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Pride & Prejudice

January 27, 2012

dev·il’s advocate (dᵉv’ᵊlz) n. One who argues against a cause or position, not as a committed opponent but simply for the sake of argument or to determine the validity of the cause or position.

devilsaardvark (a:d’va:k’) n. As devil’s advocate, only with a much larger nose.

This week I found myself facing a conundrum. And I don’t mean in the Rachel Riley sense. For reasons that I can’t really go into fully, I was required to send some personal information to a regulatory body. This, in itself wasn’t the problem. The problem was, and remains, that I was asked to complete an ‘Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form’ in order that the aforementioned regulatory body can treat me “fairly, regardless of […] age, disability, ethnic origin, gender, marital status, religion or sexual orientation.” Now, I don’t know how you feel about this kind of form, but I’m sure you’ve filled a few in in your time. They seem pretty ubiquitous, but we are told that, “Completion of this form will greatly assist […] in undertaking equal opportunities monitoring and complying with good practice.”

What a load of bollocks!

Firstly, it should be reasonably straightforward to work out my gender from my name and, indeed, salutation on the letter/envelope and one could probably make an educated guess as to my ethnicity. But what about all the other stuff and why does it matter? My argument is simple and, perhaps, not all that new. If people are to be treated ‘equally’, 1) those details are irrelevant and 2) anonymity should secure equality because prejudice stems from knowledge. Ok, prejudice stems from ignorance, but look at it this way, it is not until you reveal something about yourself that the potential arises for someone to discriminate. If organisations were working fairly, there would be no need for monitoring forms. They would be pointless. As it stands, all they do is provide the opportunity for figures to be fudged and stats to be skewed.

Without wishing to put too fine a point on it, I would like, nay, I demand that my query/complaint/case (delete as applicable) is dealt with on its merits. I do not want, nay, I demand that my query/complaint/case (delete as applicable) is not considered or thrown out on the basis that I failed to be born under whichever demographic the aforementioned regulatory body has to meet its targets for this month. There is no such thing as positive discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination.

I could just not fill the form in…

…but then I think I might just mark myself down as being a disabled, Chinese, catholic, lesbian dwarf.


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