Episode 23: Inclusivity in organisations


Jochem and Frigga talk with Berkely from Diversity Trust about inclusivity in organizations

Transcript Episode 23: Inclusivity 101

[start tune]

00:11 Jochem
Hello! Welcome to the Wyrd Thing Podcast episode 23 inclusivity 101, part one of our trilogy on inclusivity within heathen organizations. I am Jochem and today I will talk with Frigga and our special guest Berkeley about inclusivity and diversity. Hi Berkeley.

00:32 Berkeley
Hi Jochem, nice to be here. So my name is Berkeley and I run an organization called the Diversity Trust¹, which I’ll talk more about in a moment.

00:41 Jochem
Oh do tell!

00:43 Berkeley
So the Diversity Trust is a community interest company. So that’s the social enterprise or social business. And we’ve been running for about 12 years. We started out in a very kind of regional, local way, and it evolved very quickly, particularly over the last four years. So we became a national organization based here in the UK. And then increasingly with the kind of advances in technology, uh, everything being put online during the Covid era and the kind of way in which human rights campaigns like Black Lives Matters and Trans Lives Matters and the MeToo movement, it really kind of saw us becoming, um, more international in, in what we, what we did, although we still have very much a kind of a heart and home in the UK. So what we do is facilitate conversations really about diversity and inclusion. That’s pretty much what we do. And we do that through training with groups and organizations. So going into workplaces and facilitating those sometimes difficult conversations around these topics, we also do quite a lot of consultancy work. So we’ll help an organization, you know, with its policies, with its practices, with its training, with its kind of monitoring, with its kind of compliance with the sort of legal frameworks and duties that there are across most European countries. And what we will then do, as well as all that is try and publish research. So we partner up with academics and researchers, people working in higher education, further education who are sharing similar ideas. So for example, we did, um, a quite a large project with university around, um, trying to increase diversity and thinking about diversity within within different settings like care settings, residential settings, residential homes, places like that. So we took a lot of the research that we’d already had published through our partnerships, and we took that research, and then we turned it into practical materials for for training for staff. So we’ve produced some short educational films. We did podcasts, blog posts that would help people like managers in training situations to, to improve their diversity, inclusion. So yeah. So training, consultancy, research, those are the kind of core pillars of the organisation. We also offer at a very community based level, so very local level specialist services. So services like youth services for young people from marginalised and minoritized communities, so from black minority ethnic communities, disabled communities, learning difficulties, uh, lgbtq+ for example. So lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, etc. and as well as that we have quite an active communications element of the organisation as well. So we’re working towards, um, you kind of, um, podcasting, blog posting, all those things I’ve mentioned, but quite an active social media presence trying to, um, implement social change, which is the strapline of motto of the organisation.

03:58 Jochem
Well, that is a lot. Thank you. And you said, you focus on different kinds of marginalised people.

04:08 Berkeley
Yeah we do. So we work across many different organisations. Um, so we not it’s not only the kind of the themes of one particular marginalised community, it’s all of the different communities. So we will advance and advocate for disabled people, for people around mental health, uh, for lgbt, black and minority ethnic women, etc.. So we’re trying to advance those, um, those rights for all marginalised communities and groups. And it really means that, um, what we do is centre lived experience. So people bring their direct experience into a conversation. So we don’t hold a facilitator conversation unless those people are present. So that’s something that’s really important for us. So if, for example, an organisation books our disability awareness training that’s led by disabled people, that’s something that’s really important to us as a core value of our organisation. So as well as being a nonprofit and centering lived experience, that’s kind of a absolutely the foundations of what the organization is built on. That’s really important for us: listening to the voices Of the communities.

05:21 Jochem
Yeah. In in the Netherlands we call that it’s done for people by people.

05:28 Berkeley
Yeah. We also talk about, um, there’s a famous quote: nothing about us without us, which is another way. [Jochem: Yes.] Saying the same thing. Yeah.

05:36 Jochem
And how did you turn up doing this?

