Formerly known as BAME Recruitment

30 Sep 2022

Diversity Lens - Issue 144

Bringing you a diverse selection of news stories, social commentary, cultural recommendations and job opportunities from the past week.

 

The last seven days have been a political whirlwind. Kwasi Kwarteng announced the new Conservative Government’s mini budget, met with scepticism by many. The value of the pound has fallen to a record low against the dollar. While our Conservative government is under fire (more than 80,000 have signed a petition calling for an immediate general election), Italy have elected the far-right Giorgia Meloni as their new Prime Minister, and there are mass anti-government demonstrations across Iran following the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody, following her arrest for allegedly violating strict clothing laws. It’s a time of confusion, and fear for many, alongside quickly declining temperatures.

We go into a little more detail of the meaning behind the UK headlines in our Story of the Week, as well as a misguided response from a Labour MP serving as distraction.
 
Book:
Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy

Attachment theory serves as a valuable mode of psychological analysis for understanding intimacy as a broader concept, and how it operates within the self and relationships. However, the majority of literature that explores this relevance centers on monogamous relationship paradigms.
 
In ‘Polysecure’, psychotherapist Jessica Fern not only details the foundations of attachment theory in easy-to-understand terms, but also reinterprets this theory to have broader and more inclusive applications for those practicing non-monogamy and polyamory, a growing sub-sect of society. Yet, the universal themes in much of the subject matter make this an enlightening read for anyone wishing to understand their own intimacy and its relation to others, whether monogamously or not. 
 
STORY OF THE WEEK
Last Friday, Britain’s first black Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced the controversial mini budget; bringing about the biggest package of tax cuts in 50 years. Highlights include abolishing the 45% higher rate of income tax for those earning over £150,000, a freeze on corporation tax increases and a scrapping of rules to limit bankers’ bonuses.

The intention is to bring about a trickle-down effect that will stimulate the UK economy, although critics have argued that it will only benefit the richest in society and will do little to alleviate the cost of living crisis that is disproportionately affecting lower earners. Both the IMF (International Monetary Fund), and the opposition Labour party heavily criticised the budget.

Labour’s response has seen pledges to establish a publicly owned energy company (Great British Energy) to help the UK reap the economic benefit from the boom in renewable energy, and a commitment to reintroduce the higher rate of income tax if elected.
This major news has been somewhat overshadowed by leaked audio from Rupa Huq describing the Chancellor as only “superficially a black man” in response to both his privileged upbringing and his political leanings. The comment was immediately criticised by Keir Starmer, and Rupa Huq, of Bangladeshi British heritage herself, has since apologised.

The whole episode highlights the need for people to think beyond simple eye tests when approaching diversity and look at intersectional factors that can influence a person’s experience, way of thinking and power (class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc). Only then will the standard promise to “seek out and complete anti-racism and bias training”, that Huq and others say after the event, carry weight.

Huq has been suspended from the Labour Party after much social media outrage, and we must re-centre our attention. The mini budget serves predominantly the richest 5% of the UK when we should be focusing on those struggling to heat their homes this winter.

“It is disgraceful that the family finances of people across the country are being put on the line simply so the government can give huge unfunded tax cuts to the richest companies and those earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a year."

Shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves

 
IN OTHER NEWS
Cubans Vote in Favour of Family Law Reform That Will Allow Same-Sex Marriage

A comprehensive "family law" code that permits same-sex marriage and adoption has been approved by the Cuban people. According to Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, president of the national electoral council, the measure, which has more than 400 articles, was approved by 66.9% to 33.1%. The reforms had initially received resistance from a growing evangelical movement in the country, as well as many other Cubans. Yet ultimately, progress towards equality has prevailed.
 
Sexual Harassment and Racism ‘Endemic’ in UK Music Sector
A survey of professional musicians revealed that the music industry is widespread with sexual harassment, racism, and bullying. 66% of respondents had experienced some form of discrimination, up by 6% from 2018. The anonymous survey collected information relating to discrimination of all kinds. The Incorporated Society of Musicians described how fear of reprisals could stop victims coming forward and that a large part of the sector is freelance or self-employed and cannot afford to lose the work. The ISM is calling for a code of practice to be instated in the sector, to attempt to tackle these very serious issues.

New Met Police Chief Snubs Head of National Black Police Association


 
The new Metropolitan Police Chief, Sir Mark Rowley, promised to be "ruthless" in rooting out racism in the force. However, he has already clashed with the National Black Police Association by refusing to meet with their President and suggesting he may ban officers from taking the knee. The group's head regularly met with Rowley's predecessor Cressida Dick so this new rejection to meet sets off warning signals. George, a serving inspector in the Northern Ireland police force, intended to discuss key events with the Met Chief such as the shooting of Chris Kaba, an unarmed black man. At this key time for the force, placed under special measures, Rowley needs to maintain good relationships with community groups.

"Even when there are two or three people complaining about the same person, that discrimination is still being justified. They are still protecting the reputation of the Met over learning and improving.”

 
WORK SPHERE
Virgin Atlantic Staff Can Choose Which Uniform to Wear ‘No Matter Their Gender’
The gender identity policy that Virgin Atlantic has announced allows its crew, pilots, and ground staff to wear any of the company's Vivienne Westwood-designed outfits to work, regardless of the stereotypical 'male' or 'female' design. To ensure that people use their preferred pronouns, the airline will also begin issuing optional pronoun badges to both crew and passengers. Virgin will also mandate inclusivity initiatives and training for hotels in the Caribbean, where some guests have encountered difficulties. According to Virgin, this change was made in order to appreciate the diversity of their employees and to help create a welcoming and inclusive place to work.


Taking a Mental Health Day Can Be Good For You – Here’s How to Make the Most of One
Early intervention is key to preventing the worsening of mental health issues. It can be beneficial to take a mental health day to unwind and regroup. If you've been feeling more exhausted than usual, it might be time to take a day off work to care for your mental health. You may feel the need to take a mental health day for a variety of reasons. Overwork, strained interpersonal relationships, and personal issues are all frequent causes. If these factors are not addressed, stress, unhappiness, and mental illness may eventually result.

The best way to spend your mental health day will depend on your reasoning for taking it; for some, you might want to slow down and rest; for others, you might need a more creative outlet. Take stock of how you're feeling and what could benefit you most.
 
'No Good Excuse' For Lack of Women in Tech

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has said there are “not enough women at the table” in tech firms, including Apple. Apple have just launched a development programme for female founders and app creators in the UK. Tim has said that without a more diverse workforce, technology “will not achieve nearly what it could achieve”, as shown in 2014 when Apple launched a health kit without a period tracker, leading to accusations that this was due to male bias on the team behind the app.
 

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