Male and pale

Bernadine Evaristo

I’m male, pale and perhaps a bit stale, or so the saying goes. There is not much I can do about the first two but I hope I can work on the last point. Perhaps there is something I can do though. I could start by thinking about the issues around diversity and try to understand the problems that others may face.

The benefit of being white and male is that I am at the top of the heap. I get all the inbuilt benefits that our biased system offers. It is easier for me to get a job, it is easier for me to get finance and it is easier for me to access services. When I say easier, I am comparing myself to other genders, ethnicities and those with a disability.

How do I know this? Over the last few months I have made a conscious effort to engage in the issue of diversity.  I have taken part in efforts by organizations to start to address these issues, talking to people such as Fareeha at Dynamo and Lyndsey and Lynsey at 50:50 Future. There are many others that I wish to talk to and can’t wait until the COVID restrictions are lifted.

I have also started reading books by a more diverse range of authors. Some have talked directly about discrnination such as ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge, while others have talked about what it is like to be female and of colour, such as ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernadine Evaristo. I have also tapped into the excellent range of books from Persephone Books, which focuses on lesser known and forgotten female writers.

Apart from the fact that I have now read some amazing books, they have given me an insight into how privileged I really am (something I had not been aware of), the problems that others face, why diversity is so important and how difficult an issue it is to resolve.

I am not writing this blog as a ‘look at me, aren’t I great!’ but rather to say that there is plenty that you can do to get started in thinking about diversity. There is a lifetime of thinking ahead to go but as someone who is on top of the pile, I feel it is incumbent upon people in my position to make a start.

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