05:41 Berkeley
[Berkeley laughts] That’s a really great question. So this has been 30 years. It’s not been a short, short journey for me. [Jochem laughs] Um, so I came out, um, myself as a gay man in the kind of early to mid 1980s in the, in the period between 83 and 86,87. That, that period, particularly in the US and the UK and Europe at the time we were being, um, you know, really significantly, horrifically impacted by the pandemic of HIV and Aids, the global pandemic at the time. [Jochem: hmm] And that meant that coming out at that time was really difficult because, you know, here in the UK, we had quite a difficult, um, political situation. Um, we had a very far right government under Margaret Thatcher at the time. You know, it, it was a very difficult time because we had anti-gay legislation brought on to the statute, and it meant that it felt like, you know, your rights were being taken away from you, what little rights you had as a, as a, as a gay person at the time. And, of course, added to that, the kind of media hysteria and backlash that there was in the result as a result of HIV and Aids and the kind of the the stigma and the stereotyping of gay men as being “plagued” in inverted commas. And so adding all those things together, you know, coming out in that sort of environment where actually you are also, you know, regularly. I was um, in the mid 80s and late 80s, early 90s, I was regularly going to people’s funerals. I was losing people who were friends, who were lovers, who were members of the community. So almost like an entire, um, peer group and also, um, people older than me. So my role models were, were being taken away because they were really sadly dying. So, so that motivated me to want to do something about it. Unsurprisingly, it kind of put a fire and a passion in me. And so in the early 90s, I started volunteering in HIV and Aids charities, um, locally, where I lived here in the UK. And that led me into, um, I went back to do a degree in my hometown in Bristol, and I was interested in social policy and sociology and trying to advance kind of particularly human rights, but also just more broadly, you know, civil rights as well. And I then was really fortunate in, um, one of my colleagues who I’d been volunteering with, who was in a paid role within the HIV sector, um, moved into alcohol services, moved to London and basically said to me, if you apply for this job, you will get this job. I was doing a lot of volunteering, a lot. I was, you know, very much embedded with the community and an activist, basically. And so I applied for that job and, uh, got it eventually. And that was in 1995 when I started that. And I did that for about ten years. And in that time, you know, I set up lgbt youth groups and safe spaces and did some, you know, some I just absolutely loved the work. And then I went off to, um, Brighton to do a job that, uh, was working around health inequality. So it was a much broader. So it wasn’t HIV Aids focused. It was a much broader role. [Jochem: hm] And I did that for a few years, and that enabled me to work at the European level. So European Union and European Parliament. And I saw, you know, what an opportunity that was. What an amazing opportunity that,that came at. And then the contract that I had, the funding that made my role possible was taken away. So I literally had the the world taken underneath me, my underneath my feet. So I was at this kind of precipice really, of, well, what do I do now? Do I try and find another job? Or actually, do I do what I’ve always really wanted to do? I had a long term passion for which is to, to create something myself, you know, create a training organisation. So I did that, um, and operated in that way for just under ten years, just independently, um, working with people, but not in a, in a structure, in a structured way. And I did that for about ten years. And then what I realized was that through doing that work, working with people, the organisations I was working with and the collaborations and coming up with an entity like the idea for the Diversity Trust, it felt like that’s bigger than just me. I can’t, I can’t just do that on my own. And that’s something that, that could be much, much bigger. So in 2012, we incorporated and that meant that three people, so myself and two colleagues got together and we created a company. And that then became what now is the the organisation that I now lead. And we’re about 70 now, 70 people. So we’ve grown quite a lot in that.

10:16 Jochem
Yeah, that’s an interesting journey. [Berkeley: Yeah] And a lot has changed since the 80s. Of course we are more than 40 years later. Is it still necessary, this kind of work?

10:31 Berkeley
Oh, gosh. Yes. [Berkeley and Jochem laugh] Um, I would go, go way beyond saying it’s necessary to say it’s essential. [Jochem: Yeah] Social change takes time. It’s not an instant fix. And actually, one of the slides I have at the end of a presentation, when I do any kind of training or talk or anything like that, is like I have this kind of like crystal ball gazing into the future. And one of the points I raise is that rights can be taken away as well as as well as one, you know. So when you look at, for example, in the US experience with Roe vs. Wade and the Supreme Court taking away access to basic healthcare rights for women particularly. Uh, so that’s that’s where you’ve got the rights and then you’ve lost rights. Then you look at other states, for example, like places like Turkey and Hungary and other states in Russia, for example, where actually, you know, what rights we hadn’t experienced maybe in through the 80s, 90s and noughties and into the in the last sort of 20 years, actually, we’re experiencing much worse situation for marginalised communities than we were perhaps 20 years ago in some of those states. So, yeah, I think it’s not just necessary. I think is absolutely essential. And I also think, you know, I don’t really like talking too much about this in this case for diversity and inclusion, because I think, you know, there’s a way of viewing the world, which is actually that the whole structure is the problem. And actually we don’t want to keep colluding with, you know, oh, let’s let’s hold up capitalism as the ideal. And then therefore, if we hold up capitalism as the ideal model, then the structures within that, and I mean the businesses and the companies and the corporations within that, let’s make them better. So let’s make them better places for people to experience, because they’re going to have to go to work every day. Well, actually, it’s the foundations of the very system that’s the problem in the first place. [Jochem: Yes] Um, and, you know, we should be working to change that system, but that’s way beyond my lifetime, I’m sad to say. [Berkeley and Jochem giggle]

