That there are forms of behaviour that we’ really like to expend substantial effort in rooting out of society seems obvious enough. None of us are in favour of chattel slavery these days, the grooming of children for sex is – near – universally condemned and so on. There is a slight problem though in the inflation of what is the sort of behaviour we’re willing to expend that substantial effort upon. Some mouthie on a bus shouting that you’re a gobshite is unnerving, unwanted and possibly even hateful behaviour but it’s not something that requires anything more than a shrug of the shoulders and a waved middle finger.
There are those middle cases too, should the trans laughed at on a night bus have the entirety of society leaping to their physical defence? If the attack is physical then yes, obviously, but speech? Is every example of casual classism – you bastard toff you – something that government should intervene to prevent?
Or is there some level of whatever that is just normality knocking at that societal door?
Greater Manchester: 65% of people victims of ‘hateful behaviour’
Well, if the majority of people are victims of it then shouldn’t we be saying that this is part of normality?
Two-thirds of Greater Manchester residents have experienced hateful behaviour on the grounds of characteristics such as race, religion and gender, according to a report commissioned in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bomb.
The report, commissioned by the region’s mayor, Andy Burnham, after the attack last year, asked an independent group of experts to consider how to tackle hateful extremism, social exclusion and radicalisation across Greater Manchester.
And if it’s normality then how much of it needs to be tackled?
Do note again what is being said here. There are undoubtedly behaviours that should be rooted out. The question is though, how wide is that definition going to be? By the time we get to things that 65% of us put up with as a routine matter aren’t we getting close to electing another people who will be worthy of our governors? Or is the complaint that we’ve already done that?