Why does it take a tragedy?

Ben Hutchins discusses why our approach to societals ills is failing.

Ben Hutchins
1st April 2021
Image: Tim Dennell on Flickr
First George Floyd, now Sarah Everard. I ask this: Why does it take a tragedy for us to start addressing the core issues within our society?

The death of George Floyd at the hands of an American police officer triggered an international reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement. Vast inequalities were exposed. It united the globe.

Recently, Sarah Everard’s tragic death has had a similar effect. It’s emerged that 97% of young British women have experienced sexual harassment. This has led the public to demand measures ensuring the protection of women on our streets.

Our political representatives need to change the reactionary nature of policy implementation. We’ve slipped into a complacent state. Politicians are waiting until issues arrive at their door before addressing them.

Ultimately, this doesn’t work. Some issues become so ingrained within our society that they become impossible to change. Meanwhile, others won’t give us the chance to react... The nuclear button will only be pressed once.

Let’s expand the legacies of George Floyd and Sarah Everard. Issues relating to race and gender are arguably the ones we’re most aware of. They’re no secret. But they’re also not going away. Let’s not only address our societal issues surrounding race and gender, but our wider culture of ‘pre-tragedy ignorance’.

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