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  • Writer's pictureCarmen Sianne

2

diversity

/dʌɪˈvəːsɪti,dɪˈvəːsɪti/

1. the state of being diverse; variety.


2. the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.


Coming from the route word:

divert

/dʌɪˈvəːt,dɪˈvəːt/

1. cause (someone or something) to change course or turn from one direction to another.


To change course. Change is often what we as humans fear most. Philosophers and scholars have spent thousands of years trying to decipher the meaning of life and most agree that the only thing we can truly rely on, is the evolution of our present situation.


Nothing is permanent and fluidity must be embraced to thrive in a world that can be disorganised, dusted with uncertainty and vivid reminders of days gone by. Those days may have been good or bad, that is a matter of perspective, but what cannot be denied is that the wheel will keep turning and life will move forward, whether we like it or not.


So, let’s take a second to play the ‘diversity means change’ game...and we may find some answers as to why we have seen little progress with diversifying the climbing community until recent years.

status quo

/ˈkwəʊ/

noun

1. the existing state of affairs, especially regarding social or political issues.

"they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo"



I’ll save you the tirade about capitalism and rich people staying rich, for now…as I think it’s important to talk about the other side of that coin. We forget that the status quo can often be a comfortable place for those less privileged than we might imagine.


Where is the place you feel the most comfortable, not happy...comfortable? If you’re lucky, it’s the same place you call home. Maybe it’s in a dangerous location, or you’d prefer better weather but it’s what you know and love. The people you love are there, the little trinkets you hold dear are nearby, and you know the streets or land like the back of your hand.

It’s yours, it’s private, you don’t want to leave and it’s not to be shared with just anyone…

Leaving home is usually necessary at some point in our adult lives. Many of us get it right the first time on our own because we had good teachers warning us about things that might trip us up along the way. However many of us didn’t get a heads up.


Why am I making metaphors about Home and Dad rock you might ask?

Well because the status quo is home. It’s not necessarily the best place for us but we know it well and taking that first step outside of what we know is often the most difficult challenge we face in life.

So, seeing as climbing is home for many of us, it’s understandable that we fear evolution of the thing we hold so dearly to our hearts. What is often forgotten however, is that like the carpets being removed in place of a shiny wooden floor and the dusty old curtains making way for crisp new blinds…changes are generally upgrades.


Some of us don’t have the correct guidance and don’t want to open the front door, let alone step outside because what awaits can be scary and unknown.

What doesn’t help is when the media, your peers and sometimes even employers point out loudly and consistently that you’re probably going to fail at leaving home anyway, because most people like you that try it, end up in trouble of some sort.

What if you’re told that your ideal home, is filled with people who look like those in the media telling you you’re no good.

They speak the same language, have the same jobs, wear the same clothes and have the same haircuts as all the people you’ve spent life defending yourself to. The ones who cross the street when they see you coming, who laugh at you for wearing The North Face in a city and judge you when you don’t understand why there is a need to sign a waiver form that you don’t understand to have a go at something that comes so naturally and intuitively to us all…yeah, I digressed a bit, but you use where I’m going with this?


This is why representation is important:

To expect newcomers to be inspired by those same people is quite troubling to me. They’re the ones you’re supposed to believe when they say that your dreams can come true. The people that possess what you desire and those who achieve the things know you can, look and act nothing like you; Don’t listen to the same kind of music or hang out with the same kind of people, and mor e often than not, don’t want to know you or anything about you, in fact, ultimately, they think you don’t belong.

It’s emotionally conflicting at best, damaging at worst.

Why would anyone want to move in with them?

…surely, you’d want to stay at home with the people that are nice to you surrounded by things, sounds, smells and tastes that make you feel like you’re in your home?


What we need to do is make sure our climbing ‘living rooms’ leave space for new people to start leaving their own little reminders of home for everyone that visits. And appreciating and celebrating those things lovingly left behind, for others to enjoy. Not just the select few who have been popping in for a cuppa for years.


I believe we face an issue of class within climbing. The subsequent problem is, the line between the class and race is a very thin one, especially in the UK.

I believe we should endeavour to understand this better, we must properly research the demographics of our community so that we can learn how to protect and uplift everyone within it. We must continue to learn.

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