ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Identity politics is wrong

The BBC has been heavily criticised recently for deciding to sack the BAFTA-award winning comedian Jon Holmes, who happens to be a white man. He has worked on the Radio 4 programme, “The Now Show”, for eighteen years when he was told that the BBC wanted more diversity in the form of more women and ethnic minorities being involved in radio.

This is nothing less than racism and sexism against John Holmes. Racism is not just against those who are non-white and likewise sexism is not against those who are female. It is a complete disgrace that the BBC actively engages in identity politics – believing that a person’s identity is far more important than their merit. This move from the BBC is also counter-productive as evidently the person who replaces him will be known for simply being able to tick-box diversity as opposed to being there on her merits. It will be insulting for the person that eventually gets the job knowing that the BBC viewed them as sum of their disadvantages as opposed to their abilities, talents and skill.

Actions like these are as a result of political correctness, and one element of that is for organisations to be seen as inclusive even if this mean having policies and taking action that is discriminatory. The ends do not justify the means as it shows the BBC are willing to engage in political tactics for the sake of their PR. I welcome the fact that this move has essentially backfired for them as now the BBC cannot be trusted to treat everyone the same – irrespective of their personal characteristics. If the BBC truly did defend the values of equality, everyone would be judged by the same standards with no concessions made for those who come from “disadvantaged” backgrounds or having brownie points of being of the “right” gender or race.

The BBC have demonstrated that they do not believe women and ethnic minorities are apply to compete for their jobs in the same way that their white and male applicants can. This sets a culture of low expectations which if left unchecked would just lead to reduced standards across the board for the BBC. No wonder people are calling for the privatisation of the BBC and the TV licence to be scrapped.

The best people should always get the job and their gender or race or anything else that is irrelevant should not be taken into consideration. Organisations such as the BBC need to stop being so obsessed with diversity and focus on actually maintaining high standards, in this case the quality of the content that is being broadcasted. It is a true shame what happened to Holmes, but I fear that this kind of behaviour is only getting worse with people talking about the “lack of women” in politics and STEM or the “lack of ethnic minorities” in banking or law.

Identity politics should never be the focus of recruitment in any sector, nor should companies and organisations actively try to seek an increase in a certain type of people. I believe in treating people as individuals and seeing people beyond their race and gender. Individuals have so much more to offer and it is not right to type-cast people in this way. The only form of discrimination I support for job recruitment is that of discrimination based on merit and nothing else.

Elrica Degrimen
(Image courtesy of the BBC)

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