Is that time of the year again, when people compete with each other to be the number one candidate, and eventually win. It is election time at my university and we are approaching voting week, during which we will be electing our sabbatical team, to lead the student union and represent the views of over 40,000 students. I am excited for this year’s election, because there’s so much diversity! But it hasn’t always been like this, unfortunately!
Before breaking this down, I need to say I am new at my current university, so I cannot speak about what I don’t know; it’s true however, that my experience in student representation does not lie!
(Campaign video by University of Manchester Students’ Union; find me at minute 0:52, I’m explaining why it’s important to stand to be a representative)
I have been working to help/represent my fellow student since I was 16, in secondary school, and I cannot forget the loneliness in my willingness to make change happen. In this struggle to make my education encounter diversity I have always been by myself, so it’s refreshing and great to see so many Black* people standing to be elected as our representatives.
Since I started getting involved in student representation, from Italy to England, I’ve always heard the same song’s chorus – we want diversity.
Yes. We all want diversity, I strive to have diversity, because it’s the only way we can take to decision table the struggles of us all – black, white and everything in between people. But it seems to me that diversity is a song of which we like to sing the chorus and we often forget the rest of the lyrics, like the song of John Lennon – Imagine. But it’s not enough. One’s willingness to have diversity is not enough: diversity is not going to happen just because you want it; you have to work it, if you really want it.
You see, breathe, think, want diversity; but see – your vision is nothing if you retreat from acting, if you don’t show up at decision making, if you don’t want to get work done, if you don’t fight shit! Diversity will happen when you’d decide to actually (and not potentially) want, when you’d activate through act your power, which will always be passive and meaningless unless you do otherwise. Remember Aristotle in your secondary school philosophy class or google potentiality and actuality in Aristotle’s Metaphysics.
Change, and the diversity we are looking for, will really come when instead of singing just the chorus we learn the whole lyrics, when instead of wanting, we act accordingly to achieve what we are longing for.
Change, and the diversity we are looking for, will really come when instead of putting all our hopes on the one Black person that is standing, we have more than one Black person standing to be elected.
Change, and the diversity we are looking for, will really come when Black people will stand not only as ‘Diversity Officer’, but for any position their capability and willingness can fulfil.
Now please google potentiality and actuality in Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Thank you.
(*Black: in this article the term is used in its political sense – people of African, Caribbean, Asian, Latino and Mixed heritage).