North-West London, 2013

As posted on Path earlier today.

One thing I love about this neighbourhood is its diversity. You see and hear more of that in summer, when people live their lives more outdoors, or at least with their windows and doors open. The other night groups of young people were dancing Bollywood-style a few gardens down, yesterday featured cheesy Euro pop tunes from a Polish BBQ party further down, and this afternoon and evening the music and chitter chatter suggested someone was hosting a Yiddish party.

In amongst this, I sometimes have to laugh at my own ignorance… like this afternoon, when the Yiddish music was suddenly shortly interrupted by a tune rather more familiar to my ears: ‘the wheels on the bus go round and round…’ …because for all the ethnic variety, there is plenty of commonality everyone shares. Call it integration.

Plenty of folks deny there is any integration, because of the diversity of skin complexions on show down the High Road. Trust me, people do integrate here. They’re just integrating into 2013 London, which is different from 1963 London, which was different from 1913 London… people integrate into a ‘new normal’ in which there is simply more space for variety.

And however much brown and black people attempt to bleach their skins, while whites try various ways of darkening theirs, London (or any city for that matter) will never be as white and homogenous as it once was.

Just because none of us is likely to ever understand every single linguistic, religious or ethnic aspect of this modern society, doesn’t make that wrong, and most certainly doesn’t justify the intolerance, ridiculing or outright hate I’ve witnessed online just this weekend.

Which is what compelled me to write and share this from my humble abode in a cacophony – not clash! – of cultures. I wish folks would stop antagonising and creating problems that wouldn’t even exist if they hadn’t created them in their own narrow minds in the first place.

P.S. For people who think the above is ‘airy fairy’ and in denial of London or society’s issues, read again, because it’s not. There are plenty of issues that need addressing.

In fact, what I am saying is that there are enough issues already for anyone to put their shallow/narrow minds to creating even more problems by effectively making them up.

Try thinking in solutions rather than in problems.

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