Created by Zoe Parker, Lucy Meredith and Jason Hird, Tea & Tolerance is a roaming tea caddy, travelling festivals and events in search of what makes a 21st Century Human. They added questions about culture in Leeds to their teapots and headed to Little London Community Day collecting answers as they went, and shared the results here.
This was the 12th annual Little London Community Day and this year they teamed up with Little London Primary School Fair so that they could offer a bigger and better event. The event was friendly with a whole array of things to watch, participate in, eat and listen to. We saw a culturally diverse families from the local community (and beyond) coming together to have a fun time. Here are some of the answers people came up with that participated in conversations with us.
What is Culture?
I’m not sure I understand the question. Depends on the context and defined parameters. Culture is a construct neither good nor bad.
Culture as an identity arises from experience. What is our cultural experience and identity? What is the intention of culture? Is it to make profit, to create happy people, to create a beautiful environment?
Culture is made up of many cultures and sub cultures and can be places for marginalized groups to gather and know that they are not alone. Culture can never be de-politicised because in doing so it leaves the 1% free to do anything they want without us noticing.
Culture and what is considered acceptable and ‘moral’ is a myth created by the people who have the power. It is interesting that the rhetoric has moved to the left over gay marriage – Cameron is an advocate of Thatcher yet he supports gay marriage and that is far to the left of her views. This perhaps reflects the change in the ruling class. Shifts in other areas like ‘not white’ haven’t happened because the demographic of the ruling class hasn’t shifted in that way. If you are not white middle class or upper class, these conversations don’t include you.
What does Leeds do well?
We’re near the city centre.
Diversity is an asset.
I like the colours in the architecture around here. It is friendly and has a modern theme. I wondered whether it could spell out words rather than just be colours – like WELCOME….would that work?
The 52 languages and multiple cultures that live here, the fact that such a diverse group can come together to have so much fun today.
I came to Leeds to work from Jamaica and it is my home, so yes I am proud of this city. I am proud of who I am. My culture. The work I do. The people I help.
There’s been a change for the better in terms of crime rates in Little London.
What could Leeds do better?
We are losing cohesion as the cuts continue and continue. It feels like we are heading back to the 70’s.So the real question is: “How does Leeds maintain social cohesion with less resources?”
We need to open the community building back up to the community. We need more activities and more classes, and more bringing of the diverse cultures together.
We need less isolation for older people.
More needs to be done to bring people together.
What would put Leeds on the global map?
A low carbon footprint or perhaps aiming towards zero food waste in the city – this is the starting place of The Real Junk Food Project after all.
Late Night Buses – that’s how a city becomes great for visitors – especially with the cultural offer in our city centre. More buses to all the suburbs in Leeds – the lack of evening services cuts people off in these areas, reduces the free movement of people around Leeds and also it increases traffic/ necessity to use cars.
Cheap or 50p buses – or buses that are paid for so that people can just ride them for free (this would help massively with the carbon footprint).
Region wide sign up to city led anti racism and xenophobic strategy that is widely known about and promoted – so that people coming to Leeds will know we are inclusive and fair – badges for businesses maybe like the child friendly Leeds badges…could there be an ‘open and inclusive to all people’ badge?
To become known as a caring and inclusive city that actively stands against all of the -isms.
Get rid of the box ticking /data systems and talk with people face to face.
Car-free City centre.
City centre green space open air with an outdoor pool and water feature that could be covered by a dome in winter.
Less commercialism in the city, less shops, more community cohesion.
An education policy that promotes above all else thinking, thoughtful and respectful citizens
What do you think of your neighbor?
Now that is a right question.
So this is quite a story. I am Jamaican and my neighbour is Trinidadian (Asian Trinidadian) and over the years I have taken in her kids when she has been working shifts and helped her out. However, her prejudice against people she sees as African has become apparent over the years, referring to my child as little African and such.
One day she crossed the line by her racist reference to my grandson and at that point I drew a line and told her that from that day we were no longer friends/ that I didn’t know her. Sometimes her grandson will be disrespectful (throwing rubbish over the fence) as he is getting to that age where he learns from those around him how to treat people. This is how racism is learnt. Since then the council have put a 6 ft fence between our gardens. I get on with all my other neighbours though.
Can you love or respect someone that you disagree with?
I spoke with Hilary Benn. He is a nice man. We had an interesting conversation. I strongly disagree with his views on arms and on Corbyn but I respect his right to his opinion. He said many people had not respected his opinion and that had made him sad.
My wife and I have different faith beliefs but that isn’t important. We have the same basic values and she is a good person. People find their faith in many ways. Church isn’t always the right place for people. That’s OK. I think find your faith where it feels right for you. I embrace all faiths. The important thing is the values of goodness each person upholds. Religion is never a cause for disagreement though I see its name used that way.
I create my own tool-box for my spirituality – gathering the bits that work for me to be spiritually strong and resilient.
What is the difference between you and me?
The differences between us are so interesting and bring richness to our lives. Little London is so diverse.
You can read the full write up on the Tea and Tolerance blog.
Little London Community Day is a one day annual event which takes place every summer celebrating local community organisations, arts and crafts in Little London.