The Blog

Diversity Is a Privilege Not a Right

Multiculturalism and diversity are a privilege. Neither a right, nor a detriment: a goddamned, fight tooth and nail, thank your lucky stars every day for, privilege. Russell Brand was right about one thing: a shift in thinking is required.

My New Year's resolution is to stop being simply 'OK' with things I should be thankful for.

What prompted this was a gay friend (sorry to use your sexuality as some sort of moral bargaining chip Susan) had posted on Facebook a picture of her and her long-term partner just after getting married. I wasn't just chuffed for them. I felt genuinely moved because previously they were two underdogs in love that had to fight for a right that a great deal of us spend a lifetime avoiding.

I'd say during the course of my life when it comes to gay love I've gone from petrified to confused to inquisitive to resolved. Then I got over it and now I don't entirely understand how it was ever my place to "get over" anything. Saying "it's no big deal" when it comes to all aspects of diversity simply isn't enough anymore.

Because diversity and multiculturalism are a big deal, a very big deal. Those that are simply OK or think it's no big deal might vote but they don't necessarily inspire anyone else to. Russell Brand couldn't be more wrong in citing that there's nothing or no one to vote for this year. Surely we all know the difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly mortal enemy.

Having spent two months jumping from continent to continent on my way to Australia where multiculturalism has become just as hot a topic as it is here in the UK, it would seem the apathetic view on such matters is considered leftist. In my previous blog, much to my chagrin, I cited Australians, on the whole, as a "tolerant bunch". Making me want to punch my own article in the face for viewing multiculturalism as an inconvenience to be tolerated as opposed to a privilege.

Yes, multiculturalism and diversity are a privilege. Neither a right, nor a detriment: a goddamned, fight tooth and nail, thank your lucky stars every day for, privilege. Russell Brand was right about one thing: a shift in thinking is required.

We've got to stop viewing what's awesome in this world - people in love wanting to share their lives together, multiculturalism, integration, proper feminism*, as a given. If we feel too entitled to them we stop cherishing them and, as we can plainly see from the last local election, the other side makes great headwinds. Entitlement works for them, not for us.

Look at countries lacking in cultural diversity. They're cute to visit, sure. But on the whole, they suck. And the general public trapped in these environments would be inclined to agree. Try and find somewhere in Moscow where you can get good Vietnamese pho at 1am on a Tuesday then tell me otherwise.

I shudder to think what an Australia without its huge Asian and Greek population would descend into. For starters, as a man who works nights, I'd starve to death. Without the newer influences that truly appreciate what's so special about the country the rest would ruin it in a weekend. Leaving a nation of blue singlets writing expletives on dead wombats in the desert that they've inexplicably managed to run over with a jet ski.

And what fresh hell would the UK be without outside influence? No doubt a tiny rainy island dancing around a maypole in outfits made of handkerchiefs, while pale blue men in skirts throw rocks as far as they can, singing in baritone about a King or some other sort of wizard that they once nearly beat in a war/fistfight. At least for me that is Anglo-Saxon culture in a nutshell. Because all cultures really, upon deeper scrutiny, are primitive. Isn't culture, on the whole, something moronic we do simply because our granddad did?

Without a greater gene pool no culture can ever thrive or evolve. Left to our own we'd be nothing but scratching cavemen yelling at the moon. Repeating the same mistakes, banging two wet rocks together when the tribe two caves down have flint and sulphur. Together we become ideas, a tapestry: a society.

Yes, there are cultures that have no gay rights, no freedom of speech and certain attitudes to women that are utterly deplorable. And no, I'm not talking about Muslims. (Frankly, some of the Muslim dudes I've worked with in the past two months are the most pussy-whipped men I've ever met and could probably do with standing up for themselves a bit more). But do you know what's really lacking in these societies? Cultural diversity.

Check out the companion podcast here.

* You know the one that includes independence and accountability? As opposed to spoiled white girls whining about rocket scientist's shirts on twitter. But that's an entirely different podcast and blog entry.