Yeah, I agree. And the system is is broken.

12:49 Berkeley
Yeah. Yeah. It doesn’t work for people. It works for a very, very small number of people. But it doesn’t work for the majority of people. That’s that’s my, yeah, my thing.

Yeah. And all this work, uh, you are doing and in our way, we are doing within a system that favours some people above other people. Why is it still worth it? Because it takes a lot of effort for little change.

13:21 Berkeley
Yeah. I think that it’s a it’s about making it better for individuals. And then that’s a collective experience. So I’ll give you an example of that. I mentioned about the work that we do with young people. So we set up safe, community based spaces at a local level where young people can come together and share their experiences in a supportive, kind of social, supportive way in which, you know, we do social education and we have a curriculum. And so people learn together, but also they have peer support. Um, and often, you know, when you’re talking about some minorities and marginalized communities, you know, people finding themselves in their identity through that space, um, you know, learning language that perhaps they hadn’t had previously. So words to describe themselves. So I will give that example as why I think it’s important because, you know, I’ve had feedback over the, as I said, decades of time that I’ve been doing the work where, you know, young people have contacted me years later, they’ve they’ve kind of found me out on social media and they’ve they’ve sent me messages and said, you know, I really hope you realise that you saved my life. [Jochem: Wow] You know, I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you. And for the work that you did in the organisation. And very recently I had, um, we had a job opportunity come up within the business and somebody applied for that job. And in their covering letter, they said, the reason I feel so passionately about working for your organisation is because your organisation is responsible for saving my son’s life. So it’s those kind of things that make me think this is absolutely worthwhile. Um. It’s exhausting. I will not argue with that with you on that. [Berkeley laughs] It is absolutely exhausting. [Jochem: Yeah] Um, and it sometimes does feel, oftentimes does feel like it’s a battleground, um, because we’re fighting all the time in different or different directions. You know, you get like a negative media response or you get, you know, a change in policy. Like very recently here in the UK, we’ve had a change in guidance for schools around trans and gender, gender nonconforming young people. So it’s almost like we’re constantly having to, not quite firefight but almost that like that. But also you then get the joy. So you get the joyful moments where you get people saying, I’m here today and I’m thriving because of what you did and the help you gave me at the time, which was really critical for me, you know, when I was a young person. So it’s those sorts of examples, which means I get that feedback, you know, and I’ve had other really random things like, I mean, we’re in the UK and I had an academic in Perth in Western Australia email and just randomly said your website and the resources and materials that you share are so fantastic. And, you know, it’s like an amazing resource. And so it’s, you know, those sorts of bits of loveliness that do come back to you. But yeah, you need the good stuff and you that does come that you get that.

16:19 Jochem
Um. In your answer, you make me also realise that it’s probably not only on an individual level that you support people, but you make them aware that they have a group and they belong. And humans are social people. So we need this group feeling, I think.

16:42 Berkeley
Yeah. I agree with that. I think one of the things that is a core, which actually you’ve just helped me to realise [Berkeley laughs] I hadn’t really thought it through before is it’s about empowerment. And I think we do we do talk about that quite a lot, but I think it’s about empowering individuals to say, yes, you may be one person and you may feel like you have no power at all, but actually you are, you are powerful as an individual. You are, and you can make a difference, but you can also be a collective as well. So you can bring, you know, in a given group or in a workplace or whatever the situation is in a trade union, whatever it is, you can actually bring collectively together to create some change and actually make things happen. [Jochem: Mhm] Yeah. There are examples all the way through history, you know, throwing clogs into the machine. You know the word, the word sabotage. You know there are so many examples through our histories collectively where we have resisted and through that resistance there’s been fundamental change. I mean, the whole trade union movement is an example of that. [Jochem: Yeah] You know, collective organizing is an example of that. The women’s movement, feminism, these are really, really important. You know, the suffragette movement, these are really important examples of where collectively people have come together and they’ve said no resistance and they’ve resisted. And social change has happened as a result of that: black rights movement, civil rights movement as well. There are many examples, lgbt rights movements.

