We must challenge those who push a zero sum idea about power and equality
30/07/2020 - Sarah Green
Many of the findings in this report are deeply worrying. Most of all, the clear overlap between young men with racist attitudes and sexist/misogynistic views. It is so deeply sad after decades of anti-racist and feminist activism, and social and political change, that a significant proportion of young white men feel they have had something taken away from them – that women and ethnic minorities gaining more freedom and equality must mean they lose out.
These changes don’t have to be perceived or experienced this way. HOPE not hate charitable trust’s analysis that online misogyny and men’s rights are working as a “slip road” to the far right is chilling but totally credible – racists have always resorted to traditional ideas about masculinity and order as their vision and rallying call.
There are findings that are very welcome in this research too, including more progressive views on LGBT rights, and a large majority rejection of many racist ideas, sexist ideas and sexual harassment by the majority of young people. This gives hope, because these are the likely influencers, in time, of their discontented peers.
We should challenge those who push this zero-sum idea about power and equality head on, because when this sense of frustrated entitlement to supremacy is not tackled it can cause real harm in real life, with women of colour most likely to be on the receiving end.
We need Government policy around online harms to seriously step up and stop deferring to the big media companies; and we need those companies themselves to put their policies where their progressive-looking brand values are and take concerted action on hate on their platforms.
We urge all those influencers with strong followings among young people, and frontline professionals working with young people, to make naming and tackling these views a central part of their mission.