Saluting sisters: celebrating the impact of Black British women This Black History Month, we are focusing on the history, legacies and lasting impact of Black women. With so much online content focused on Afro-Americans, I have tried to centre Black …

Black History Month in the Library 2023 Read more »

We are continually told that to make sense of the world being pulled over our eyes, we need media literacy to understand how and when we are being lied to by generative AI that is amplifying the biases in existing media reporting, entrenching inequalities and teaching people from early childhood. What is terrifying is that unless we are very careful, we will never notice because it is not given to humankind to question things that meet our expectations. A brief sojourn through the ways we are manipulated shows us how we are being led deeper into the mire of our existing societal prejudices and also how we can choose to begin the slow process of wading back out again.

Built exclusively by and for privileged white people, these places are naturally exclusive. It is built into their cultural DNA. Diversity has been such a recent afterthought that it is unsurprising how difficult it is to disentangle the closely interweaved cultures of academic publishing, higher education and the schools that precede both for future academics to even begin to root out the ethnic and intersectional discrimination inherent in the system.

Lesbian Visibility Week started in Western California before being brought to the UK and promoted by the Diva media group four years ago to counter the marginalisation of lesbians in general and help counter the myth that there was any generalised conflict between cis-gendered lesbians and trans women.

Rounding off the tour of neurodivergence, although I am sure there are many lesser-known conditions I am leaving out, we have the widely misunderstood Tourette syndrome and acquired neurodiversity. Overlooked by most people, being neurotypical early in life is no guarantee that a person will die still neurotypical. Everything from brain injury to disease can push someone out of the narrowly defined box bounding what is considered neurotypical.

Not all neurodiversity affects only mental processes. Brain and body work as one, and so conditions such as dyspraxia and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder can impact both mental and physical functioning. In our culture, where presentation is everything, being unusually clumsy, awkward or restless puts people at an immediate disadvantage. Once again, society and rigid, unyielding social expectations, rather than any inability inherent in the individual is what is disabling about the condition.

Many people have grown up being told they are stupid simply because their brains are wired in ways that make some fundamental skills in reading and writing more difficult to acquire. Dylsexia can make working with the written word much harder than creative and verbal subjects, while dyscalculia presents numerous challenges to learning mathematics. Fundamental assumptions about how people perceive the world are baked into the way these subjects are taught, which makes them very challenging for many people. For many, the answer is to play to their strengths and pursue a career in the creative and cultural industries.

Another spectrum condition, autism, may affect up to five different areas of activity and experience to very different extents. As a result, autistic people are very different to one another, from social and behavioural differences that help navigate an uncertain world, sensory differences, highly focused interests that offer relief, but often extreme anxiety.