near the extent to which those on Benefit Street have ever been. Change was the word that took Barack Obama into office, and I hope it takes men and women of every ethnicity and sexuality into the Oval Office as well as every other leading office around the world.