Why do people suddenly care about inequality?
Maybe it’s that I exist in my fairly leftie echo chamber, maybe it’s that we’ve never had more time for virtue signalling or maybe we’ve actually woken up.
Having always worked with people experiencing more barriers than me, I’ve had many a holiday overshadowed by unanswered questions. Never happier than when ‘accidentally’ straying into the parts of town that The Rough Guide cites as ‘best avoided’, I always return from a holiday wondering about the socio-economic profile of my destination.
This curiosity is in my DNA. Latterly I’ve sought to articulate the inequalities I see without shouting, accusing and alienating. Dialogue is best.
However, over the years I’ve found myself sitting next to people at smart dinners in denial. They deny that there is true poverty locally, or that children in Norfolk are digitally excluded and can’t get online, or that people are regularly missing meals to pay the rent. If not denied, people are blamed for making ‘poor choices’.
So where has this outpouring of sympathy and even empathy, emerged from? You don’t have to travel to another continent or even another city to witness true poverty – the data of life expectancy, unemployment, homelessness and other life outcomes have always been there.
Suddenly we’re all noticing what been happening all along. And we’re responding. Whether it’s clapping for an NHS that most of our county voted to underfund, outrage at people having to rely on foodbanks or surprise that children don’t have digital devices to access their education.
Literally none of this is new or news. Knowing all of this can anyone be surprised that BAME people are twice as likely to die of Covid19?
I understand however that people are now aware, and I am grateful. This is an opportunity.