“At 15 she was old enough to know what she is doing”. This seems to be the conclusion to the case of Shamima Begum, most lately taken up by the Supreme Court, who in 2015 was an east London 15 year old school girl groomed online to join IS in Syria. The Supreme Court have ruled that she cannot have a fair trial in the UK due to alleged national security concerns associated with returning for it and have approved her British citizenship being removed.

As Wayne Couzens was sentenced to life in prison in October 2021, the devastating case of Sarah Everard’s kidnapping, rape and murder returned to the news. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends as they continue to suffer this excruciating loss. Many of us with marginalised genders are also feeling pain too, in solidarity and for ourselves, knowing this could easily be one of us.

Police in riot gear with helmets and plastic shields in confrontation with those on the left of the image: young people wearing face masks. They are outdoors in a street, shops faintly seen in the background.

In light of the murders in Atlanta by a white man, Robert Aaron Long, of 8 Asian people, 6 of them women, and wider commentary surrounding it, I have put together an offering to those who wish to deepen their understanding of Anti-Asian Racism, specifically with relation to East Asian communities. It is no more than a starting point. I did this for a former participant to support them make sense of what happened. This is not exhaustive, however I hope it might be helpful for those who want to orient themselves with how this violence was made possible and to see how this act was not isolated but in fact part of a longer process — in order for us to strengthen our solidarities with Asian communities. While what follows focuses on America, anti-Asian racism is not confined to that geography but also has happened and is happening in Europe.

You might think this is too obvious a sentence starter to be useful. Of course there is a problem with it, I hear you exclaim — there are many, in fact! But what if the problem wasn’t just how it manifests but also its very conceptualisation?

Many companies are seeking to hire Diversity and Inclusion Leads as a response to what has been revealed to them through the Black Lives Matter uprisings over the last 6 weeks and their confrontation with the absence of their action. If your company is going down this route, we offer some questions that could feature within the interview process.

This week something has become rather popular during these Corona times: articles identifying that countries responding well to the pandemic are led by women leaders doing womanly leadership, see for example here and here.

The spread of the corona virus, people’s responses in the face of information about new ways to behave, alongside government action, offer up illuminating insights for how we can re-think how we bring about change in service of inclusion in our organisations.

Image description: A view from outside a house into a living room as a person reclines on the sofa reading a book. By their front door is a delivery person knocking carrying parcels. Illustration by Brittany England.

ONE. Awareness is not enough.

Words have meanings. And as a general rule, it’s extremely useful to ensure definitionally we are all on the same page — otherwise we can end up in chaos. As such, we wanted to share that we often get asked, “why — given that ageism is an ism — do Fearless Futures not conceive of it as an oppression, when most of the oppressions you explore also have ‘isms’ at the end?”. We answer this pertinent question below using a handy conceptual framework to assist us with this analysis.

This is from the Fearless Futures Newsletter, that goes out weekly on Wednesdays. If you’re like to receive it, please sign up here (link opens in new window).

If you’ve not been confronted with this potent phrase, one among many toxic phrases that dominates ‘diversity’ conversations, then you’re lucky. Challenging the ideas bound up in the ‘lowering the bar’ accusation is central in the battle over who belongs.

Hanna Naima McCloskey

CEO @ Fearless Futures. Educator. Innovator. Design for Inclusion.

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