To conform or not to conform

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Every community has notions about what is regarded as genteel behaviour. Individuals can opt to conform to that way of being, or they can choose to live on the margins. When a person has more than one set of cultural practices to consider, he or she has to exert more energy to fit in with social codes than those who only know one way of doing things. This is not rocket science, but it isn’t immediately obvious to everyone as we go about our daily business.

Over the last few decades, there have been many changes of attitude within the UK’s ethnic minority communities. There was a time when it was regarded as dodgy to want to conform to the mainstream way of doing things. Nowadays, there are quite a few public figures from those communities who seem to have been rewarded for setting fine examples of ways to conform.

If there was a hidden agenda from “the establishment” to contain non-conformist energies, is it possible that the plans were turned upside down by the recent bungling of matters related to the Windrush generation controversy?

Deep down inside, how do we come to terms with the unsavoury aspects of our history? What do we really feel about our identities as a collective?

On a global scale, where do folks of African descent draw their strength and inspiration from? Are there simple answers to these questions? If not, would it be helpful to examine the complex answers in more detail, so we can all be clearer about where we stand?