A new organisation, the Superdiversity Centre, sprung up last week, launching two reports: "The Superdiversity Stocktake: Implications for Business, Government and New Zealand" and "The Superdiversity, Democracy and New Zealand’s Electoral and Referenda Laws."
At 350 pages with the Executive Summary on page 215, excuse me for not reading the Stocktake. When I finally found the Executive Summary and skimmed its nine point font, it said Government needed to move faster on superdiversity because its responsiveness to ethnic diversity is slower than business.
The Electoral and Referenda Laws report is slightly more digestible at 69 pages but I could still only bring myself to skim its equally small typefaced Executive Summary, albeit more logically located on page 4. It, like the Stocktake, defines 'superdiversity' as NZ's ethnic and migrant population. The report makes the point that this population is increasing and warns of under-representation in voting if laws don't include access for non-English speaking citizens.
The following is what I shared on Saturday night, added to by my co-director Lesley Slade, with the 2015 graduates of the Be. Leadership programme:
Leadership is a tough gig. Leadership development is even tougher.
It requires the acumen of leadership while sitting with discomfort, confusion and a reconstruction of self. It also requires staying in a process while wanting to run away; and leaving behind attitudes and behaviours you may hold dear.
Today I was honoured to be recognised in the first ever assessment of the world’s leading authorities on diversity.
I am concerned by the ethical argument brewing between the parents of Charley Hooper — who have finished a series of surgeries and hormone therapy to contain her growth and development — and disability/human rights advocates like Disability Rights Commisioner Paul Gibson — who has said the procedure was "unnecessary" and "inconsistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)."
The Hoopers say they have "no regrets" about stopping the growth of their daughter — who "has less control over her body than a newborn, with no head control and no purposeful movement of any limbs. She is blind and does not recognise anyone, including her parents." The procedure has also stopped Charley from having 200 seizures per day and has resulted in her smiling for the first time.
Gibson is calling for a law change to protect the rights of disabled children as a result of the Hooper situation. But whose call is it to define the "rights" and "protection" of children in circumstances such as this?
"Conversations with God" author Neale Donald Walsche tweeted about good and bad a couple of days ago. It got me thinking about diversity.
As you know, my perspective reframes the model of categorisation and representation, which most people associate with diversity. For me diversity is the synergy of our uniqueness and commonality.
But Walsche's tweet got me thinking again. He said:
If there's one thing you can seldom plan for, it's conflict. Unless you're purposely pushing for an emotional rupture, or you're entering a meltdown situation with prior warning, conflict usually blind-sides you.
It's one of those, "you think one thing's going to happen and something else does" moments, about which Kathryn Schulz muses.
All the hindsight in the world doesn't help. It's been said or done, can't be unsaid or be undone because, damnit, linear time travel hasn't been invented yet. Parallel time travel — well that's another post.
Helen Razer writes of her sense of hopelessness about the future over on The Daily Review citing, as causal examples, things like "the Global Citizens Festival, which attracted very positive international press, Sexy Celebs and a sell-out crowd of 60,000 ... an event that seeks to, and succeeds in, engaging young persons..." but which supports naïve UN Sustainability Goals — and the World Bank, which creates the poverty that the GCF purports to condemn.
Razer exemplifies nude selfie victim Jennifer Lawrence as another reason to lose hope, after the actress implied that pay inequity was a result of women not being tough enough with their bosses. Helen rightly points out that, without "J-Law's" privilege, toughing out their bosses would leave most women fired.
I share Helen's hopelessness for the future of humanity — a hopelessness without which, she muses, there can be no hope. Though a lot of my work involves promoting ways we can more constructively engage with one another, my reflection is that I feel a further burden: a wry sense of helplessness to impact on the world in any meaningful way.
I got a fair bit of flack for the post I wrote on Friday, asking disabled people to toughen up and stop telling their stories of hardship in public. I also criticised inspirational speakers, as well as media portrayal of disabled people triumphantly doing ordinary things.
I'm not used to the kind of negative vitriole with which a few people responded — it was quite affronting and upsetting. Nevertheless, I should note, my disparaging audience was balanced ten-fold by those who liked the post. I've been reflecting on the reason for the offence and, prompted by a question by a more balanced commenter, why I feel so strongly about this issue. After all, strong reactions are mainly fuelled by psychological projection.
So, what I wrote was about me, not about the people I criticised. To answer the question, "Why is it affecting you personally so strongly?" I've reflected on what's going on for me.
I've been busy the last few weeks so I haven't had time to blog for a while. This is a quickie to keep Google happy and it's a bit of a gripe.
I want disabled people, people with disabilities, impairments, invisible or otherwise, to harden up.
Not in a "don't express your feelings" way but in a "if we're ever going to be accommodated in the world, we've got to stop portraying ourselves publicly as traumatically wounded, emotionally over-dramatic, irritatingly inspirational and sensationally triumphant" way.
It's been frustrating watching both the flag and Hungarian refugee debates play out simultaneously in the media over the past couple of weeks. Separately they are issues that create division over varying opinions but, together, both issues raise a far more complex and, in my opinion, important question:
Why, in a hyper-globalised and -connected world, do we continue to put so much emphasis on the notions of nations and borders?
I really couldn't give a toss about NZ's flag — I don't particularly like the current one but then, I don't like flags in general. I think they are ridiculous symbols of patriarchy and patriotism, created in military or naval contexts, and their use was extended beyond these contexts in the 18th century due to a rise in nationalism.