We take it for granted because it seems so glaringly obvious: majority rules. I may belong to a minority (Bangladeshi man, Jewish girlfriend, friends from all races and sexual orientations – no black friend at the moment, there has been and probably will be in the future, but then I don’t collect friends to complete a cultural pack).
But I believe my beliefs put me in the majority bracket: that there are good people and bad people in Great Britain.
Now if you think like me, at this point, you’ll be muttering: “Well, obviouslyâ€¦”. But I think you’ll find our popular thinking, peppered as it is with liberalism, is no longer as powerful as the ones voiced by the minority: the angry, the ignorant, the downright evil.
This seemed depressingly apparent to me last night when I scanned through the (now thankfully deleted) previous post where terms like Nigger, Paki and Yid flew around with gay abandon, as if these terms are still in widespread use.
Now you and I both know that insults such as these are seldom used in day-to-day life by the normal majority. Bbut I wondered what a casual, liberal minded black-skinned observer may have thought when they read the post by an Asian claiming black people were most likely to be muggers, dealers and rapists.
For that one second, he would be put in a position where he had to take sides.
Yet this is a tiny minority who feel this way, but their impact affects all of us. Think that an exaggerated comment?
Consider this. After the 7/7 atrocity, if you sat on a train and saw a bearded Muslim man with a bag and thought, even for a split second, “people like you”, then the minority that caused the tragedy achieved in making you the very thing you hoped never to be: judgemental of people you do not know.
If anyone still believes the actions of minority aren’t the main focus of the populous, pick up the two best selling newspapers The Sun and The Daily Mail.
They’d have you believe there are countless terrorists living next door, asylum seekers are coming in their droves to take your jobs and rape your women, black and Asians are fighting in the streets between selling your children heroin as they walk home from school.
And the government, instead of pointing out it’s a tiny minority who are responsible for the above, are allaying their fears by introducing new terror laws, restrictions on freedom of speech and ID cards, thus fuelling the notion that: yes, it’s not just a sick parrot, soon it’ll be a pandemic. This minor problem is indeed a major issue.
The more I think about it, the more it seems obvious. It’s the minority that always rule, because they can inspire fear. Look at dictator states. Do you think the majority of people under Saddam, Hitler, Kim Il Sung or Mugabe wanted to be under him?
But it happened, because the people like you and I, who believe in equality for all, simply aren’t selfish enough to want everyone to see things our way, or contentious enough to have our obvious, free thinking values make it to the outraged letter pages of The Sun and The Daily Mail.
Our voice, thus, is lost. The one that is heard instead is that of intolerance, prejudice and a call for values to return to the dark ages. And in case you still think the idea that minority rules is a tad farfetched, don’t forget… the majority of people in Britain were opposed to the invasion of Iraq.
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Filed in: Current affairs,Race politics,Religion