Take a look at this video – in just three minutes it says everything that needs to be said about the problematic way in which we have constructed human identity – Three Beautiful Human Minutes by Asger Leth – YouTube
It shows just how our multicultural policies have failed to recognise that the ethnic, faith and other boxes have created stereotypes and caricatures that deny our common humanity.
It is not an entirely new idea, the publication of ‘You Can’t Put Me in a Box’ in 2010 (see under community cohesion resources for 2010) pointed out the absurdity of the boundaries that we have invented for ourselves. But we still fall back on crude categorisation of people as ‘black’, ‘white’, ‘Christian’, ‘Muslim’ and many more such boxes. I have written elsewhere about the need to move away from the ‘groupist’ philosophy of multiculturalism towards a much more intercultural approach, but we have a long way to go.
At the present time, one of the worst offences is the way in which we categorise ‘Muslims’. This is not just the use of this in academic, policy and more general parlance, but it is institutionalised through the UK’s Prevent strategy. Both the last Government and the present one have only seen Muslims through the lens of their Muslimness and failed to engage with them as people with ordinary and everyday concerns. The last Government at least had their community cohesion strategy and whilst it struggled to keep this separate from its counter terrorism policy, the present Government has no form of engagement outside of Prevent. The stereotype is thus reinforced – and more worrying used to stir up fear and hatred.
Let’s hope that Ministers (and policy makers generally) are convinced by this film, when so many words have failed!