The one and the many

Antiracism is my passion. Getting more people talking about race is my mission. (Along with reading books and drinking tea.)

But it’s impossible to work towards racial justice without also striving for equality for all people.

The Equality Act of 2010 makes it illegal to discriminate against anyone based on these nine protected characteristics.

Ethnicity

Gender Reassignment

Sex

Sexual Orientation

Marital or Civil Partnership Status

Pregnancy and Maternity

Age

Religion

Disability

That’s not to say discrimination doesn’t happen, it certainly does, but, in theory at least, it’s illegal.

Individuals can of course hold one, more than one, or many of these characteristics.

Black people are discriminated against. (There is a 23.8% ethnicity pay gap in London, for example.)

Gay people are discriminated against. (64% of LGBT+ people have experienced anti-LGBT+ violence)

Disabled people are discriminated against. (40% of people with a disability in the UK have problems accessing basic goods and services that are needed on a regular basis.)

Unfortunately, the list goes on.

A person who inhabits more than one of these characteristics faces barriers on multiple levels, in many circumstances. That’s why the skills I described in The Big Five are so important to support equality of all types.

Talking is one thing. The thing I’m most passionate about. Because through conversation, without defensiveness, gaslighting, awkwardness, we can learn. But it’s really just the start.

There are some giant systems to reform. Healthcare. Education. Politics…… And with reports such as the Sewell Report denying the existence of some cold hard truths (my post The I and the System explains a little bit more) there are some powerful forces making equality even harder to achieve.

When I speak to role models who’ve worked in this space for longer than I have, they challenge me hard, because they’ve seen so many people come and go, seen so many companies state things will be different, but in reality, the world continues to treat people differently based on their protected characteristics.

But I’m keeping the faith. Because there are enough of us dedicated to making our world a fairer place – and enough of us supporting each other when things get tough, when the work feels too hard, when the juggernaut of the system feels too large – that together I know we will make a difference.

Change will not come overnight. But together we’re stronger.

I thank all of you again for reading this. Reading this is driving change in itself. I hope it sparks conversations in your communities, conversations that will drive change. Let’s keep going – take care of ourselves, each other – and not give up.

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