By Owais Iqbal
Editor’s note: This is an opinion piece and views expressed in this article are not necessarily reflective of The Beehive’s associated writers.
The human race, in general, does not like change. It’s one of the reasons why so many do not want to move away from the land of their ancestors, even if threatened by constant natural disasters. But it is only by change that we can move forward, both in the technological world but also as better human beings.
The backlash provoked by the BBC announcement that a female actor had been chosen as the thirteenth incarnation of the Doctor, hitherto portrayed by male actors exclusively, was completely unwelcome and wrong. I am excited to see how the Doctor will now be portrayed, and what Jodie Whittaker can bring to the role. Instead of the pessimism displayed on Twitter, and the horrible so-called ‘news’ published by The Mail Online and The Sun, we should all be slightly more optimistic about change, especially when it is for the better. Just two days after Emmeline Pankhurst Day, many misogynistic Twitter accounts despaired that the Doctor simply couldn’t be female, and that a female Doctor deserved to be renamed Nurse Who. In a world where we have an extremely controversial President in Donald Trump, and a female Prime Minister who believes there are specific ‘boy jobs and girl jobs’, a female Doctor that will be such an inspiration to all the young girls– who don’t have many on-screen role models to look towards- is such a welcome invitation to a new, better world where change is better accepted.
The BBC gender pay gap brought to light one of the biggest issues in the broadcasting industry, whilst the race and class pay gaps went unnoticed by the many. The few who did notice this commented on how we must act to eliminate the discriminatory nature of big corporations such as the BBC. Of the 96 names in the BBC list, which accounts for all those working for the BBC and earning at least £150,000 per annum, only 10 were of an ethnic minority and less than a third were women. According to official statistics published in Section 6.6 of this Office for National Statistics report, just fourteen percent of police officers in England and Wales described themselves as BME (Black and Minority Ethnic). When one compares this statistic to the percentage of the whole population, we are brought to shame. The Police UK website states that a whopping forty percent of the force area population described themselves as BME. It may be that we are all wrong and those of BME just do not wish to become police officers, but this means that more should be done to encourage such people to join- especially since there has been a cut of twenty thousand police officers since the Conservative government regained power in 2010 with the help of the self-proclaiming “progressive” Lib Dems. The police force should be representative of the population, which would help the minority ethnic communities find the police force more relatable- which could make them more likely to report a crime.
Note that I do not proclaim that nothing is being done to combat this inequality. The BBC promises that there will be no gender pay gap by 2020. But more can and should be done to change. The Equality and Human Rights Commission conducted a two-year inquiry into the ‘culture of fear’ amongst minority groups in the Metropolitan Police. The EHRC has now agreed objectives with the Met Police to ensure that officers do not fear discrimination at work. Positive work is being done to make our country better, and these same principles of change can be applied not only unilaterally in the UK but universally across the globe.
The Twitter account of a certain President Trump does not help to make the situation any better. His complete ignorance of the significance of his tweets certainly does not give me confidence that he is the man to be trusted to change the United States for the better. Donald Trump has so far shown he is not the flagbearer for world equality. His so-called “Muslim ban” created bigger divisions that were unnecessary and created the outlook that the US is not welcome to immigrants fleeing their war-stricken countries. This, however, is not the case as the US was built upon foreigners settling with their families to make a living, hoping for new opportunities.
The world will not progress if we are unable to change. The 21st century beckons a change in attitudes towards the minority, and this is a change we must all accept as part of life. Now is the time for a better world to develop. Only through change may we do so, and the best place is to start with ourselves. As Michael Jackson once put it, ‘If you wanna make the world a better place / Take a look at yourself, and then make a change’.