Last week I was doing some training. The group were lovely. Really lovely people, all of them working in services. All of them committed to doing the best job they can to support the people they work with. At the end of the 3 days, one of the participants remarked on what a great group of people they were. He went on to say that he keeps meeting really nice people who work in the disability sector AND he keeps hearing all these stories of bad things that happen in services.
He asked the question, 'Where do all the bastards work?'
Today I watched one of the videos that regularly appear on my Facebook page from Upworthy. This particular video had been shared by my friend Heather Anderson, a good woman upon whose instincts and judgements I would stake my life. I was thinking that if she was recommending this video it was definitely worth having a look. Although the talk is given by an actress playing a marketing consultant to the food industry, the facts about the produce and the marketing are 100% real. She talks about the tricks of the marketing trade and then lets us in to the great big secret weapon that marketers rely upon. Turns out that their greatest secret is us and our propensity to simply ignore what we won't or can't face. We just don't think about it. She calls it 'wilful ignorance'
The video articulates our unwillingness to confront the horror of factory farming and to change our behaviours in the face of unspeakable cruelty to the animals who end up on our supermarket shelves. It ends with a damning quote, describing what occurs as 'systemised cruelty on a massive scale, and we only get away with it because we're prepared to look the other way.'
If you changed the context and thought people and not pigs or chickens... and instead of factory farms thought institutions and group homes and day centres...and then asked yourself what you're prepared to turn from and look the other way...
And then later today my friend and colleague Margy Meath shares a post on Facebook...a quote by Jane Addams