CEO Arun Kang OBE Statement on Intersectionality
George Floyd's murder shocked and devastated the world, the actions of the officers involved were abhorrent and should never have taken place. However, George as we are already aware, was one of many victims of police brutality in the United States of America.
The murders have included, but are not limited to that of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and Breonna Taylor. We want to pause on the case of Breonna Taylor specifically, as here is the most visceral example of how a failure to acknowledge intersectionality can have severe consequences.
The '#SayHerName' emerged as a campaign to highlight that more often than not, the murders of black women by police officers are often overlooked. This is because they neither fall squarely under crimes against women or crimes against black people. As the existing framework of thoughts within society prevents us from seeing the intersect of the two. These deaths are a reflection of both racism and sexism, the two crossover in these cases that society has failed to teach us to recognise and call out. These crimes are committed and then met with inaction, a lack of acknowledgement and overall silence as a result.
The issue here is the law, policymakers and even the media treat issues of discrimination as wholly separate and often overlook how they can intersect to create multi-layered discrimination which has a more negative impact across BAME communities. We do not have workable frameworks implemented in society to enable us to view intersectionality and the detrimental impact it can have. This is true not only in the USA but also for us here in the UK.
Let us review the protected characteristics in the Equality Act (2010). This legislation protects individuals under: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. The protected characteristics were introduced, as each separately had a history of discrimination however, our policymakers and our sport sector lack the understanding and representation of intersectional diversity. Causing a further issue of multi-layered discrimination in the UK which requires resolve.
We have recently called for 20% Black Asian and Minority Ethnic leadership targets. We do not want a tokenistic show of largely male, heterosexual, BAME and able-bodied persons to flood the sports boards, no. We are encouraging intersectionality to be adopted as a framework to review the Code for Sport Governance.
We are actively encouraging policy makers and key bodies to work alongside us so we may explain intersectionality and how we can account for it. The current issue we face in the UK is a lack of diversity and diversity of thought in power making positions. This deficit trickles through society; be that policies, hiring practices or wider culture especially in the sport sector. Intersectionality is important for progress, we cannot move ahead until we acknowledge that discrimination is multi-layered. We need to look more closely at intersectionality, how it negatively impacts BAME communities in sport and what we can do to resolve this.
Until the sector acknowledges this framework, their lack of understanding and commits to move forward seeking insight from those who have knowledge and experience; we will persistently see multi-layered discrimination impacting BAME communities disproportionately. This will lead to a continuation of creating ineffective policies, practices and culture. Thus, failing to deliver inclusive and equal spaces in wider society and sport. Education, advocation and a commitment to tangible actions for change is necessary if we are to overcome these issues.
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