“Cultural diversity from a young age is absolutely vital”

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As somebody who enjoyed writing, journalism seemed like the obvious option and so I decided that I needed a figure within my post to look up to. I would sit in front of the television watching Emily Maitilis on the BBC news at about five am every day, dedication at its finest. There was even an opportunity whereby I was able to go to the BBC studio and watch the news live, Maitilis was there and I became even more inspired. I just saw an incredibly talented woman whom I wanted to be like one day. The mind of a child does not wander too far and delve too deep into things but growing up I only recall there being one newscaster that looked like me and that was Trevor Mcdonald on the channel four news. I did not really see it as a problem, rather I observed that the media did lack colour particularly within the academic sector.

Being a child schooling in south east London, my class and school were pretty diverse. There were about eleven of us that were not English and so I did not really feel all that different. Though the curriculum did not specifically focus upon black history, every October there was a celebration of Black History and bodies within the school such as after school clubs did their best to teach on the importance of Black History Month, calling upon iconic black figures such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. One thing I remember most distinctly is my teacher in year three giving me a book on the most famous people in history. Of course there was Adolf Hitler, the lunatic that wished to create a master race but within these pages also lay a silent hero: Rosa Lee Parks. I was incredibly in awe of and inspired by Ms Parks and I truly admired her assertion and her defiance to stand up for what she believed in regardless of the consequences. I thought that people like her were brave and ought to be remembered and so when I was given the opportunity to initiate a name for the building that was to be opened within our school, I suggested that it was called the ‘Rosa Parks’ building. The school opted for Mary Seacole building, which was close enough.

It was when I moved away from culturally diverse London and into Essex that I truly began to stand out. Within the entire school, there were only about four black children, myself included. October came and went and there was no mention of Black History Month during the two years that I was there for. Though I had very strong values and a good sense of who I was as a black child, others may not. I am eternally grateful for having gone to my first primary school because they embedded into the children that every person and every race was important. Cultural diversity from a young age is absolutely vital because children need to know that we are not all the same and being different is not something that ought to be frowned upon but rather understood and embraced. I feel that cultural diversity within the media is slowly evolving but there is still a lack of diversity within academia. For instance, young people that aspire to be politicians are given a false message that in order to be one you must be white, between the ages of forty and sixty and you would have to have gone to the Oxbridge universities. This should not be the image to look up to. Where you can work towards going to an Oxbridge university, you should not feel that your colour is a hindrance to apply for certain posts. This needs to change.

 

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