In the current political climate, we find ourselves in a society lacking in acceptance. Recent events such as the EU referendum, the election of Donald Trump and increasing frequency of terrorist incidents have brought forward divisions within social groups previously seemingly united. Minority groups, ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community and different faith groups, find themselves marginalised, swept away in the undercurrents of an increasingly turbulent socio-political ocean.
This unfortunate regression in our society has highlighted the need for action, both political and social. As a result, groups such as ‘Feel Accepted’, a campaign founded by a group of Sixth Form students, have been formed in order to tackle such issues and make a positive impact on society, helping to reduce the alienation of minorities and increase acceptance within our communities.
Ethnic minorities, despite making up 13% of the UK population in a 2011 census, find themselves at a disadvantage compared to White British peers. Citizens of a minority heritage are found victims of employers, unable to attain a similar standard of job to their counterpart of white British ethnicity, sometimes even when holding better qualifications.
Furthering this, it is harder for ethnic minorities to find employment; with unemployment rates among ethnic minorities double that of white British citizens. This selective, racially charged, environment calls for change as minorities become underutilised within our economy, not to mention belittled and downtrodden.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, ethnic minorities have to further endure relentless everyday racism. Discrimination because of skin colour has become more and more taboo but with the increase of nationalism, catalysed with the EU referendum, the UK has witnessed a rise in white supremacy, hate crimes, and all other vile forms of racism.
Despite government action (with guidance given to schools on how to deal with race based bullying and £2.4 million of funding given to religious institutions as protection), racism remains a well-rooted, belligerent blight that taints our diverse and great nation.
Not only is it ethnic minorities who suffer the consequences of archaic social views. The LGBT community suffer hate at an abominable rate. According to the charity Stonewall, 21% of LGBT people have experienced hate crime as a result of their sexuality, 41% of transgender people experiencing hate because of their identity with 4 in 5 of the LGBT community not reporting suffered hate crimes to the police.
These staggering statistics demonstrate a clear need of a reform in antiquated attitudes of our ever evolving society. Why should people suffer for expressing who they are? Many find themselves trapped in a prison of their identity; persecuted, punished and tyrannised for no reason other than being themselves. This is not just in a modern society.
Likewise, religious groups often feel harassed because of the faith that they practise. Especially since the various terrorist atrocities in recent times, hate crime received by Muslims has spiked nationwide, most prominently in London following the Westminster and London Bridge attacks. Followers of the Islamic faith are subject to hateful comments, threats and physical abuse.
Even Mosques, places of worship and houses of peace, have been attacked and vandalised. This is all as a result of the actions of a spiteful minority who claim to preach the Islamic faith, but have, in fact, been brainwashed by the horrific ideology of Islamic fundamentalism.
For some people, the cause of discrimination can be much more physical than the likes of sexuality or faith. Disabled people are persecuted against and often unable to hide the very thing that is causing the prejudice. Physical disability not only makes employment harder, but also makes the everyday business of life hard.
People staring, sufficient provisions not being made at cinemas, airplanes and other seated venues for wheelchair users, society makes things very difficult for the physically impaired. This is not to mention mental illnesses.
Conditions such as autism and ADHD can make finding employment and thereby independence a very difficult task indeed. It is therefore necessary to combat these issues by raising awareness. The time for discrimination against the physically and mentally impaired is over, as it always should’ve been.
Combatting these attitudes in society is a monumental task. No such thing can be tackled with government policy alone. A shift in public attitude is the key to unlocking greater societal cohesion. The campaign group ‘Feel Accepted’ aims to play a part in reforming these attitudes.
Feel Accepted is a newly formed campaign who aims to increase social acceptance and conditions for minorities. Through raising awareness of the issues faced by minorities, it is hoped that the group can contribute a part in helping people to feel accepted for who they are. Localised in the town of Gosport on the South coast, these students are trying to make a difference both locally and nationally through the medium of social media.
The Facebook page can be found here and the Twitter page here. Diversity should be celebrated, welcomed with open arms. It is not right for the backgrounds of others to be marginalised. It’s time to make this change. Let’s stop staring, and start caring.