Monday, 20 April 2009

Just because it's for a good cause doesn't justify discrimination

I am disgusted by sex discrimination. It seems bizarre that it still exists. I can't understand why, for example, anyone would want to be a member of a club or organization that excludes half the population. No one has ever invited me to be a freemason, but if anyone did, I would tell them where to stick their initiation rituals. I couldn't imagine joining such a male-only group (though I admit this isn't the only reason I have my doubts about the masons).

Apologists will say, yes, but look at all the money freemasonary raises for good causes. This is the hoary old 'the end justifies the means' argument - and it doesn't wash. There's no connection between fund-raising and exclusion.

Just imagine a group of friends and I decided to raise some money for the DEC's latest appeal, and a female friend comments 'Oh, I know what I can do this weekend...' only to be interrupted and told 'Sorry, you can't!' She would probably reply: 'Why not?' to be told: 'Because only men can raise money in this appeal. This is a man's thing.' She would rightly laugh them all the way to the collecting tin.

So it's with some sadness that I have to criticize the Race for Life. At the moment our local radio station is bombarded with ads telling us all to pull together and join the Race for Life to raise money for charity. As long as we're women. I'm sorry - it works both ways. This is just as ridiculous as my hypothetical 'only men can raise money in this appeal.'

I'm surprised (and, frankly, appalled) that the authorities tasked with policing sex discrimination let them get away with it. There is no justification for it, except to reinforce the old stereotypes that only women can be caring and supportive.

I'm not suggesting anyone pulls out of Race for Life, or refuses to sponsor participants. The money is going to Cancer Research UK, a charity that should get all the money it can - but I do think the organizers of Race for Life should drop their appalling sexism, and if they don't voluntarily, they should be forced to do so.

16 comments:

  1. Yes, Brian, but the fact is that the Race for Life is all about breast cancer, which tends to affect women more than men. I don't think that telling the tumours to be less discriminatory will help. Mrs Cromercrox and Cromercrox Minor are running - care to make a donation? (shakes tin irritatingly under nose).

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  2. It used to be about breast cancer, Henry, but now it's just for cancer in general. But even in the old days it's still not a great argument that because more of the sufferers are women then the fundraisers ought to be too. If you followed that argument, only animals would raise money for the RSPCA.

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  3. Our local breast cancer walk is mostly for women, but some men do participate. Breast cancer patients have fathers, husbands, sons and brothers...

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  4. Yes it's completely sexist, and it runs far deeper than the event. Do a search on CRUK's website for pages mentioning women, woman, female, girl, etc and compare the number of results with men, man, male, boy, etc.

    This is why more men are killed by male-only cancers than women by female-only cancers - the majority of the research spend, and indeed the awareness promotion through Race for Life, is on women.

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  5. What a great post. Nice to see people have the courage to speak out against all forms of discrimination. Just because it is a good cause doesn't mean they should be get away with such things - if anything they should be held to a higher standard.

    Cancer research promote Race For Life so heavily it's beyond belief - it really is the only event they care about:

    They run TV ads, radio ads, Ads in newspaper covering the entire front and back pages!, ads all over supermarkets, even on packets of breakfast cereal. It is 100% sexist, very harmful and needs to stop now!

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  6. Good article, of course you'll now be bombarded with guilt trips for pointing it out. I'm currently saying the same thing on CRUK's website, this was my last post there;

    Some people cannot see clear discrimination when it's in front of them, screaming at their faces, so I'm going to attempt to make the ignorant people understand just how insulting and patronising they are.

    Picture the scene, you pick up your mail, in amongst your letters is a big bright letter, on the front it says "Will you join the fight?", the envelope is white. You open the envelope to find a letter, a little badge of a burning cross (pink ribbon), and a white pen (pink pen). You then read the letter, on top of the letter in big letters is "JOIN THE FIGHT FOR WHITE PEOPLE'S (WOMEN'S) SURVIVAL", and within the letter is a story from a white person telling their sad tale about how a white relative of theirs has died of cancer, and that they themselves have survived cancer. They then go on to express concern for other white victims, just like themselves, and ask you for money to support these white victims, and also ask you to don your burning cross badge (pink ribbon) to show that you support the fight for white people's (women's) survival.

