Why we should stop talking about 'tolerance' around Norwich Pride
PUBLISHED: 15:47 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:47 01 August 2019
Nick Conrad questions some of the language used around Pride and takes umbrage at the word 'tolerance'
Norwich Pride celebration on #NorfolkDay epitomises the welcoming county I want to live in. One where we 'accept' not 'tolerate' everyone.
When I initially sat down with the EDP to draw up the idea of #NorfolkDay, I was confident the initiative would be warmly received - but, once again, I'm delighted with how many of you actually got behind our county day. Last Saturday tens of thousands of Norfolkians attended events which incorporated our celebratory theme into their proceedings. Now we need to see tangible results if this new concept is to sustain the interest we've initially garnered.
The government, partially inspired by our efforts, have decreed that every shire should be saluted. I don't wish to be critical, but many have become 'internal' periods of jollification and rather twee. I had higher aspirations for Norfolk. For me, our mark of success is better measured beyond our borders.
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I think we need to redefine Norfolk in the eyes of our fellow countrymen. For too long we've been seen as a backwater, a nice place to visit, but maybe a difficult place to put down roots. The reservation might be predominantly based on access and infrastructure, but what I find most saddening is the handful of urbanites who feel our 'thinking' is too regressive. I disagree with them. I think Norfolk is an accepting and welcoming county.
We are not 'country bumpkins' with bailer twine securing stained trousers, nor are we the 'Turnip Taliban.' But we need to do more to challenge those who drag us back to the dark ages with regressive views. That's why #NorfolkDay this year threw up the most perfect 'collision' of dates. It was so heartening to join the Norwich Pride celebrations on Saturday. This was a loud and proud celebration of our magnificent LGBTQ+ community. I broadcast my BBC Radio Norfolk programme live from Chapelfield Gardens where the revellers had gathered. The warmth expressed was so refreshing.
One individual I interviewed said Norfolk had become a more 'tolerant' county. Though I didn't highlight this during the interview, I take umbrage to that word. It actually means allowing the existence or practice of something that you dislike. It's absolutely the wrong word to use when it comes to promoting a modern accepting, multicultural society. It's not about me 'tolerating' anyone else, it's about openly acknowledging everyone's right to coexist in a harmonious community.
So for me #NorfolkDay is about embracing change and presenting the new forward thinking face of our county. It is a day to celebrate everything that's wonderful and unique about Norfolk and ensure the welcome signs are up for one and all.
Are you a Norfolkian who doesn't like 'foreigners?' Do you quip that you'd love to keep outsiders out by pulling up the drawbridge on a large medieval wall erected along our county borders? For those who utter these silly sentiments...go jump in the moat!