18:16 Jochem
Yeah. And when I was reading into this topic, I came on research and you said you are doing research with Diversity Trust as well. So you probably know if an organization invests some time and effort in diversity and inclusivity and they manage to make it successful as an organisation, they will be more successful because it works if you do it properly.

18:48 Berkeley
That’s absolutely right. And I think that would apply to any organisation or any group really, where if you have a very monocultural view of the world and monocultural group, then you are less likely to be thriving. And, you know, because diversity in its very nature is about bringing in people with lots of different views and opinions and ideas and energy and that. And so there’s a constant flux and state of change. Well, for some people, that very nature of change is threatening. And so, you know, people might want to have that kind of very flat, monocultural experience because, oh, well, nothing ever changes. Everything stays the same. But actually that then means that you are less likely to be thriving and successful and absolutely celebrating diversity through that experience. And diversity can be a threat, you know? So yeah, if we look at different regions of the world where, you know, there’s things going on right now in different parts of the world, like in, you know, with Ukraine and Russia, with Israel-Palestine, you know, there are many examples. You know, I’ve had people say to me, well, that’s absolutely the opposite of my experience. But on that group level, organization level, I think that you’re right that we could see, like many examples of where just investing a small amount into inclusivity actually makes everybody’s experience of that group or organisation better because, you know, it’s got more buoyancy, it has more, you know, validity has more diversity in its experience, in its thought and its ideas and all those things coming together. So I would argue not citing the business case. Good. Actually, yes. There is a really, really important business case as well. But actually that if you create a space which is thriving because it’s inclusive, then everybody involved in that organizational group is going to feel better about being a part of that organizational group, because it’s going to be something that they want to invest in because it’s it’s has value for them. Um, and I think that’s what we’ve tried to do with our organization is almost role model, what that can look like. So, you know, by being really flexible in our work processes, you know, we’re offering, you know, remote and hybrid. And you know, mental health is an absolute, you know, priority for us. It’s something that we focus on a lot within the the workspace, making sure that people, you know, feel able to, you know, take time out whenever they want and actually have that very fluid way of working. And actually, that’s really helped us to create, I think, a very healthy, uh, healthy environment, at least I hope that’s what we’ve created. And I think my colleagues would agree.

20:17 Jochem
You, uh, addressed also something that I like to talk about. That proper diversity, at least in the beginning, might be uncomfortable or give some friction, because in general, people like other people like them. So it might take some effort to do it right and to become comfortable in this diversity.

21:44 Berkeley
It’s such an interesting question, and I can only really talk from my own experience, but I absolutely acknowledge that diversity is, is and can be a threat to people. I totally accept that. And I’ll give you an example of something that happened very recently where I arranged a day for, um, a local authority division to come together with people from the community, from an equalities background, so very diverse backgrounds, disabled people, black, Asian and minority ethnic people, LGBT, etc. And it was really interesting to watch and observe the way that the local authority officers behaved that day. So what I found happening was that the local authority officers, who were predominantly white men of a certain age, you know, they were they were a certain demographic would kind of get together in the kind of informal space like in the break. So at the beginning of the day, in the break, in the lunchtime, etc., and they wouldn’t interact with the people that I brought into to interact with them, which is like so interesting. But I think we do, I think, and that’s, you know, something that, you know, we can talk about around people may be familiar with the term unconscious bias, but you’re absolutely right that we do generally tend to favour people like us. So we gravitate towards people who share a similar background, who look like us, talk like us, speak a same language or a similar language, you know, speak in the same way, probably have a similar educational attainment to us, you know, probably the same sort of social status or social grouping as us, you know, even you could even take it into experiences around gender and sexuality, for example. So, you know, you gravitate towards people who are like you. And that can be problematic in a group organization, because if you have favouring of people who look like you or or are like you, then you end up their experience because, you know, one of the most important kind of like general questions that we get coming into the organization I run is, you know, well, how can we become more diverse? And I say, well, look around the room, who is in the room? Because if it’s majority white people, if it’s for white men and you’re on a board, for example, you’re the people that have the power of making the decisions, then nothing will ever change within your organization, in your systems, because you know, you have to literally almost like tear up the rulebook and make radical choices and radical decisions about systemic change. Because if you don’t do that, then you just end up replicating over and over and over again, and your board will never change, your organization, your group will never change. It will always stay the same because you favour at a fundamental level, subconscious level, you favour people like you. [Jochem: Mhm.]

