There is rarely a time when equality and diversity is not a hot topic in politics, but the term has recently become stigmatised. To some, this term is associated with being too ‘politically correct’. These people believe that the political correctness associated with attempting to achieve equality and diversity puts this term across as nothing more than an attempt to tick boxes during processes like hiring.
Equality and diversity issues continue to plague almost every area of Britain. Whether it is a lack of ethnic minorities and women in high-ranking government offices, or accommodation that does not meet the needs of those who are elderly and disabled, those who live in minority and disadvantaged groups find themselves drawing the short straw in their day-to-day lives. Take travellers for example; as a group in British society who are often looked down on, they find themselves being uprooted from their homes, and paraded in front of the media in a tastelessly voyeuristic manner. Despite this, those who strive to achieve equality and diversity for such groups are often on the receiving end of rolling eyes and comments about being ‘too PC’.
The motivations for individuals pushing against the words equality and diversity tend to vary. While a small number may actually have poor intentions — such as the BNP — others may simply be labouring under naive beliefs. To many, Britain is a society that exists without prejudice. With such beliefs being relatively common, it is no wonder those who promote equality and diversity are perceived as fighting an empty fight.
These beliefs have developed to the extent that certain associations are now seeking to define and reaffirm what equality and diversity means. One such example is the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), a body that has chosen to establish a nine point plan on promoting equality and diversity. This plan includes highlighting why the elderly require further investment, promoting the needs of different faiths and cultures, improving the representation of those who are disabled or a member of the LGBT community.
The fact that such guidelines needs to exist clearly highlights that equality and diversity is not something that everybody takes seriously. As this term is seen as being too politically correct, there is a risk that its existence won’t continue to serve the purpose it was designed for. The more people continue to see equality and diversity as being too PC, the harder it will be to promote the needs of those who need the most support in our society. By redefining and highlighting the needs of those who require more support, it will be easier to ensure that their needs are met, and remove the negative connotations associated with this phrase.