An exercise in first person character responses to an unspecified question along the lines of "what's it all about?"

What Pip says...

It’s very interesting that you want to know.  I think it’s entirely commendable that you ask such a thing. Especially now, in the current climate.  I think it’s every individual’s responsibility to ask themselves this kind of thing as often as they can, so we can continue to grow as a collective of well-informed human beings, ever-conscious to changing attitudes and the dangers of narrow-minded prejudices.  There’s nothing worse, is there, than inappropriate opinion?  Especially when it’s based on selfish ideals, or simply born from a lack of education.  I try to make a point of considering all minorities before committing to any new vox pop.  I mean there’s nothing worse than being obdurate or dogmatic just to suit one’s needs, is there?  Especially now, after 9/11…

This time last year, for example, you’d have found me quite happy to be shopping at Gucci or Prada, but I was a lot younger then and much more easily influenced by trendy magazines and clever advertising.  Then I read an article in Marie Clare about consumer elitism that changed my life.  And now you’re equally likely to find me in Gap, or French Connection, because I’m not going to be one of these women who competes with other women through clothes alone.  I’m past all that, and I just wish other people would feel the same.  To quote Christina Aguilera:  “I am beautiful, no matter what you say”, and once you come to realise the truth in this then it’s a very empowering mantra!  You don’t need to spend a thousand pounds on a trouser suit to make people respect you – respect is earned, not given.  Plus it’s very insulting to those who could never afford such things.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a gold card to my name, because when less affluent people, with just as much right to an opinion, see that I live like that, then it’s harder for me to persuade them that I’m a decent person.  In a way we are promoting prejudice by allowing them to visualise the idea of inverted snobbery.  Which I personally find very hard to live with.  I’d much prefer it if these stores operated a pay-what-you-can-afford scheme.  That way we can all look good and there’d be less division.

More or less, though, I feel that we are headed in the right direction.  It’s very rare these days to come across any form of blatant bigotry that isn’t dealt with as it should be – with abhorrence and absolute distaste.  There really is no excuse to stare at a “wheelchair user” any more, for example, because everyone knows it’s wrong.  Black, White, Asian, Muslim, no one is exempt from the responsibility of being politically aware, and that’s a step forward.  You have to teach intolerance don’t you?  It’s a case of nurture not nature, and I think most good schools these days come down very heavily on any mode of abuse.  Which only bodes well for future generations, doesn’t it?  When I was at school I remember bullying a little Indian girl, and I was positively encouraged by my peers and my teachers, because back in the 80’s it wasn’t “cool” to be Indian; people didn’t understand about Saris, or curries or Bollywood.  But now these things are a part of our everyday culture and they are cool suddenly.  We as adults understand what it means to be Indian, so it’s much easier to pass on this knowledge to our children.  And we should continue this, of course.  Right now it’s not “cool” to be middle-eastern, because of 9/11.  But I think that’s dangerous!  What we need to do is get inside their culture and learn to understand it, then we might see why terrorism is not the pariah we think it is.  Then we can learn to accept our differences and open a constructive dialogue.  We owe it to one another to do this.

The only thing that really bothers me is when people make a game out of it and try to score points for being more liberal or more enlightened.  Some parties I’ve been to recently have been like that; people sitting around a dinner table, sipping Chablis and trying to catch each other out for not being accurate enough with their terminology.  I don’t like semantics.  I think that the most important thing is what’s in a persons heart.  This is a good time and a good country, and if you believe in positive things only positive things can happen.  You can accuse me of still being naïve if you like, but it’s how I see things.  You have to see the rainbow in every situation.  Yes, it’s a very girlie thing to say, but if you look around it’s becoming a very feminine landscape.  And I don’t mean in a big hairy dyke way – I mean feminine in the sense of strong individual women who know what they want:   cheaper shoes and less bullets.  How’s that?

The End

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