Saturday, February 18, 2012

Equality is not a spectator sport

In the generation since we were denounced as the "loony left" for opposing discrimination at work there has been some genuine progress.

The public sector equality duty (which even this Government won't touch) seeks to enshrine in statute a proactive approach to challenging the consequences of oppression.

The duty will, increasingly, generate data with which we can illustrate, in order to understand and then to change, the discriminatory outcomes which are produced by racism, sexism and other oppressions.

It is important that trade unionists - and Labour politicians - go beyond the letter of the law to the spirit of belief in equality. Otherwise equality impact assessments will simply illustrate discrimination for our edification.

Trade unions also need to support self-organisation by those of our members with direct experience of oppression - and we clearly need to win this argument anew with each generation of activists.

UNISON's current review of self-organisation (http://jonrogers1963.blogspot.com/2011/05/building-future-of-equality-in.html?m=1) about which June's National Delegate Conference will receive an interim report must become the occasion to provide answers to those such as the white activist who asked recently why she should be excluded from black members meetings.
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