Towards diversity and solidarity
One of the main items on the agenda for the quarterly Qultura trustee meeting in July 2020 is reinforcement of our Total Inclusivity standard with the creation of a new simpler standard - #HumanSpectrum - and a much greater emphasis on diversity and solidarity. #HumanSpectrum will be part of our longstanding unilateral commitment to ISO 26000-2010 (Social Responsibility) but emphasize our opposition to any kind of labelling of anyone on the basis of physical identity.
What the #HumanSpectrum will cover
The #HumanSpectrum standard will cover all physical aspects of someone's identity including sex, gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, body size and shape, intellectual ability, social status, economic status, age, and both physical and mental health conditions. This standard will be the new defining standard for our principle of Total Inclusivity and access to our empathy based community.
Understanding our rationale
The equality and diversity agenda is a failing agenda which while it has promoted awareness of certain issues, has mainly resulted in social division, social stigma and social exclusion for millions of people. It also creates the notion that there is a 'mainstream' body of people in society and certain minorities - this to us is a false illusion. The notion of the black community being a 'minority' when we have over 5 billion black people in a global population of 8 billion is quite frankly ridiculous.
The fact remains the same that unless we start out from a position of truth and reality nobody is going to make any progress anywhere. So what is the truth? The truth is that human beings are a species which has been evolving for the past 1.8 million years. We are a diverse species and our diversity runs right across a spectrum in terms of sex, gender, gender identity, skin colour, sexual orientation, and physical size, shape and ability. This is our biological reality and we can no more change Mother Nature's script than we can dictate the colour of Skittles we buy in a packet.
Additionally the vast majority of people in society, think 70-80%, fit neatly into at least one minority at birth and by middle age fit two or more other minority categories. Not everyone is congenitally disabled, many people acquire disabilities as they get older, and many people are not themselves that disabled, but are disabled mainly by other people's attitudes towards them.
The lie is that some people are better than other people because of some physical aspect of their identity, or have more value, is a socially toxic lie irrespective of whether it's skin colour, or gender, or sexual orientation, and we need to work together to overcome and reject that lie, together with all forms of physical supremacy be it white supremacy, male supremacy, female supremacy, whatever.
The need to get to the truth
If you think this new stance is any attempt at white washing or diminishing the social stigma and levels of discrimination and bigotry that's out there you're wrong. It's quite the opposite. Throughout our history and development Qultura has been firmly committed to promoting human individuality, human diversity and human creativity. Our stance is quite clear. Experience is experience. You should never, ever, ever diminish or let go of any social injustice you have experienced in your life.
The issues of bigotry, racism and sexism are never going to go away if we're going to just focus on the tip of the iceberg, i.e. the small handful of cases picked up by the media and extrapolate from there. This is because the extrapolation turns the whole issue into a debate and from our perspective discrimination in any form should be an issue over which there is no debate whatsoever because all hate, all bullying, and all social stigma is unacceptable.
We're of the firm belief that the vast majority of cases of discrimination are not recorded because they either go unreported, or they are dismissed, diminished, or the person experiencing the discrimination is not in a position or is even prevented from speaking out about the discrimination they are experiencing. Many people do not speak up because they fear that they could lose their job, their income, their home, their friends, or face further discrimination and hostility, and many people just don't have the self-confidence or feel articulate enough to verbalize their experiences. Many people also feel that their experience of discrimination doesn't matter.
Your experience does matter
To think that your life can be made much harder and far more difficult by other people and politicians because you have a different skin colour, ethnic background, gender identity or sexual orientation and that this is somehow socially acceptable is the very definition of oppression. This is dysfunctional thinking, it's abusive, and it has no place in any society which aspires to be modern, decent or civilized.
There also needs to be a safe environment where not only people can turn to record their personal instances of being discriminated against, for the public record, but also a safe environment where people can learn to modify their thinking, beliefs, social interaction and behaviour so that they can become more socially inclusive. We don't believe all bigotry, sexism or racism is premeditated or intentional, much of it comes out of social and mental conditioning, and hurling accusations of 'privilege', pointing fingers, blaming and shaming doesn't help anyone and doesn't lead to any significant or meaningful progress.
This is why last year supported by my body of trustees I sought to radically transform the way Qultura functions so as to place a much heavier emphasis on the fact that we are the UK's first empathy based community. I redesigned the website to a blogging website format, created a simple sign up process, and have developed the following projects:
- Community Message Board
- This is a community Message Board accessible from the main Qultura website where Qultura community members can interact with one another and share their experiences and interests. It's also where members can interact, network, share narratives, stories, and discuss ideas and creative projects with one another and ways of developing culture in their local community. Participation is free and you just need to register for an account.