24:33 Frigga
And then again you have to look inside what your bias is. And it’s a lot of different aspects you have to look into. [Jochem: Mhm.]

24:46 Berkeley
And sometimes what you have to do is create space. So I worked with a group of around 20 homelessness agencies. They really wanted to do something different. Something radically different. Because what they’d notice through their recruitment processes is that they despite every intention, they kept employing, recruiting and employing white workers. It was just something that they they were just so, you know, so consciously aware of. And we talked about it and they took a view that they could try and play that something really different. So they set up a panel of interviewees from the staff team that were majority black and black and Asian and what they found was that they recruited and appointed more Black and Asian people as a result of that, because not only were there less bias underneath that, there was also the fact that the people that were being interviewed would see in the organization themselves, and therefore they felt more confident to feel like that organization is more likely to be a safe space for me to work. So it had effects from both directions. I mean, it shouldn’t be radical to do that, but you know that that kind of work will make an impact because it means that you are addressing the fundamental of bias because you’re less likely, you know, you know, to be subconsciously biased if you are, if you are recruiting in that, in that very, very different way and a positively, we call it positive action here in the UK.

26:32 Jochem
Mhm. So proper inclusivity asks work to be done to look inside to unconscious bias and to be prepared to make some radical changes.

26:45 Berkeley
There’s a really interesting, um, TED talk which if if people haven’t haven’t watched it, I would really urge you to. It’s, um, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, she talks about, um, what what do you think about my headscarf² and the way I’m wearing my headscarf? So fantastic. It’s about 15, 16 minutes long TED talk, and she talks. She gives really, really concrete examples of different ways in which bias can manifest itself. It’s a really worthwhile watch. Um, it’s almost like a 15 minute absolute 101 on unconscious bias. This is brilliant. And she was, um, giving those examples of the way in which unconscious bias manifests itself. And even in her own experience, you have a muslim woman who’s living in Australia, and she’s senior manager in working on oil rigs, you know, and it’s just like, almost like she wears three different costumes through the talk and she kind of like, you know, takes off her by her abaya and she puts on her workwear. And then she’s also like, oh, and I was a racing car driver when I was at school, you know. So would you imagine me and my abaya wearing, you know, being a race car driver? So it’s like all those kind of assumptions that we make. And one of the points that she makes, which I really, really value, and it really relates to diversity and inclusivity, is, you know, we have particularly those of us in kind of, you know, leadership roles or people that have some power or whatever that looks like, you know, we we have doors that we can open and we know how to open those doors. And that’s a lot about, for example, you know, who you know, the networks that you’re involved with, um, you know, knowing where you can influence how to influence, how to have those conversations. There are many people, particularly from marginalized communities, that don’t even know the hallway exists, let alone the doorway. So it’s about saying, well, those people, um, you can support those people to get them through the whole into the door and open the door for them. And it’s an analogy, but it’s a powerful one because it means that we do, you know, as individuals with with power and who are leaders, we can create space for people from minorities and marginalized communities who perhaps don’t have access to those resources, don’t have access to those those networks, those individuals that can create change and affect change. And I think that’s such a powerful, powerful analogy that, um, that Yassmin makes. Yeah, it’s really, really worth listening.

29:09 Jochem
Great. And what you say. yeah, we do need, uh, allies who are willing to speak up on our behalf as well. If I look to my personal experience, I am fighting to mostly surfaces on almost a daily basis to get the support I need. And I am according to to the rules entitled to. And I always have to explain and explain and explain again and to fight for for it. And sometimes I’m just too tired. I don’t have spoons left to pick these these fights. A common saying in our communities is choose your battles because you can’t fight all of them. And that means that, yeah, we need allies to fight with us.

