Today, equality has become such a persuasive and pervasive norm that no government would openly admit that it discriminates on the basis of race. Overt racial discrimination, it appears, is passe. Invidious distinctions based on sex, religion, national origin, and lately even age, are now outlawed in many countries. The PPP GECOM Commissioners have alleged there is racial discrimination in the organisation’s hiring practices.In the implementation of this norm of equality, two concepts have been utilised. Firstly, there has been the standard of equal treatment. Here, individuals equally situated are to be treated equally: the focus is on the individual, and not the group. The decision-maker should be race-blind. In a frequently used analogy, individuals are akin to contestants in a footrace, with the winner being the one who runs the fastest. A meritocracy would be created.The footrace analogy, however, indicates a problem with the “equal treatment” standard, and suggests the second concept — equal opportunity. To extend the analogy, it was pointed out that while everyone might now theoretically be starting from the same point, the legs of some might have been damaged simply because they belong to a particular group. The results would thus be a foregone conclusion. It was considered appropriate, therefore, to sometimes consider the race of an individual to ensure that decisions did not continue to disadvantage a particular race.There have also been two theories of discrimination to assist in the enforcement of equality – “disparate treatment” and “disparate impact”. The former “is the most easily understood type of discrimination. The employer simply treats some people less favourably than others because of their race, colour, sex, religion, or national origin. Proof of discriminatory motive is critical, although it can, in some situations, be inferred from the mere fact of “differences in treatment.”“Adverse impact employment practices are facially neutral in their treatment of different groups, but in fact fall more harshly on one group than another, and cannot be justified by business necessity. Proof of discriminatory motive is not required under a “disparate impact theory.” Nowadays, the phrase “implicit bias” is a substitute expression.In Guyana, the recruitment pattern of the Police Force can illustrate many of the above concepts. After the abolition of slavery, the British recruited first Bajans, and then local Africans for the lower ranks, almost to the exclusion of other races; just as prior they had preferred Amerindians. This, of course, was to further their “divide and rule” strategy. The criteria for selection — such as height and chest measurements, and unmarried status — combined with the food served while facially neutral, produced a disparate impact on Indians.On the eve of Independence in 1965, Indians were 20.7% compared with 71.9% Africans in the Force. And this was after the PPP Government of 1957 -1964 had deliberately increased the number of Indians recruited. They had accepted 239 Indians versus 432 Africans from 5,877 versus 9,081 applications respectively; that is, 4.1 per cent of Indian applicants versus 4.7 per cent of African applicants. The International Commission of Jurists, invited by the PNC to investigate the imbalances in the state sector, concluded that the Police Force should reflect, to a greater degree, the composition of the population.They recommended that 75 per cent of all future recruits be Indian, until the goal was reached. The ICJ’s recommendation reflects the ethos of “equal opportunity”, which seeks to right historical discriminatory wrongs. While the PNC accepted the recommendations of the ICJ, it did not implement them, and actually decreased the number and percentage of Indians accepted. The PNC ceased to make statistics available after 1966, but data collected by Prof. K. Danns showed that between 1970 and 1977, while the size of the Force was being doubled, 92.2 per cent of recruits were Africans, with only 7.84 per cent being Indians.The ICJ’s recommendation also introduced into Guyana, if not in so many words, the concept of “affirmative action”. This is a very controversial concept, both to those whom it benefited and those against whom it discriminated [reverse discrimination].
A Donegal actress is among the cast of the fresh, imaginative, new musical Alice in Funderland which is currently receiving standing ovations from audiences at the Abbey Theatre.Ruth McGill from Ardara plays the role of ‘The Duchess’ in this major new production.No stranger to the Abbey stage Ruth has performed there a number of times including Christ Deliver Us!, The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant and The Cherry Orchard. A graduate from the Professional Acting Programme at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin Ruth has gone on to a very successful acting career.Her extensive list of theatrical credits include Freefall and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (The Corn Exchange), Macbecks (Olympia Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Gate Theatre) and The Shaughraun (Albery Theatre, London). A trained soprano Ruth has co-devised and performed three cabaret shows with her company and has also worked in film and television including Love/Hate, The Clinic (RTÉ) and Leap Year (Spyglass Entertainment). Ruth will be performing, until 12th May, in what has been heralded as the most anticipated theatrical production of 2012, Alice in Funderland..Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre said, ‘The world premiere of Alice in Funderland marks the first musical to be produced on the Abbey stage in over 20 years.“This is a major production with a 15 member cast, eight of whom are making their debut on the national stage. Alice in Funderland is a soulful response to a changing society from a new generation of engaged theatre artists. This musical is connected, immediate, clever and beautiful. I am delighted to present this fresh and imaginative new Irish musical on the stage of the national theatre.’ Alice in Funderland, directed by Wayne Jordan, is a THISISPOPBABY commission and was originally created by Phillip McMahon and Jennifer Jennings and developed with Raymond Scannell, Wayne Jordan and the company.Phillip McMahon of THISISPOPBABY said, ‘Alice in Funderland is a rollercoaster parable for our times.It reflects what’s been happening in Dublin over the past 15 years, both on the dance floor and on the street. We wanted to create our own style of contemporary musical, inspired by our lives, by the city we live in and by the chaotic world around us, with the best Irish artists from a rising generation to present an exhilarating audience experience.’Alice in Funderland is a combination of biting social and sexual satire, contemporary musical numbers, rich language, high design and a philosophy of hope and courage. Bringing together some of the most exciting rising Irish talent of this generation, the Abbey Theatre presents a modern day fairy tale for a tender and bruised nation. Resolutely set in an alternative here and now with its inherent darkness and uncertainty, Alice in Funderland was born out of a desire to shake up the landscape of musical theatre in Ireland.Inspired by both Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the cadence and rhythm of Irish city life, Alice in Funderland tackles the tumultuous themes of love, change, identity and humanity, through the prisms of electro and pop, in order to examine the true values and aspirations at the heart of our society. Unlucky in love, Corkonian Alice is all set for her sister’s wedding when a chance encounter with delivery boy Warren sends her spiralling through the Dublin night.In an epic pursuit for meaning on the strangest night of her life, Alice tumbles through the broken city, bombarded by grinning politicians, pyjama-clad bowsies, egg heads on the edge, twisted scissor sisters, and Delores – The Queen of Hartstown.The cast includes, Robert Bannon, Lisa Byrne, Philip Connaughton, Susannah de Wrixon, Tony Flynn, Sarah Greene, Keith Hanna, Emmet Kirwan, Ian Lloyd Anderson, Aoibhinn McGinnity, Ruth McGill, Aileen Mythen, Kathy Rose O’Brien, Mark O’Regan and Paul Reid.DONEGAL ACTRESS WOOS THE CROWDS AT THE ABBEY was last modified: April 12th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Abbey TheatreAlice in FunderlandArdaraRuth McGill