Durkheim

All posts tagged Durkheim

Diversity is not an Ugly Word

Published March 31, 2012 by Katy J Went

Last week the Archbishop of C said that “society is in danger of becoming fragmented by a preoccupation with homosexual rights, feminism and separate racial identities, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned. Dr Rowan Williams claimed that identity had become a ‘slippery’ word and that, while much had been achieved for minority groups, it was time to focus on the common good.” (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2121411/Gay-rights-obsession-damage-society-Outspoken-Archbishops-warning-minorities-agenda.html)

This week police were caught on camera boasting of strangling a black ni****, yet also a Gurkha was let off being added to a domestic abuse register and awareness course due to cultural differences, ie it was ok to hit women where he came from, and a 5yo girl was among the 150 forced marriages investigated under the age of 15 in the UK last year, for which no criminal offence exists. At the same time a conference of African-American pastors rejected LGBT identities and rights, despite the experience of oppression and prejudice themselves they allowed religion to override a common experience of injustice. My memory of the Scriptures is that justice and minorities were incredibly important to God in both Testaments. Micah 6:8, what does God love, but to do justice. Jesus was drawn to minority groups such as sex workers, women, children, working class fishermen, rebels & revolutionaries, Samaritans, Gentiles, Romans, lepers, eunuchs, outcasts…

I’ve been signed off by my Dr for the next stage of Gender Transition having what is called Gender Identity Disorder. My individual identity and right to transition is important to me, as is my sense of belonging to a social & sexual gender group. These do not alienate me from the common good. Indeed, in teaching and training on Trans identity, rights and respect I have learned even more about gender, sexuality, culture and more about all groups and identities and not just my own.

Identity, Culture, Minorities, Rights need not fragment or destroy society, indeed Durkheim argued that they could cohere a society as part of a cultural common group consciousness that outweighed the cult of the individual. He argued that cultural diversity could enable emotional belonging to groups and fostered internal interaction, when that is twinned with mutual understanding and interactions of groups and minorities, common interests then society bonds in the common good. 

Now is the time to celebrate cultures, identities, minorities, *diversity is not an ugly word*, it is a beautiful fact of creation/evolution, indeed necessary to healthy survival in an evolutionary worldview.