As bridge-builders, interculturalists have a lot of work to do
I’m going to be honest with you. I have written this blog once already – I fully expressed my views and vented my frustrations as to the recent events in the UK. I am now taking all those words back and starting again.
Why? I can pick holes and point to the lies all day but nothing is going to change. The only thing that will change is the future.
So the only thing left is to look forward, to the future and consider how I can change it to fight against a version of it that I dread, yet seemingly could happen.
Anyone who shares a vision of the now and the future where cultures come together, mingle, imagine, create and prosper has to recognise there is work to be done in spreading a positive message about immigration, about cultural difference, about understanding and about empathy.
Let’s be clear immigration was key to the debate; it was forced upon us even if it wasn’t part of our personal debates around the core question of EU membership. In certain parts of the country however it was the debate - and I speak from personal experience here unfortunately.
Some people voted simply out of negativity to the foreigner; interculturalists need to look hard at this.
There is a lot of mistrust between communities. It is now being expressed more fervently and confidently. Hate crimes have already risen post-Brexit – surprise, surprise. People don't feel welcome.
Do not be fooled into thinking that this is a spike and will end in a few days or weeks, If anything, this could get worse. As people realise immigration actually wont change, that their lives haven't in fact benefited, that all their frustrations were unresolved, that they haven't got their country back - who do you think they will vent this out on? Yes, you guessed it.
Bridge Builders Needed
In short, we have to stop this and we have to start building bridges.
If you share that vision of a cross-cultural future, we have to start building them right now. Not only helping in trying to heal communities but to bring an end to this antiquated way of looking at your fellow man.
Children and the young must be the focus – we have to give this generation the tools to go forward and be able to work with the world. We do not want more Farage’s in this world. No thank you.
We all have a responsibility and a focus now to bring people together – to get them understanding the incredibly positive things that come from mingling and mixing cultures.
All of us have a role we can play.
Government must start looking at the immigration process, supports needed and how to turn it into a positive experience for all stakeholders.
Local authorities must have progressive policies in place to nurture on-the-ground initiatives designed to unite communities and celebrate being different.
Schools must start talking about racism again in an open manner on top of introducing learning that is much more impactful in helping children thinking of themselves as part of a wider world.
Academics need to support us all with brilliant research and clear evidence of the benefits of bringing cultures together, of the fruits we see in everything from music to cinema to trade to language.
Cross cultural training companies, such as ourselves first and foremost, should all have initiatives starting now as to how we can help people beyond our training courses for business.
How can you help?
Everyone and anyone can do something positive in turning this sour atmosphere around. 48% may not have chosen this path but 48% can make a huge difference now in shaping it.
One little thing every single one of us can do is to reach out to anyone in their community that could be feeling vulnerable right now. Let them know how you truly feel and let them know that this will get better and let them know there is a plan in place to stop this.
However you can get involved or do something, please do it. Now is the time to demonstrate, to demonstrate kindness, decency, fairness, empathy and love.
Don't let the haters in.