30:01 Berkeley
That’s why, m, allyship and the role of advocates and advocacy is so important because, you know, you’re absolutely right. And when I think about, for example, some of the work that we do around mental health, you know, the role of advocacy is so important. And it’s exactly the same thing. It’s the same analogy. It’s like not knowing the system, not knowing how to, you know, and often there are multiple barriers put in place that it might not be intentional, but, you know, not knowing how to fill the form in the words to use, you know, or even having, you know, even digital exclusion and inclusivity as a, as a concept is something, you know. So, for example, working with some communities, you know, particularly I could think about examples around older people that perhaps we work with where there is digital exclusivity because, you know, people may not have access to the internet, and that not necessarily is a stereotype there, because I know that there are many older people who are absolutely digitally savvy. But, you know, for some people that can be a real challenge and that can also be a challenge around, um, I think one of the things that we haven’t the elephant in the room, the virtual room, one of the things we haven’t really talked about is fundamentally all this is this is all about socioeconomics. That’s what this is all about. It’s about who has the power, who’s has the resources. Who has the wealth. Where is it? And it isn’t being distributed. And so not only therefore, can you be digitally excluded because of a protected group like being because you’re older, but also because you don’t have access to those material resources. So for example, at the other end of the age range, working with younger people that we work with, you know, just the basics of having access to data, enough data to be able to, you know, put the job application in or the, you know, the university application or whatever it is, whatever the system is, you know, not having access to the material resources because you can’t afford it. And that’s, you know, fundamental and absolutely, I think in terms of inclusivity, the absolute baseline of this is around socioeconomics and around lack of resources that people experience.

32:23 Jochem
Oh yes. And in addition, if you do have the resources, the system often doesn’t believe you. Or what I also notice a lot if you speak up, people react like oh, there is he again. He is always complaining or people are seen as being aggressive because they notice people to social injustice.

32:49 Frigga
If you mention belief other people, I think that is an important thing to realize. When you talk about subjects like this. Belief, what people tell you instead often, oh, it’s not that bad or anything. Believe people and listen to them. I think an important part is listening. [Jochem: hm] Listening to the people who it is about. And then you get back to we with the podcast say talk with people instead of about people. You rephrase it in different forms earlier. Yeah. If you don’t talk to the people who it is about, then how can we get to change? And do you know what to do?

33:30 Berkeley
I think the response I was thinking around was almost like, if you are viewed as problematic within a system that can, there, by its very nature, create a downward spiral so that you know somebody who has a problem wherever the issue is, whatever the challenge that that individual is experiencing because they are frustrated by a system which I think we would all agree here is broken, that then creates more stress and more important to the individual, which then exacerbates the mental health or addiction or whatever it is, so that you end up in that downward spiral, which I think is why we see so many people, you know, in, in services in such dire crisis. You know, we don’t we don’t have enough early intervention. You know, people are coming at late stages of crisis. And that’s why we see, you know, so much homelessness, for example, because people have been failed by a system that is fundamentally flawed and broken.

34:36 Jochem
Exactly. And then we are back to the topic of minority stress. If you experience more stress than other people because of your marginalized situation, and you ask for help at services, and you have to deal with a system that is based on distrust, so you are not believed and and biased so people don’t get that it is really this bad. So you end up not getting the support you need, and people get disappointed that they don’t come back unless it is really, really bad.

35:16 Frigga
And you’re talking about the system, the society, the big picture. But it also applies to smaller groups, communities, organizations, because we grew up in this way of thinking and can you switch from the bigger picture to the smaller picture and realize that exactly, these things are also happening in what we so need to to express as our communities and our family and our friends? [Jochem: Yeah] As heathens, because I’m not talking from the heathen point of view as communities, and we consider ourselves to be communities, families, friends. But the same can apply.

35:58 Jochem
Because we are living in this system so we internalize this kind of behaviour as, as well. And I think in our communities, it might be even harder to speak up because our communities are smaller. We know a lot of people, they are our friends, and if we are excluded, we have nothing left. Yeah, I see that in heathen communities. I see it in trans communities and disabled communities.

