Friday 8 March 2013

Yes, actually: *Do* sweat the small stuff

There's an idea going around that we shouldn't be bothered about small things because there are bigger things going on elsewhere in the world that should be of greater concern.  Why should someone care about a nightclub refusing entry to someone wearing the wrong sort of shoes, when there is institutionalised racism, sexism, homophobia, you name it?  Why should someone care about Britain reducing its CO2 emissions, when China is bringing so many coal-fired plants online?

Unfortunately, that is exactly the wrong way to think.

Because the thing is:  well, actually, it's twofold.

Firstly, the "small stuff" is precisely what keeps the "big stuff" going.  It gives your enemies a convenient excuse to carry on with what they are doing, knowing that somebody else in the world is getting away with a less-serious version of the same thing.  After all, what is a flood, other than a lot of little drops of water?  Hell, in China, they probably are using the excuse that London is ten centimetres deep in discarded sweet wrappers as justification for continuing to build more coal-fired power stations.

And secondly, the "small stuff" is by definition, exactly what we are most likely to be in a position actually to be able to do something about right now.  I can also tell you that having successfully convinced even a desperate and failing nightclub to change their door policy will make you feel like .....  well, just pick your favourite character from the history of the struggle against inequality, I wouldn't want to annoy anybody with inappropriate comparisons involving their hero(ine)?.  You will be stoked up with your success, and feel ready and able to take on all the institutionalised discrimination in the world.

If we don't start doing something right now, we'll end up simply accepting "small stuff" as normal.  And all that will achieve will be to make the "big stuff" look proportionately smaller.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, so much yes! Big stuff is just what happens when you add a lot of small stuff together. And individual humans? We're small. But it's okay. There's lots of us. The big stuff? We can chip away at it.