Ask any Londoner what they like most about the capital, and diversity will no doubt rank quite high up on their list. But paradoxically, with more than 300 languages spoken and one in three Londoners born outside of the UK, shouldn’t we be past the issue of racial inequality in our society?
TV presenter, June Sarpong attempts to answer this question in her new book: Diversify, Six Degrees of Integration: Because the world is separate enough. The book looks at what we can do as a society to level the playing field with regard to ensuring we all have equal access to opportunities.
In a recent article in Evening Standard, June explained: “It seems that if you are not a white man in the UK then your income is likely to be much lower. Using data from big national surveys research shows how much the incomes of all women and men differed from those of white men — looking at those who were in work or looking for work. Adding up all those shortfalls means the rest of the population loses out by a whopping £127 billion per year compared with their white male counterparts.”
Let’s face it. None of this is news. We’ve known for a very long time that there are huge hurdles facing people of black and minority ethnic origin, but with stats showing the true cost of the inequality, we can only hope that the figure is big enough that the powers that be will want to kick start a change.
The time has come too, for us to become the change that we want to see. June continues: “I believe the change starts with all of us individually. We all have to face our uncomfortable truths — our isms, our fears, our prejudices — and stop doing the uncomfortable splutter when the subject of difference comes up. Let’s be honest: we like what we know and what feels familiar and therefore we will all feel challenged by people and situations that are unfamiliar to us. Once we admit that then we can commit to doing something about it, widen our social circles and explore communities and cultures we might otherwise avoid.”
Diversify: Six Degrees of Integration is out now.
Buy your copy here.