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Topic - When do you speak up for your values?

Ben Sharp - on 13 Jul 2013
I was reading Malala Yousafzai's UN speach and it got me thinking about values and standing up for them. I always feel in this country if you dare to say you don't appreciate discriminatory views in conversation then you get ostracised and isolated from colleagues/aquaintences for being too up tight and serious. I guess it doesn't seem like much of a price to pay when in some places you just get shot.

It should be easy to have your serious face for serious conversations and your jokey face for the rest of the time but it isn't. Discrimination is rarely open, it's insidious and usually hides behind a joke instead of being soberly expressed. People casually slip little quips into conversation which in isolation seem inocuous but get repeated till they're harmful. Then if you say something you're over-reacting and told to "lighten up".

I always question the point in bothering to bring these things up because most people are so paralysed by a fear of having an argument/discussion that it's pointless. You'd think if someone criticised something you said you'd just defend it but that's not how it works in my experience. People seem to hate finding a point of disagreement and run from it. But if you don't say anything you're tacitly approving of something you despise and adding fuel to a country already smouldering with narrow minded bigotry and discrimination.

Maybe it's a cultural/generational thing. My Gran would go out of her way to disagree with someone but people these days seem quite sensitive to speaking their mind and often just guard any thoughts they have that aren't definitely universally approved. Sometimes it seems that the fear of standing out makes people avoid confrontation and just pretend to be friends with people they don't like (then diss them behind their back obviously). Maybe if you disagree with someone then they just assume you must want to fight them because they're not used to it. Welcome to the Britain I suppose.

I'm not sure what my point was meant to be
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