We always hear, but “it’s the year x” whenever we argue why bigotry should be eradicated, but for every single year in every era, prejudice and oppression have always been wrong.
2018 has barely started so can we just now agree not to say “but it’s 2018” in response to any kind of bigotry we see, as though somehow this year would magically banish bigotry?
It is a phrase that has been said every single year. “It’s x so why are we still allowing racism?” “it’s x so why is this still an issue?” and on and on and on. It’s actually a meaningless phrase, that centres our generation and completely ignores the history of oppression.
Making the year we live in somehow this wondrous time where bigotry shouldn’t exist is a bit of a joke. Bigotry and oppression should never have been allowed to thrive. There’s a lot of historical apologism about, that people weren’t as enlightened back in Tudor times or whatever. But why? We should always have known that queerphobia, ableism, sexism and racism were completely wrong. There is no defending what happened. With time there is usually progress but it shouldn’t be the case. Progress shouldn’t be hinged on white men needing time to come around to the idea that all people are worthy of rights.
“Progress shouldn’t be hinged on white men needing time to come around to the idea that all people are worthy of rights”
Our generation may like to think we’re all above bigotry but it is thriving. Hate crimes have rocketed since Brexit, we still have institutional racism beating at the heart of Britain and the rise of austerity has impacted vulnerable groups disproportionately – particularly disabled people – but this has largely gone ignored. Millennials aren’t better or more enlightened. In fact, a lot of millennials voted for Brexit in the UK and a lot in the US voted for Trump. So given that context, no, in 2018 it is nowhere near a surprise that bigotry is one of the few industries booming.
Stop acting shocked that systems of oppression still exist and hateful acts still happen. It just sounds completely oblivious to what’s been going on for years now. It’s well-meaning, but when so many articles have this seemingly innocent phrase contained within then it does start to grate, because absolutely no marginalised person is shocked at all that these things are happening, nor under any illusion that they won’t continue for decades to come.
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