LISA GALEA HAS “SOMETHING TO SAY” ABOUT THE FAST CULTURAL CHANGES TAKING PLACE AND HOW THEY ARE AFFECTING SOCIETY
Today we are hostage to various words, politically correct, racist, sexist. However when is one to judge whether the fine line of reason and abuse is being crossed? Probably my article will not end with an answer however I dare say, I’d like to ponder on some points and hopefully have logical feedback, not the usual hurl of insults one gets when people do not agree with his/her opinion. (as cyber communication has become of an abusive nature).
A change in the world order’s social mindset began with Martin Luther King who brought about the racial revolution in the 1960s. In the next decade Judy Chicago brought about the feminist artistic revolution in 1972. Her creation ‘Dinner Party’ at the Brooklyn Museum is a tribute to women. The 1960s and 1970s also brought about the gay liberation movement which was active at promoting the idea of ‘coming out’ about one’s personal sexual orientation. The 1960s and 70s mark a great revolution of thought and attitude to social dictat.
However good and positive these events were, did they enrich or enslave society into stereotypes? Should I know a friend of mine is gay? Is it my business? I do not think so, or so was my reaction when an acquaintance of mine pointed out that a very good friend of mine of many years was gay. I simply thought “so, is that meant to be my business? It is a personal matter.” There is not always a need to state one’s race because various races have marked facial or skin characteristics which make them identifiable, however should a person’s sexuality be of interest to me personally? Yes, if I am part of a curious village community, but no, if I make no distinction or it does not bother me.
Today, I am not certain whether the revolutions actually were positive or not to world order. The reason is simple: certain ‘types’ (without the intention of being incorrect) are now singled out, ghettoed and this makes mingling in the crowd more difficult. Being singled out at times makes people auto-marginalise themselves and this breeds resentment and hate. A typical example of this in Malta is class hate, dawk tal-pepe, dak-hamallu etc. it is extended to dak l-imcaqqlaq, dak l-iswed, and the most traditional one dik mara …[they are snobs, they are low class, that one is queer, that black guy, she’s a woman].
A couple of months ago I read an article which made reference to an airline in South Africa which was specifically asking to recruit coloured candidates. I asked myself, is that not racist too? Yet if a Caucasian uses this argument would he be taken seriously? Why are the BMAs acceptable? Are they not Black Music Awards? In a way are they not an insult to coloured people, doesn’t the concept ostracise them from the general community? Is it not a selection of musicians which does not include whites?
As much as I can understand both the racial revolution and the gay revolution, I cannot understand Gay Pride. Some say it is a celebration of diversity, I find it makes a mockery of gays; why should a carnival of diversity represent gays? I am sometimes puzzled why the stress on race and diversity is so insistent. The world was different years ago. Not to mention quotas for race or gender, shouldn’t a person be employed or allowed into a university on account of his or her own abilities?
I remember going to school in the 80s, then I lived in Attard, we were surrounded by families originating from various parts of North Africa, whose culture was to hang meat on the roof to dry. The first time I saw it, it looked odd. My mother explained to me that it was a normal practice in certain cultures. They were normal people like us, we never thought they were different. I went to school, a church school and there were various foreigners at our school, some girls were not Roman Catholic, either Protestant or Muslim mainly, and they did not attend religion lessons. It was a request the parents made and was accepted by the nuns, their daughters went to the library instead and had reading hours. Nobody told the nuns in those days that the crucifix was offensive, or complained that religion lessons should not be held; people of different faiths lived together in harmony.
Today we are bombarded by different factions of society to change and change things… remove the crucifix, remove religion lessons or catechism, remove the words mother or father, stop tellilng the stories of the prince who rescues the princess because these stories are gender defined. Cannot a mother and father take offense that their status is now being challenged as much as those who are offended at gender-defined stories? It has become a tug-of-war. I ask, will the Roman Catholic Church be asked not to mention Adam and Eve any more because it is an offensive account from the Bible, defining that all humanity was born from a man and woman, even though in nature that is what happens? We are shot down if we are Roman Catholic by non-believers, by Muslim extremists (I feel I have to distinguish which Muslims) or lax believers. So are we being held to ransom by political correctness? Is this not pushing the levels of tolerance off a cliff either way? Is there a greedy wish for supremacy, control?
I feel compelled to think that political correctness is getting us to the politics of annihilation. Society is keen to destroy everything, it is split to its core and politicians are fuelling this split even more. I am not going to beat around the bush, I agree with the civil unions bill, however am most uncertain about gay adoption. I believe that those that spend a life together should take care of each other both materially and physically and there should be no questions about that.
