“Equality does not operate on behalf of any one section of our society” said Dr Michael Wardlow, “We need those in leadership positions to show a more positive example.”
“The urgency of changing the old behaviours which perpetuate prejudice and division in our society has been graphically displayed this week, where we have seen equality issues referred to by public figures in terms which are both inappropriate and damaging to good relations within our community,” Dr. Michael Wardlow, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission said.
“It needs to be borne in mind that a key underlying principle of our equality legislation is that it does not belong to, nor does it operate on behalf of any one section of our society,” Dr. Wardlow said. “All people are entitled to equal respect and the persistence of inequalities for any section of our society diminishes us all. That is the ethos which underlies equality legislation and on which the Equality Commission operates.”
“We cannot value the right to free expression only in terms of our own identity and beliefs. If we are to create a public consensus which promotes an appreciation of the diversity of our society and challenges all expressions of prejudice and hostility based on negative stereotypes, we need those in leadership positions to show a more positive example.”