Inclusivity is still being lauded but, I’m sorry, it just doesn’t cut the mustard. That is, unless we radically redefine it.
It was all well and good to introduce political inclusivism as a new-age stepping stone to a happier tomorrow in the post-war era but in reality there was no chance of that happening. Multiculturalism, the cornerstone of the UK’s once celebrated inclusive cultural outlook was repudiated in 2011 by a new Conservative Government intent on buck-passing and scapegoating muslim communities for a racially-motivated fake scandal for which there has never been an apology. So, we balanced on that shaky little stepping stone for a while but, instead of hopping onto the next, we slowly slid rearwards into the putrefied stagnant backwaters of post-war cultural assimilationism. A place where non-white British communities are expected to adopt British values and characteristics (a dubious concept to say the least) and repress all desires to embrace their cultural heritage. This is the evil of white normativity, the match that eventually sparked global anti-racist movements. It’s not overtly racist. It’s definitely not anti-racist. But it is still, theoretically, inclusive. That’s why I get my back up when inclusivism is hailed as the be-all and end-all.
Let me employ some drama to express things more clearly. An overriding problem within ostensibly inclusive societies is that there is still an overwhelming sentiment of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’, and the ‘Us’ holds all the cards. Welcome, welcome! We welcome you into Our great society. Yes, of course! – we are not racists! At least not in the traditional sense – what? No, no – a mere idiom. Of course, we will include you in Our ways of living! What’s ours is y– Uhum! Just remember, though, this is Our society; we do things Our way, not Your way. Oh! – and, er, by the way… erm, it’s just by the by, but there are terabytes of small print attached; you know, the ‘terms and conditions’, the incomprehensible stuff. Ah, but you needn’t worry your little brains with that, it’s just a load of jargon anyway – don’t worry about it! Welcome, welcome, welcome! This is what the politics of acculturation looks like. It existed for decades.
To emphasise this point, in 1971 the Department for Education and Science encouraged teachers to help “each individual immigrant to become a citizen who can take his or her place in society…”.
Small print: Acculturation is paramount.
This was premised on the belief that “educational difficulties” were created by immigrant children rather than, what’s more likely, by inadequacies with the British education system itself. Asian stereotypes were employed in this rationale to imply that immigrant parents were culpable too.
Small print: Just remember, it’s Our way or the highway! We ain’t changing how We do things for no one.
This was the manifest political policy of so-called ‘state multiculturalism’; the supposed inclusion of Commonwealth peoples into Britain in the post-war era (a ‘thanks’ for letting us exploit their natural resources and people and for their help, in spite of that, in defeating the Axis powers) and Europeans in the 90s and 00s which persisted, at least in political rhetoric, until 2011 when, in a fashion that’s more inline with its imperialist-terroristic history (as in the reality of past events, rather than what’s taught in schools and on TV), Britain began its risible transition into becoming an exclusionary sovereign state.
Transculturalism was the destination for which multiculturalism was supposed to be a mere stepping stone. It’s the destination we never arrived at. The place we are supposed to be, were it not for the Murdochian empire, social media, Farage, Cambridge Analytica et al. Transculturalism is an idea that was pinched out of thin air by the Left and blown back as a vapour by the Right. It’s an idea that embraces a culture that acknowledges the entanglement of all human civilisations. It recognises that the world has always been and will always be in a process of perpetual flux – especially so the age of globalisation. It is a “term that does not suggest the idea of one culture having to lean towards another, but of a transition between two cultures, both active and participating parties, both contributing in their own ways, cooperating in the advent of a new civilisational reality.”
Transculturalism is the acceptance that the Us and the Them can peacefully transform each other and willingly become transformed whilst embracing their respective histories and customs, realising the interdependence of everything and merging into a new, normalised Universal-Us. Crucially, it involves embracing an outward-looking form of inclusivism, rather than a repressive inward-looking one. This is the small print which must be added to the inclusivist’s banner. For if they don’t, we’ll continue to fall backwards into the grime rather than to leap forwards into the light.