Diversity?

 

With dreamy eyes

I land at Heathrow

Clueless.

New people, new norms, new society

Suddenly, challenge my identity.

Don’t know what to do; and how,

I question myself constantly.

 

A beautiful word is diversity

But for the powerful only;

A sign of struggle it is

For the powerless

Seeking validation in a new society.

 

In Ustinov today,

We talk diversity.

But why, in the same place,

Do barbecues happen in Ramadan?

And no one thinks it’s wrong?

Why is there a bar

But no prayer room?

Why we get ovens,

But no rice cookers?

Why there are pub quizzes

But no K-bars?

 

Why do the elected few not represent the group?

Easy to blame the quiet for not participating,

But truth is, by default, our systems alienate the ‘others’.

Not challenging these; is a crime we all commit.

We elect leaders, through a process we call democratic,

But how can it be so, if our definition of leader, only Anglo-centric?

 

Diversity.

The rhetoric sounds great,

But no one wants to deconstruct

Their own reality.

No one wants the pain

Of learning that their ‘normal’ is just theirs,

Of making space for other versions of ‘normal’, and find;

The courage to appreciate ‘the other’.

It’s not just the race, country, or gender

What about the diversity in culture, expression, opinion?

 

Easier it is, to scoff at those who are different

Question their social construction

Label them abnormal and wrong.

 

But,

 

Aren’t we all the same, yet different?

Why then

So difficult it is

To drop our assumptions

And accept

That people are different?

Why do we even

Have to talk diversity?

What else is there, if no diversity?

Treat everyone equally, easier said to ‘them’, than to ourselves,

But why is it still on our agendas, in the 21st century?

 

We all will cry in desperation

“It’s not me, it’s them; I do nothing wrong.”

But let me tell you this- there’s no hiding,

For we are all guilty

Of not treating everyone equally.

 

 

Words by Gaurish Chawla.