If in the Name of Equality…

Do you sometimes come across something in the news that you get a bit miffed about but you don’t like to say anything because you know that your views might offend some people? Do you really enjoy free and open debate, even on the thorniest of subjects like politics and religion, but find that it’s increasingly difficult to avoid the minefields planted in the name of political correctness?

I find myself miffed this morning and I’m hesitant about saying anything in case I inadvertently offend someone but, if I don’t say something, it will irritate me all day so here goes.

I love inspiring words! You know the sort, they just uplift everyone, they are not specific or targeted, you don’t have to have suffered to be able to relate, they were just written to motivate. One of my favourite examples is IF by Rudyard Kipling, you know the one, it goes like this:

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise……
I suppose, if you want to be picky, you could say that the last line ‘And you shall be a man my son’ is sexist but you’d have to be pretty bloody picky after reading all the lines that preceed it.
Anyway, these words were painted on a wall in a Manchester University, I assume to act as inspiration for the students. However, they have now been painted over and replaced by the words of Maya Angelou. Why? Well, some of the students decided that Rudyard Kipling “stands for the ‘opposite of liberation, empowerment and human rights’.”
Kipling died in 1936 so he doesn’t ‘stand’ for anything if we’re going to be pedantic about it but isn’t it his words that are important and not the fact that the opinions that he may or may not have held (that point is debatable) are not ‘acceptable’ in today’s (100 years later) society?
That aside, the students claimed that it was their job to “uphold our principles of inclusivity, fairness and empowerment”. Ok, fair enough, so what did they replace ‘If’ with? Another poem that would be an inspiration to others regardless of their faith, colour or creed? No. They replaced it with a poem about people of colour breaking the bonds of slavery; both literally and metaphorically.
Now, while I would agree that we can all take something from this work as it is powerful and beautifully written, it is not inclusive.
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
These are not words that will resonate with everyone because the vast majority of us can have no concept of what it is to be enslaved but they were written over words that all of us can relate to in the name of ‘inclusivity and fairness’; frankly I do wonder at the irony…….
Is it wrong to think this way? Have I reached an age where I am out of touch with ‘modern’ sensibilities or has political correctness trapped us to a point where we are afraid of critical thinking?
What do you think? Agree or not, I’d love to hear from you.
Lisa x

  21 comments for “If in the Name of Equality…

  1. blindzanygirl
    July 19, 2018 at 8:51 am

    I ABSOLUTELY agree with you. And thankyou for pisting that poem “If”. I have not read it in a long time, and actually it HElPED me this morning to read it. Gave me new courage. Now, the other one did not do a thing for me. I don’t relate to it at all. And yes, about political correctness. One year, some of us were sat talking about some subject or other in our parish hall, and someone mentioned the fairy on the top of the Christmas tree. Then someone else said something sbout these politically incorrect words. Our priest piped up, quick as a flash, “What – Christmas or fairy?” And so now I too may have been politically incorrect for revealing my religion! I sometimes think you can hardly talk at all! Great post Lisa

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 19, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the poem and that it gave you courage today 😊 I agree these days you need to think very carefully before you think. Thanks so much for you kind comment xx

      Liked by 2 people

      • blindzanygirl
        July 19, 2018 at 6:41 pm

        You are welcome

        Liked by 1 person

  2. July 19, 2018 at 10:24 am

    IF by Rudyard Kipling is my favourite too!
    Loved the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. July 19, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Here’s my take on things as they stand in today’s wacky society: We are being enslaved by political correctness! We must drag the ball and chain of PC with us at all times, or risk the wrath of the haughty PC police. Sad but true.
    –Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  4. July 19, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    I think you’re brave to express your opinion here – which, I must admit, I agree with. If we know that in decades/centuries future, our wise words will be discounted because they aren’t “relevant” to the next century… well, I don’t want to live in that future.
    But wait. Do I, already? ;-0

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 20, 2018 at 5:35 am

      THanks so much for your comment 😊 you’re right, it’s a shame that so much good writing could be lost x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. July 20, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I think without digging in too deep to the politics of it (I dug in a bit before responding, read a couple of articles) I think I have to agree with the MU decision. Although you can’t discount the works of Kipling he was an imperialist and a racist and maybe even, as George Orwell called him, ““morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting.” The staff at MU isn’t saying that Kipling’s books shouldn’t be read or that his words should be erased from existence, but that the entrance to the student’s union isn’t the place to exonerate a man of his base nature. Is Angelou the right choice for replacement? Maybe it is an over-correction, but in this day and age we might just need a little bit of over-correction to some of history’s most ignoble acts and times.

    I respect the opinion to the contrary but am afraid, in this case, I disagree. I side with Manchester U. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 20, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      That’s ok – it would be a boring world if we all thought the same way 😊 xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 20, 2018 at 4:09 pm

        Agreed. And sometimes I don’t even think the same way from one day to the next. Ask me again tomorrow. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 20, 2018 at 5:05 pm

        I know what you mean 😊 I actually did read about Kipling before I posted the article but it didn’t change my perspective. I can’t see how someone can use the excuse of wanting to be inclusive as a reason for doing something when the result is that people are excluded – the whole thing seemed really hypocritical to me. I get that Kipling may have been a racist but I don’t think it’s fair to use that when the guy died 80 years ago and therefore can defend himself it confirm or deny his beliefs. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 20, 2018 at 5:07 pm

        Fair enough. You’ve changed my mind. The faculty should have checked with the students and come up with a better solution, or kept what was there. Good counter. 👍

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 20, 2018 at 6:02 pm

        Blimey I didn’t expect that! Thanks Tom 😊😘

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 20, 2018 at 7:50 pm

        I try to keep an open mind. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • July 20, 2018 at 9:09 pm

        That’s a great way to be 😊 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  6. July 20, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Love that poem by Kipling!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. July 21, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Great well and agree the way you have penned

    Liked by 1 person

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