Well, I have returned from my home country, England! Yes, I was there for the Olympics (which is the reason why it has been a little quiet on my blog). I also took the opportunity to go down memory lane and just savor the delights and offerings of London and the country. So why am I sharing this? Well the city has changed so much on so many levels over the past few decades. The one change I want to bring to your attention, is the one of people.
Even though we are in the year 2012, there is still this mis-guided notion of the make-up of England. The Brits are not made up of white men in bowler hats. Okay, I am being a little extreme but I must say, as I sport my braids and obvious black frame in North America, a significant number of people are still surprised when they meet me for the first time regarding my British accent and place of origin. Seriously.
In business, we often talk about globalization as it relates to a product or service with little thought to the changing demographics of the people in many of those countries. The reality is, people are travelling and immigrating like never before in our history. My own parents were enticed to the UK as part of the post World War II labor need to rebuild the country. War, change in government are common reasons for immigration and with the ease of travel and immigration, it has meant a cross-fertilization of cultures and people. The past 40 years have seen a significant movement of people across the globe.
To make my point, here is a one minute video-clip of an East–end market in London to demonstrate this diversity.
You will note that this English market is very vibrant which is true of any English market. You will also note how diverse it is! Black, White, Brown… all shades and all colours. A variety of different cultural clothing and makeup. The Londoner is no longer made up of a homogeneous race divided just by class. It is a living mosaic.
Other countries are also increasing their cultural mosaic. Once again, I would like to draw on my own background to make this point. Trinidad has a significant Indian population. Jamaica has a large Chinese demographic. Canada is known for its many cultures.
As leaders and travellers, it is so important to do your homework. Engage with people who have lived in the countries you will be visiting; read the daily news to get a sense of the people and current issues the country is facing. Get beyond the stereotypes. Get a handle on the real nature of the country. Countries and cultures evolve, so make sure you are current in your thinking in order to make the most of your visit.
I would love to hear your experience. Do share.