Okay, I admit it - last week I was well and truly on my soap box when I blogged about Amy. Yesterday, as I considered what to write about this week, it nearly happened again. The most obvious topic I came up with was recent documentaries I have watched about racism. Inside the Klu Klux Klan and Extreme Russia had made my blood boil, and How to Get a Council House had illustrated quite bleakly how some members of the public have fallen for the Right's scaremongering about immigrants.
Naturally, rants on Twitter ensued - and comments on Facebook followed. "Well I went to see Dirty Dancing at the theatre last night. Low brow fun wins every time" quipped my sister after my rage about white supremacy in Russia. "This is why we need Masterchef" noted a friend.
I'm not sure if they were trying to, but they both made a good point. I am guilty of getting caught up in all the woes of the world and getting a cob on when I hear yet another story of ignorance or hate. Whilst it's important, sometimes I need to make myself take a step back from it all. So, I am going to promise myself that for every hour I read or watch something depressing, I'm going to read, watch or do something uplifting. Yesterday I cancelled out all the negativity of the week's TV with a double dose of Come Dine with Me followed by a boogie at a colleague's wedding do. In fact, I boogied so much I reckon I'm in credit for the rest of the week. And I feel better for it, even if dodgy knee is protesting about it today.
That said I'm still going to indulge in a bit of Friends later. Just to be sure...
Happy Sunday all. I hope you are well?
Well, I'm sat in Mama and Papa Berry's front room, inhaling the delights of Mama Berry's beef casserole, and wondering what to blog about today. However, no matter where I try to go with this, my mind keeps returning to the political happenings of the last fortnight or so. I know I'm at risk of saying something that has been said several times already since the attacks in Paris, and I'm guessing some of you are sick of the "Freedom of Speech" debate, but after listening to the ramblings of historian David Starkey on Question Time, seeing Fox News' report on "no-go" Birmingham, and hearing yet another of Farage's rants about immigration, I'm afraid I'm going to have to say my piece.
I 100% support freedom of speech. But with it comes responsibility, something that not everyone exercises. Charlie Hebdo has every right to publish what it wants, but they need to be aware that, by doing so, they might not only alienate a lot of people, but potentially give those who attacked their offices more ammunition when it comes to radicalising young Muslims who are already disenchanted with the world. Starkey can say what he likes about Islam but, by manipulating historical "facts" to illustrate his personal viewpoint, he loses any respect I might have for him - but more worryingly might plant yet another seed of misguided doubt in the minds of viewers who may not fully understand what the religion is about. And, whilst Farage is free to point the finger at immigration as the root of all the UK's problems, by failing to show the population the full picture, he makes immigrants scapegoats to what is a much more complex situation.
There are people in this world who are privileged to be able to say their piece and have thousands - possibly millions - listen to them. This gives them a lot of power - power that can cause harm, increase fractions in our society and see people wrongly blamed - and therefore exorcised - for all our ills.
So there you have it. With rights come responsibility - something that I think some opinionated individuals seem to forget. But we too have a responsibility as the receivers of this information. We need to question arguments and listen far and wide. Because if we don't, we risk letting those who shout the loudest shape our world to fit their beliefs - and not the real needs of our economy, the population and our environment.
Okay - rant over...
Yep, it's Sunday evening and I'm here as usual, blogging away. It's been a busy week, what with my frantic attempts to finish decorating the hall (STILL not quite done) and a visit from Mama and Papa Berry. It was lovely to see them both and show off my new abode to my ma, who had yet to visit, and to my pa, who has only seen it in the light of a decorator.
On Saturday I was treated to a West Show, this time The Lion King. Whilst I was impressed by the singing, dancing and puppetry, I admit I wasn't blown away. As my ma pointed out, the story was a little one-dimensional, but I think it was something else that really bugged me. I couldn't help but wonder how an African would see the Westernized, Disney-fied interpretation of their country. What would they make of the sanitized version of the vibrant outfits I saw when I visited Kenya, or the semi-clad actors and supporting dancers who seem to play to that tired, old stereotype that black people are, like women, little more than sex objects?
I wonder if my discomfort came from a conversation I had earlier that week about the way we describe people from different ethnic groups. Whilst I understand that to the older generation the label "coloured" was once much more acceptable than the term "black", I had to point out that it basically puts anyone who isn't "white" into the same ethnic group - essentially lumping together anyone who isn't Caucasian as the other. Whilst I accept that not all people mean to be derogatory when they use the word, when you look under the surface, it screams of notions of white supremacy. Not pretty.
But then, who am I to judge? In my day job, I spend a lot of time telling people how they should behave and what they should do to improve their lives - people who are often from a different class, ethnic background and generation to me. Whilst my colleagues and I work hard to make a positive difference, I wonder if we always listen to the people we are supposed to be helping - and whether we truly welcome and take on board their views.
So when I attend my evening meeting tomorrow, I'm going to make a conscious effort to really listen to what people are saying - and do my best to ensure that their views are taken into consideration in the follow-up work that we do. I like to think that I already do this. but if I'm brutally honest, I wonder if I'm just kidding myself, and I ask anyone who reads this to let me know if they think that I am - and perhaps to take stock of their own practice and views when dealing with people who are different from themselves.
Here you will find my latest news, including what I have been up to and what I have been writing (and making). Hopefully you'll like what I have to say - and perhaps I will motivate you to get creative too...