However, I am concerned that the rights of children up for adoption are now going to become a political football. Why does the gay community want to also penetrate the adoptive sphere in the heterosexual manner as well? There was a loophole in the law so children were already living with gay parents – one was the adoptive parent, the other could be the legal guardian. Children living with gay parents were also procreated in a natural way. A lesbian couple I knew years ago lived with the naturally born daughter of one of them. Is the gay adoption issue really concerned about children coming from troubled backgrounds, which are already labelled by society? Do these children want gay parents? As really, they should be part of the decision being imposed on them by a board of experts for life. Will not gay adoption put them even more in the limelight and open to judgement? Is that good for the well-being of already fragile children; are we not burdening them too much?
I am not yet convinced about gay adoption simply because I think children’s rights are not really at the forefront but that this is actually about two things:
1. The desire to create new family unit types because since gay liberation what is heterosexual has to be also homosexual and
2. Part of the government’s progressive drive and politics of distraction. (meaning: let’s create polemics to diffuse questions about our track record). Besides, there are party electoral promises to stick to.
In this case the politics of annihilation is directed to ‘the family’ as we know it.
IVF has brought about many heated debates, and if certain members of society really understood the ethical concerns regarding IVF they would be far more cautious in their judgement. IVF has made many happy families, however it has also been unsuccessful, brought death to some unborn children and sorrow to families. It has brought about pre-term multiples and has clogged neo-natal ITUs with problems which also carried on during the children’s development. It has also produced large, unprepared families. So IVF per se is a complicated issue for heterosexual couples let alone for other couples such as homosexual ones. Soon, even IVF will become part of this debate where a child will then have four parents. Is that really what we want? There has already been great debate about IVF, where parents are assisted by science to have a long awaited child, which theoretically is a good thing. However, how would IVF in two gay families work? Who will be the rightful parents and how will a divorce affect the child – to which sets of parents will the child go, the biological ones or the extended parents? Perhaps the PM is going to suggest surrogate mothers, always if we can call them “mothers” according to politically correct jargon. So far, the argument of giving a chance to a family no matter what it is has cropped up, as has the argument about whether all heterosexual parents are good parents. It’s a valid question but I would counter argue, why, are all gay parents good?
So in this very confused society which has taken shape over the past decades, I ask myself. Are we annihilating each other, are we dividing the basic idea of society’s unity and aggressively stereotyping each other; is this a war of sexes, genders and beliefs?
I welcomed the idea of co-education simply because over the years I realised that some of the Maltese men I have worked with were resistant to women in the work place. Co-ed should bring up boys and girls to see each other in a non-segregated manner. So far I think the stress on sexual segregation has damaged men and women’s abilities to have good working relations because they have not grown together and been able to understand each other. I remember sexist deriding comments if a woman made a point with men at work and was assertive, when they would say “Oh yes, it must be that time of the month!”. Hopefully, once gender segregation is over, things will change. However having said that, I find quotas or appointing women because of their gender and not capabilities as insulting. Why did Muscat specify that he wanted a woman president? Does that mean our PM is sexist? Why a woman and not a capable person immaterial of gender?
Gender, colour or sexual orientation and religious belief are immaterial. The most extreme case I can think when a religious belief is not immaterial but detrimental to a person’s wellbeing is a case of life and death when Jehovah witnesses refuse blood transfusions. Such a case was also a problem to the Germans until the end of WWII who did not take any transfusions until the post war era, because Nazi propaganda refused to mix Arian blood with non-Arian.
Why has society become touchy and why does it shout down whoever speaks its mind. When the Church expressed itself on divorce I did not agree, but I did not shoot it down, simply because the Church has written rules and sticks to them, and I was free to vote for my option. Its rules are based on certain moral behaviours it would like its faithful to follow. I do not agree either on its views on contraception, but just imagine if its position was the complete opposite, would it not automatically pave the way to a libertine society? There is a very big difference between liberty and being libertine. A libertine society will shed all its morality, and with its morality, so will its ethics fall to shreds, that is why abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are still very hot issues.
Why do spheres of society want approval and want to change guidance which religions impose on their faithful? If you want to be part of the club follow the rules if not just get on with your life and do what you want. Why is the need of approval so important to certain sections of society?
I think at this point the more we push at creating a new society quickly the more damage we are doing long term. Why do children in Bologna need to be thought about hetrosexual and homosexual relationships? Are we not flooding their brains with too many weighty issues? Should it not be their parents who should be taught to accept their orientation and let them come out if that is the way they feel? Why is there this sudden drive to equate everything? Let us have a look at other faiths, are they open to this concept, is there this drive in Muslim countries? Gays would say no because there is persecution. However is this persecution not a result of coming out?
So really where is society heading to, what does it really want? I feel modern day society has a haemorrhage and it now needs to stem the flow. People have to accept each other and not impose. Gender, sexual orientation, skin colour or creed do not need acceptance by others to be considered as relevent in society because it is this need for relevance which is creating a split.
Understanding each other should be mutual however. Our society is moving towards annihilating itself, the fragmentation is clear and it is self-imposed. “Racism, sexism and religious discrimination” are used at times to accuse the traditional Caucasian, family, so I wonder, who really is a minority these days?