This is the thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. A lot of the things we think of as ‘left wing’ or ‘liberal’ have nothing to do with political theory - like whether government should be big or small - they have to do with basic human decency.
Like, yes, politics can come into these issues - where wealth is distributed unequally between races and genders, political issues about positive and negative freedom (loosely aligned to whether government is big (actively enabling people to have more opportunities) or small (minimising restrictions on civil liberties and government interference, but also necessarily minimising the support government gives to the disadvantaged) become relevant to racial and feminist issues (or trans* or sexuality etc.).
But just casting a variety of people, writing in a variety of roles for film, TV, theatre, books, you podcast - that’s not political. It’s not progressive. It’s not radical. It’s just about being decent.
People are surprised that gay, female, trans*, black, Asian etc. people can and do belong to ‘right wing’ parties, like the Conservatives, or the Republicans. But it’s perfectly possible to reconcile the basic tenets of these parties with inclusivity. Because these small-government parties are about (in theory anyway) the government butting out of everyone else’s business. So it makes perfect sense for a Conservative to say ‘It’s none of my business what other people do in bed’, to think that the state has no place telling a woman what to do with her body, or a trans* person, and they really have no political reason to think any differently about people of colour or people from minority cultural backgrounds. Theoretically, they should be happy for everyone to get along with any kind of life they want as long as it doesn’t involve infringing on other people’s liberties.
Now, that’s not a progressive attitude. It’s an attitude that ignores the existing imbalances in treating everyone exactly the same. It ignores the varying needs of different people and tends, in Anglo-American culture, towards treating everyone as though they were a middle-class CIS, white, able-bodied and minded, heterosexual male of moderate Christian/agnostic beliefs. And most of us do not fall under that category - we don’t have their advantages, or necessarily their needs (hello, benefits to married couples!), and we have others that are not being accounted for. Progressive politics is looking to do something about those imbalances.
But just expecting to have women, and POC, and disabled people, and trans* people, and queer people and gender queer people and people with mental illness featured on TV and treated like full people and not with prejudice… that’s a basic level of decency which is NOT radical or progressive. It’s just a basic standard that we’re not meeting at the moment.