- ROSE Community Library
- The ROSE Community Library at the Qultura Core community space in Nine Elms, London is our most popular community project with several bookshelves and books on different genres borrowed by members of the local comnmunity. No sign up or membership required. If you see a book and it interests you, simply borrow it and bring it back.
- Community Blog
- We are developing a Community Blog and platform where you can write blog entries and articles without needing to set up or run or maintain your own blog. You can also showcase your creativity and creative output, write about your own experiences, and you can post anonymously or under a pseudonym. We publish your blog entry or article giving you a link to share and if you post enough entries or content we will also give you your own section on our website.
- Qultura Fringe
- Qultura Fringe is a theatre/film making community based in Nine Elms which is being proposed for Circle Village West on the South Bank and the ROSE Community Centre and involves drama workshops, film making and Fringe theatre devoted to the art, the creativity, the techniques and the truth. This is a community designed for everyone interested in the performing arts, professional actors to interested newbies and we are hoping that development of Qultura Fringe will lead to a musical spin off.
- Project Zero
- Project Zero is a community support project set up to support people affected hy issues relating to Personal Independence Payments, Social Credit and Universal Credit. We're hosting it exclusively on the social media platform of MeWe because of data sharing concerns on other social media platforms. Project Zero is connected to our Pledge and Appeal system of community support to ensure that nobody is forced into destitution or starvation or where they are left to survive without income for long periods.
Everything above is designed to be completely and totally inclusive and I have made it clear that this includes community initiatives within the black community and for people with disabilities, learning difficulties and on the spectrum who are usually excluded from most mainstream community support initiatives by organizations, local authorities and institutions.
The effective, powerful method of triangulation
I know from my own experience as a white trans woman that most if not all people who experience discrimination, stigma and marginalization end up with two conflicting social needs. Most people who are discriminated against, irrespective of whether it be because of their skin colour, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability have a need to feel included in the wider community, but they also have a need for a connection with other people who are just like them.
But also, through my work developing Qultura over the years, I am also aware of the very powerful boundary dissolving effects of triangulation. By triangulation what I mean is where people from different marginalized groups, such as the black community, the Muslim community, people with disabilities, people on the spectrum, form alliances with other marginalized people. But triangulation becomes even more powerful when people who have not faced or experienced discrimination in their lives reach out and include people who have been marginalized and just accept them as fellow human beings.
Balance between self and other
Triangulation works on the basis of a very simple but universal principle - you cannot be who you are if other people cannot be who they are. For example, using labels, you cannot be a white person or perceived as white if there are no black people. Similarly if there were no women, there would be no men. The point here is that labelling, any sort of labelling - white, male, female, gay, straight, trans, disabled, poor, rich, etc is unnecessary and distracts you from the main point of who you really are, i.e. that you are a unique, highly individual human being with an equally unique and individual perspective on life, and you're here on this planet for a relatively short period of time.
Labels are an effectively and powerful used by people in various hierarchies to distract you from political incompetence, deprivation of opportunity, and denial of individual human experience. Labels are part of the British colonial past and are used to teach you your place in society and a socioeconomic system which is based on artificial scarcity and structural classism. Please consider that if everyone had a secure income to a stable home, meaningful and fulfilling work and a comfortable income nobody would give a shit about white supremacy.
But also on a far more personal level labels and cultural stereotypes distract you from being you, the real you, and shift the focus of attention away from everything which is the most interesting, attractive and fascinating about you as an individual to aspects of your identity which are, from your perspective, meaningless and irrelevant to you. Your life is defined by your experience and your achievements, your struggles, your successes, your failures, your friends, your family, and the stuff you talk about on your mobile phone. Your life should not be defined by how you look or the physical aspects of your identity.
Making the Qultura community universally accessible
The discussion about the #HumanSpectrum standard and Total Inclusivity is part of my desire to ensure that the Qultura community is universally accessible to everyone with a common interest in change - personal change, social change and cultural change - through the development of empathy, community and constant cultural development. Participation in our empathy based community is completely free of charge for everyone provided you're willing to make an honest and genuine commitment to Total Inclusivity and the #HumanSpectrum. There is no ideology or belief system to follow, just be yourself, respect the individuality of others in the community, and get together to share your interests and experiences.
The Qultura community is about transforming the way we all treat one another and socially interact one another and developing culture at local community level. But this cannot happen unless we have solidarity between each other in our newly developing community.