There were some interesting news stories around equality last week.
In January, the Football Association announced its own version of the Rooney Rule, in which it committed to interviewing at least one black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) applicant for all England roles with immediate effect, and they are determined to accelerate the process of increasing the diversity of its coaching staff.
That acceleration appears to be the FA’s plan to appoint a BAME coach to work with each of the 28 England teams next season. They’d asked England Men’s Manager Gareth Southgate if he would take such a coach to the World Cup, but he’s refused. He would, however, be prepared to accept a BAME coach in the future.
That kind of makes sense. The FA hasn’t drawn up its list of coaches yet and forcing an entry in to an already formed team before a major tournament doesn’t seem the best plan. The thing is, the FA want to look for capable coaches who already have coaching badges and aren’t just looking for a position to further their media careers.
Add this to the Rooney Rule where they will at least interview, and I can’t help but thinking that this is just what employment looks like. Interview everyone, employ the best.
Whether this is good or bad for promoting inclusion is open for debate. If a BAME candidate is not the best, they will still not get position, but giving a position to BAME candidate just because of their ethnicity makes it a symbolic position at best.
The appointment has to be on its merits and not a charity case, which is close to something that has affected Ed Sheeran recently.
A clip featuring Ed Sheeran visiting street children in Liberia for Red Nose Day 2017 was awarded the ‘most offensive’ charity video at the Radi-Aid Awards. Apparently Ed had offered to pay for a kid’s housing. Comic Relief has said that it will now use local heroes to tell local stories – hearing the story in the voices of those who have actually lived it.
And again, there’s a lot of that that makes sense. However, charity bosses are concerned that losing the celebrities will affect fund raising ability. Given that Sports Relief recently raised its lowest amount of money in a decade, one can only hope that their fears are not realised (whatever that says about the sad power of celebrity we now have).
I know I’m a white, middle-aged man and so a lot of my thoughts on subjects like these can dismissed as irrelevant. But do both those stories not just reflect a sad world where, for some reason, we can’t just all work together for the best possible outcome?