36:30 Berkeley
It’s really interesting. I, you know, get the privilege of being involved in different spaces. And even I reflect on, you know, some very marginalized communities where I walk into a space and realize that, you know, even though this is a marginalized community and safe space, it’s obviously still not a safe space for black and Asian people from that marginalized community. So, you know, you’re still seeing white faces, a majority white faces. And, you know, it’s like I had, um, a couple of analogies recently where people were saying about going into a workplace, um, being from a specific minority and being the first person from that minority group in that space. And it takes such a lot of work. It’s such a it’s so draining. Um, because you have to do all of the emotional labour for everyone in that space. And that can be exactly the same in a heathen group. You know, it can be exactly the same where you will see majority of cases, you’ll see majority of, I would imagine, you know, able bodied people, probably heterosexual, probably cisgender. Uh, so it’s even in those spaces, it’s still there’s a lot of work that you need to that you have to do as an individual coming from a different, minoritized community. And it’s exhausting, which is why we come back to that need for for allyship. [Jochem: Yeah, indeed.]

38:02 Frigga
And on, on one side, you can understand a lot by experience. If you’re part of a marginalized group, you can be part of this, uh, marginalized group. But that doesn’t mean that you understand things from other marginalized groups. There can be some core in it. And it, you know, the exhausting things and telling stuff over and over again. But you have to be, in my opinion, so aware to keep listening for what is happening there. Can I relate to it? Uh, what am I missing? I’ve said this before also on the podcast, when we started this podcast, I started to realize, oh gosh, I thought I had an open mind. Um, maybe it’s not that open as I thought. And I missed a lot of things, but I also and I will repeat that over and over again: It’s learning. We all need to learn. Yeah, sometimes I feel ashamed for, oh, I miss that. And that’s also, to me, part of being willing to feel uncomfortable. You can feel ashamed or you can feel stupid or and that’s all fine. We’re humans. But are you willing to listen and to learn? [Jochem: Yeah.] And then we can do it together.

39:04 Berkeley
When I was talking earlier about the the local authority, uh, the day I arranged, I was talking to people at the beginning, particularly to the council offices, about, you know, the kind of the ratio of ears to mouth and actually using, you know, 66% of the ears and 33% of the mouth, because actually, that’s the important tool. You know, the listening is the tool because the listening enables the learning and out of learning we have growth and growing. And so therefore that’s so fundamentally important because, you know, we need to we need to listen to those marginalized voices because and amplify them. And that’s the role that we have as an organization is in amplifying those voices. That’s why we do the blogging and the podcasting and the social content and all those tools that we have in our toolkit to amplify. Because we have a platform, we’ve created a platform that enables us to then share those voices so that people can, can hear them and learn from them. And that’s yeah, that then that growth then creates that part of that social change.

40:08 Frigga
Maybe even when at first you when somebody speaks up, you have this again oh but this is aggressive. Just go inside. Why do you think it’s aggressive.

40:20 Jochem
And that reminds me of a quote I heard in, in our, uh, pre-chat, one of you said: if you are used to privilege, equality feels like oppression. And that’s really stuck with me.

40:34 Berkeley
And the other one I used is the pie analogy, which I really like. [Berkeley laughs] You know, the equality is not like pie. You could argue inclusivity. My diversity, my inclusivity doesn’t take away from Frigga. It doesn’t take away from Jochem. It doesn’t take your rights away. My rights don’t take your rights away. And in fact, if we’re advancing rights, we all benefit from those rights actually. So, you know, the the women’s movement and women’s rights have benefited everybody, not just women. So actually we have a much freer, more liberal society as a result of that. Um, so yeah, absolutely.

41:11 Frigga
it is not giving up anything.

41:13 Berkeley

41:14 Jochem
I think this is a good point to close our episode. Is there anything you like to to add or to emphasize?

41:25 Berkeley
For the people listening, I would, as Frigga has said, I think it’s about keeping inquisitive. You know, we, we can never, ever really stop learning. There’s almost more to learn. There’s a wealth of resources and materials out there, some amazing books, fabulous podcasts, and many other resources. Ted talks exposing ourselves to all of those opportunities because that enables our growth. And if you are able to give back, you know, in any way, you know, volunteering, you know, if you want to do really fundamental work, then, you know, go and volunteer at your local refugee centre and help people to, to be uhm, welcome, you know, help people to learn a new language. Um, if that perhaps is your language, your first language. So the things that we can do and the more inclusive space, more inclusive world.

42:22 Jochem
I would like to thank both of you for today. In our next episode, we will dive deeper into the world of inclusivity with our special guest, Sarah of Pagan Federation. It promises to be another interesting episode, so please join us next time. Bye bye.

Frigga: Bye bye.

Berkeley: Bye bye.

[end tune]


1 https://www.diversitytrust.org.uk/

2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbHkh_faQu8

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