This was the 12th Little London Community Day and this year they teamed up with Little London Primary School Fair so that they could offer a bigger and better event There was a wonderful feeling here today as a diverse culture come together. Event that had dancing, music, food, families and stalls. We talked about Hilary Benn, 52 languages. We talked about when exactly to step in, what is wanted for young people in Little London, about structuralism/ post structuralism and its influence on what is normal, values of goodness over-riding religious tribes.The head teacher at Little London primary School told us that she is trying to create a culture of thinking and respect- for the children to become citizens of the world – lateral thinkers that thrive and embrace one another. Here are some of the answers people came up with that participated in conversations with us.
What is culture?
I’m not sure I understand the question. Depends on the context and defined parameters. Culture is a construct neither good nor bad
Culture as an identity arises from experience. What is our cultural experience and identity? What is the intention of culture? Is it to make profit, to create happy people, to create a beautiful environment?
Culture is made up of many cultures and sub cultures and can be places for marginalized groups to gather and know that they are not alone. Culture can never be de-politicised because in doing so it leaves the 1% free to do anything they want without us noticing.
Culture and what is considered acceptable and ‘moral’ is a myth created by the people who have the power. It is interesting that the rhetoric has moved to the left over gay marriage – Cameron is an advocate of Thatcher yet he supports gay marriage and that is far to the left of her views. This perhaps reflects the change in the ruling class. Shifts in other areas like ‘not white’ haven’t happened because the demographic of the ruling class hasn’t shifted in that way. If you are not white middle class or upper class, these conversations don’t include you.
What do you relish about Leeds/what does leeds do well?
Its near the city centre.
Diversity is an asset.
I like the colourfulness of the architecture.
The 52 languages and multiple cultures that live here, the fact that such a diverse group come together to have so much fun today ( true unity).
I came to Leeds to work from Jamaica and it is my home, so yes I am proud of this city. I am proud of who I am. My culture. The work I do. The people I help.
There’s been a change for the better in terms of crime rates.
What could Leeds do better?
We are losing cohesion as the cuts continue and continue. It feels like we are heading back to the 70’s. So the real question is: “How does Leeds maintain social cohesion with less resources?”
We need to open the community building back up to the community. We need more activities and more classes, and more bringing of the diverse cultures together.
We need less isolation for older people.
More needs to be done to bring people together.
What would put Leeds on the global map?
Lower our region’s carbon footprint.
Late Night Buses – that’s how a city becomes great for visitors – especially with the cultural offer in our city centre. More buses to all the suburbs in Leeds – the lack of evening services cuts people off in these areas, reducesd the free movement of people around leeds and also it increases traffic/ necessity to use cars.
Cheap or 50p buses – or buses that are paid for so that people can just ride them for free ( this would help massively with the carbon footprint).
Region wide sign up to city led anti racism and xenophobic strategy that is widely known about and promoted – to say people coming to Leeds will know we are inclusive and fair – badges for businesses maybe like the child friendly Leeds badges…could there be an ‘open and inclusive to all people’ badges?
To become known as a caring and inclusive city that fights all of the -isms.
Get rid of the box ticking /data systems and talk with people face to face.
Car free city centre.
City centre green space open air with an outdoor pool and water feature that could be covered by a dome in winter.
Less commercialism in the city, less shops,
more community cohesion.
What is the difference between you and me?
The differences between us are so interesting and bring richness to our lives. Little London is so diverse.
What do you think of your neighbour?
Now that is a right question. So this is quite a story. I am Jamaican and my neighbor is Trindadian ( Asian Trinidadian) and over the years I have taken in her kids when she has been working shifts and helped her out. However, her prejudice against people she sees as African has become apparent over the years, referring to my child as little African and such. One day she crossed the line by her racist reference to my grandson and at that point I drew a line and told her that from that day we were no longer friends/ that I didn’t know her. Sometimes her grandson will be disrespectful ( throwing rubbish over the fence) as he is getting to that age where he learns from those around him how to treat people. This is how racism is learnt. Since then the council have put a 6 ft fence between our gardens. I get on with all my other neighbours though.
When do you step in?
All the time. I work with children in a care home as a support worker and they argue frequently. I usually try not to step in when the altication is verbal, I am just mindful, but at the point it is about to become physical, I step in. I am very good at this. The key is to pre-empt what is going to happen and diffuse/divert it in amore positive direction.
What is your favourite thing?
A photo I have of a dear friend who is now deceased. It’s a moment from our college days ( over fifty years ago) and it is capturing him as he comes through the door. And then it was such a different and more expensive thing taking a photo ( analogue) – one chance to get it. The look on his face – mouth slightly open and looking slightly confused but amused. I saw a picture at his funeral that his daughter put up with that same look and I had never met her but I said to her – we share this, knowing him and that expression. So that is my favourite thing that that expression, that moment in time, and the ‘knowing’ of that person.
Can you love or respect someone that you disagree with?
I spoke with Hilary Benn. He is a nice man. We had an interesting conversation. I strongly disagree with his views on arms and on Corbyn but I respect his right to his opinion. He said many people had not respected his opinion which ahd made him sad.
I wonder about the difference between disrespecting someone’s right to an opinion that I think is morally reprehensible and disrespecting them as a person. And if I respect or am respectful to that opinion – am I diluting my resolve against what is abhorrent? Should the intolerable be tolerated? 291 billion pounds to kill innocent people in order to potentially save other innocent lives? This is our flawed defence system. Why is one life more important than another? When is enough enough? Where do we draw the line?
When do you laugh at yourself?
When I catch myself thinking I exist. The last time I laughed at myself was this am when my bag toppled me backward as I was climbing a fence and I just hung their upside down- a little ridiculous.
What is normal?
Normal is inequity and inequality between people on a daily basis – which is a travesty! That THAT is normal?
Normal is a successful myth designed to divide and rule communities across the planet agreed by elite, so they can profit. The ruling class control the main lines of communication and capital. The defined constructs of ‘normal’ are a myth.