06 Mar “KNOW YOUR ROLE, AND SHUT YOUR MOUTH”
“KNOW YOUR ROLE, AND SHUT YOUR MOUTH”
This phrase reverberated around the world was made famous by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in the late 90s. However, does this playful shut down now reflect the attitude of those looking to shut down any form of discourse?
A difference of opinion is beginning to cause offence, sometimes maybe outrage. The very ideals we in the West so gleefully brag about; democracy, free speech blah blah blah; now are nothing more than buzzwords. To some, expressions to make themselves feel more progressive. Perhaps that statement is slight hyperbole? But a few recent examples are indicative of this growing trend.
LAURA INGRAHAM VS LEBRON JAMES
Notwithstanding her prevalent, dismissive and condescending tone; it is important to critique her reasons for disregarding Lebron James and Kevin Durant’s feelings towards American President Donald Trump. Laura implies Lebron’s lack of a college education disqualifies him from being able to discuss politics.
She doesn’t mention his philanthropy, which includes spending $41 Million to send over 1,000 kids to college. She glosses over his business acumen that outside of basketball has seen him become one of the most successful businessmen in the world. All this success stemming from a young black male, born out of a teenage single mother home, is that not what we are to believe the American dream is about? Is the very first amendment not the right of speech?
Laura does not even address any of the points Lebron makes, but merely tries to discredit them with a weird racially insensitive attack on his character. And Why? Because the perspective of Trump he offers is different to hers.
AMANDA RENDELL VS STORMZY
This debate is a lot closer to home. Amanda Rendell took an issue with Stormzy’s real name Michael Omari, much publicized Brit Awards performance, where he questioned the government’s proactivity in dealing with the Grenfell Tower fire last year. In doing so, Stormzy somehow became ungrateful according to Amanda Platell. I take great issue with that logic. I struggle to grasp what Amanda is implying. When we put our queries to our local council, are we being ungrateful? When the electorate rejects one Prime Ministerial candidate for another, are people being ungrateful then?
What Stormzy did was ask some very important questions, on a platform a lot of people would not have the opportunity to do so on. He is holding the government accountable for something he believes is a big issue. That national stage allowed his opinion to reach audiences that a debate in a pub, barbershop or his home would not. And that makes him ungrateful? In what democracy I question?
The erosion of discourse is the very thing that these political bullies want. A lack or suppression of dialogue and discussion is more conducive to an environment that wants to predicate an overriding agenda. It is important to not only notice this but to not encourage it.
The belief that because an individual has managed to uplift themselves from their challenging upbringing, is no longer applicable to speak on issues concerning the impoverished is wrong. In actuality, in some cases, they are the most qualified. Furthermore, a disparity in educational achievement shouldn’t disqualify discussion. It may compromise the validity of someone’s point, but that does not take away his or her right to voice it.