Why AM I talking about this? am I even supposed to be annoyed? Ive got a box of male priveledge anyway…sort of. That box will have to be opened again at some point, but maybe when you’ve got used to my spewing rhetoric we can get into it.
And it’s not like I’ve been specifically targeted for the amusement of the white agenda. I’m not in a movie, a book or a magazine, this is real life and I haven’t been knocked over, physically or literally…right?. Except i kinda have. All too often and actually more often than not nowadays, we put away these feelings we have about what has happened to us when it’s not a freakin literal slap in the face.
Thinking back on it I can recall plenty of times that I was racially stereotyped, or singled out because of what I looked like or who I am, but it wasn’t a particularly large incident and it may just have been something subconcious, so it just wasn’t something that was worthy in my mind of recognition, it didn’t deserve the title of “racism”.
Why is this even here?, this is primarily a wildlife centric blog and perhaps this rant has no place here, some of you might be thinking. And for a while and definitely a few years back I would have been of the opinion that I shouldn’t be mixing the rather sharp edged knife of politics as it can appear with the more laid back and sleepy talk of wildlife observation and nature.
The basis of this argument is wrong. It’s built on the idea that these 2 “ideologies” are not connected and when you talk about them you have to separate them and yourself into differing identities, changing mindsets and even fashions of talking to appeal to the audiences that have decided they must be different to eachother and have squashed themselves away into boxes.
No. They belong in the same room. These 2 topics and indeed all of their sub topics and genres are blatantly and intricately connected.
Think about it; policies decided by government and councils are agendas that have a direct impact on the survival of our wildlife, the talk in the offices and meetings of politicians is something we should be interested in because it changes what is put on our screens and in our textbooks; education, entertainment, explanations, these are all aspects of society that are changed by policy and that affect our environment.
A lot of E’s there. Got one more for you; Enlightenment. Thats what I would describe happened to me when I was invited, almost out of the blue, to a podcast I have a lot of respect for; Into The Wild.
I’m not the biggest fan of podcasts, but only because I haven’t ever really given them any of my time or enough time for me to actually become interested in one or become embroiled in it for long enough. I was invited on to talk about a topic I’d been dwelling on for a while since I left home and came to university; Diversity.
Diversity is an incredibly complex and ironically, diverse subject. It would require an entirely new chapter to bite into it properly, so I’ll be getting on with that in the next article I write that directly addresses the episode I was on and the topics we discussed because it is linked almost explicitely to this. But Diversity is the reason for this introductory article; I decided that if I was to ramble on about the wrongs and rights of Diversity In Nature (title of the episode for my shameless plug y’all), I’d have to do my own research, because despite being a creature of diversity, I can’t just pull these things out of a hat.
Research lead me to places I’d been before and others I’d never even knew existed, despite their obvious connection to me, kind of like a relative who knows your name but you only meet when there’s food at a family gathering. As I said I’ll talk about it more going forwards, but basically I went in thinking that perhaps my thoughts about never having seen a southern asian or really any other asian wildlife television presenter or someone representing any other minority really in my life was just a result of my sheltered existence… nope…just no diversity at all really.
This is where I give you an extremely important R. Representation.
Representation matters, and not just because it gives a mouthpiece to communities because honestly, there’s quite a lot of that and not all of it is good. It gives you confidence. Confidence that you don’t have to blaze a path of righteous glory through the stifling ranks of priveledge to where you want to go. Confidence that the building blocks of your existence; your religion or your culture or your skin colour or the way you speak or even think, aren’t obstacles, but gems of an intricate and beautiful society, they aren’t things that stop you, they make you unique. You can see it because it’s right there in front of you.
And you know why seeing it or hearing about it or knowing about it helps? Because we’re predominantly creatures of ease. And paths that have already been made; such as someone who is like you, in terms of anything at all that you relate to, working in an area you wish to work in, or playing a part you relate to, or is comfortable with themselves in an environment you wish you could be comfortable in, are paths you don’t have to toil away at making yourself.
They make it easier, and a result of ease is more opportunity and more people power, and if thats not a sure fire equation for progress, in a much fairer sense of the word than is spread today, then I don’t know what is.
We should be talking about this. Representation is important. Of people, of ideas, of problems faced by those people spreading those ideas. Because talking about it is a representation of it. Ironic huh? Representation of representation is bloody representation. It is the linking of politics to nature and the diversity of wildlife related jobs and STEM jobs and research so we can make a difference and move away from just being keyboard warriors and pen pushers. People can bring so many more ideas and constructs to the table if they are allowed to speak in the way that they feel comfortable.
I’m opening this box. And i’m losing the lid.
Not just because I have a short term memory and terrible eyesight.
But because it’s never getting shut. The conversation coming out matters too much.