    Now obviously that would be insulting, but wait, I'm not even at the most disgusting, and most despicable part yet, oh no, that comes later when someone raises the issue of the clear-cut, cast-iron discrimination and racism that's on show, and it goes like this, someone who is black would call it for the racist, insulting, degrading behaviour that it clearly is, and they would be met with the following;
    "Get off your high horse, it clearly states in the smallest of small print that black people will also be helped with the money raised, so stop trying to say our campaign is racist, it's not about agendas, as long as money is raised it shouldn't matter, should it?"
    Or
    "If you have such a problem with it, why not start your own black-only charity?"
    Or
    "Why do you have such a problem with people trying to fight cancer?"
    Or
    "Yes, there are 240 Race For (white people's) Life races that you're not allowed to participate in due to your skin colour, but you have one single event for blacks, which conveniently raises moeny for a non-colour specific cancer, and it doesn't get the coverage that RFL gets, so what are you complaining about?"

    Patronising guilt trip, after patronising guilt trip, all to cover the clear-cut case of discrimination on CRUK's part, it is nothing short of disgraceful.

    http://www.cancerchat.org.uk/clearspacex/message/10445#10445

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  7. I have been campaigning against the blatant sex discrimination of Race for Life ever since my daughter died, in August 2001.

    The current situation is that I am expecting a phone call tomorrow, 15th November 09,from CRUK, regarding some 5K 'Family Fund Raising events' being launched next year to overcome the sex discrimination of Race for Life.

    Hopefully, there will be, eventually, the same number of events throughout the UK as Race for Life's - 240.

    This is the best compromise I could achieve - alas, there was insufficient demand, from males,to participate in Run for Moore.
    according to CRUK,more information can be found on Facebook - Cancer Research UK Race for Life Discussion Board under the heading: CHAPTER TWO - WHAT SHOULD CANCER RESEARCH UK DO?...

    I am the John Taylor, mentioned in the opening remarks re this topic, in Wikipedia

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  8. Of course Race for Life isn't sexist - haven't you read in the FAQ: "We restrict entry to women due to the wishes of our participants."

    Just like the BNP isn't racist - they only DON'T allow non-whites into their party due to the wishes of their participants!

    Alas... The feminazis are winning.

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  9. Alas, seem to have stirred up an hornet's nest with the article below - but not has bad as when Salman Rushdie wrote the Satanic Verses...


    http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/archive/2010/07/28/Local+news+%28gh_local_news%29/8296311.Heart_attack_victim_John_Taylor_backs_Pulse_Appeal/

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  10. John, I can't see what there is about that article that would stir up a hornet's nest. (Nor for that matter what it has to do with Race for Life.) Could you clarify?

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  11. Hi Brian,
    alas, 'tis human to err...

    This is the correct link...Has attracted thirty (30) comments todate...

    http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/8324139.Equality_campaigner_in_Race_for_Life_sexism_claim/

    Best wishes...
    John...

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  12. Thanks, John, that makes more sense!

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  13. Hi Brian,
    Pleased my previous post made more sense than the link (about my heart attack experience). That was one of the reasons why RFL has been on the back burner awhile.
    Did you note the important message re it being possible to have an heart attack - 36 hours after being given the all clear after being checked out on an ECG machine etc?
    For ease of reference, here is the link again:
    http://www.gazetteherald.co.uk/news/8296311.Heart_attack_victim_John_Taylor_backs_Pulse_Appeal/

    Best wishes,

    John

    PS: Am wondering if you have considered making a comment further to the report in York Press - Race for Life? One would be appreciated

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  14. Great article, however:

    "I'm not suggesting anyone pulls out of Race for Life, or refuses to sponsor participants. "

    Don't you see that this is EXACTLY what people need to do in order to get people to wake up and take notice?

    I have refused several RFL participants of sponsor money, and explained to them exactly why each time. Most at least say they agree with me... just, not enough to drop out of RFL.

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  15. Jon, I understand why you are saying that, but for me raising money for charity is even more important than equal rights.

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  16. Brian - regardless of which is more important the fact is there are plenty of other decent cancer charities out there.

    Therefore any boycott of CRUK that the posters above suggest is perfectly possible here and to be encouraged. The key proviso is that people need to commit to raising and donating the same money (and more) for cancer charities with a genuine concern for equal rights.

    i think this is exactly what's starting to happen anyway. I've read of so many cases now of people cancelling their CRUK direct debits after finding out about the Race for Life's sexism and instead donating to other causes.

    Anyway thanks for speaking out on such an important issue. Your'e a far braver and more principled person than most people we see in the media.

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