Short post from me today because it’s Day 2 of #JSWEC, the morning after Social Care Curry and I’ve a workshop to run later today and I’m selling VivaCards, so lots and lots of reasons why this can’t be a long or detailed post. I offer that context to also point out that this is not a well considered or reflective post, it’s just me sharing where I’m at with the world.
Last week (following Bubbgate) I wrote a post about social cares love of a false dichotomy, this week I am seeing it invested on a micro level. Last night there was a panel debate at JSWEC on A Question of Social Work. Take a look at the hashtag on twitter to get a flavour, suffice to say I was completely underwhelmed. Lots of talk about social work or academia, ‘dead’ or inspirational practice, adults or children….we’re obsessed with these bloody dichotomies, and it helps no-one.
This morning I was greeted by a tweet clearly stating that ‘Only parents see the real crisis’ this was in relation to the #JusticeforLB campaign. Maybe it was just a slip of the finger, maybe it was actually meaning what the author went on to clarify, about her own fear for her child and so on. This is real, and valid, and needs to be acknowledged. The first statement though, that’s just exclusionary. The making an issue about parents, or about LD, or about ‘insert a.n.other group’, is no different to the level of dichotomy in our debate last night.
Debs flagged this in relation to the JusticeforLB campaign ten days ago, in her post Divided we fall:
However, the one thing that continues to amaze me is the fact that so much of our strife and stress comes not from practitioners and poor systems, but from other fellow-parents or from those who are supposedly there to support us – those who should know better – not working together or judging us.
Recently, there was an amazing social media campaign: 107 days – Justice for LB. The one thing I loved most about this campaign was the absolute solidarity it created. Everyone stood with LB’s family and supported them. Everyone was working together towards the same goal. I felt proud to be part of that amazing Community. We all left egos at the door, politics and personalities didn’t matter; everyone just wanted to get on board and work together.
Then the campaign finished, making some great achievements in the process, but with it went that feeling of togetherness and a true team. We have quickly reverted back to making it about ourselves and how these thing affect us rather than thinking “wow, we managed to achieve some great things together, what next?”
The minute you start identifying as a group or tribe by any characteristic, you immediately exclude some. The minute you reduce human rights issues to a particular group issue, you immediately exclude some. The minute you make discussions about social work or research, you immediately exclude some. Maybe I’m naive (I’m fairly confident I am) but why can’t we focus on a collective whole, what we all have in common, what we want to achieve. Why can’t we talk about our work or our passions and the difference it makes, rather than our professional/personal labels?
The only future I can see is one of collective response and responsibility. As someone tweeted in the debate last night we’ve been having these conversations for about 40 years, and I dread to think how many more people need to die before something is actually changed with provision to prevent that. Final thought on this for now is from Seth Godin:
‘“Life’s too short” is repeated often enough to be a cliche, but this time it’s true. You don’t have enough time to be both unhappy and mediocre. It’s not just pointless, it’s painful’.
Taken from his book on tribes ‘Tribes: we need you to lead us’, well worth a read. Oh, and this is the only sort of camp I’d want to be on these days: