Lockdown six months on: how COVID-19 & Black Lives Matter have changed our working lives transcript

Helen Beddow:

In this episode we speak to Jonathan Wilson, editor of the Journal of Islamic marketing, and Professor of brand strategy and culture at Regency University London. We talk about how organisations have responded to Covid-19 and black lives matter, and their effect on minority communities. Welcome to the Emerald podcast Jonathan thank you for joining us today.

Jonathan Wilson:

Thank you for having me.

Helen Beddow:

So, we've seen that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on ethnic minority communities in the UK. Do you think organisations and business have responded appropriately?

Jonathan Wilson:

Yeah kind of, and I say it in that way because this is unprecedented. You know, it's something that we've not experienced before so I I would feel a bit funny about saying no we've not done enough and we could have done better because how do you respond to something which you have no idea how it's going to play out. I mean, things are being updated, you know, almost on a day to day basis. Now that's not to say that we couldn't have done things better. But hindsight is a wonderful thing. And I think that's further complicated by the fact that when we look at some of the ways that these things are playing out and impacting on BAME individuals and communities there are lots of reasons. So, you know, people would wonder whether that's something which is biological linked to genetics, or whether that's socio cultural, is that due to health, people have looked at levels of obesity or diabetes or even for some communities if you've got large numbers of people living in the same house or you live in the same postcode area. And I think if there was something that we could be doing better. It would be trying to join up all of those different disciplines together to come to some consensus, and to share that information, perhaps, at times, I think that people have looked at things either from a health perspective or they've looked at things from an economic perspective, where decisions are being made based upon whether you know we're going to tank our economy and we're going to move into a you know a recession, and the impact that has on business and so I'm slightly concerned by that in the fact that we're being asked to basically choose health over economics. So, yeah, to go full circle. Yeah, I think we've done pretty well but you know I think there's a lot of room for improvement.

Helen Beddow:

Do you think that the increased risk for these communities has received enough attention?  

Jonathan Wilson:

It's received attention, with regards articles that have come out and media stories but it's very difficult to assess whether that's being absorbed and digested in the way that it needs to be. So for example, I think, if I you know anecdotally, share some of my experiences depending on I would say certain factors. It really influences how you receive those headlines. I mean if you are from the BAME community then of course your ears prick up, and you are very concerned about what's going on, or if you know people from the BAME community and their your neighbours or your work colleagues, you know all of these sorts of things could have an impact on whether you actually pay particular attention, or you understand the implications and what's being said.  I mean, I also think that you know there's a difference between those people therefore who are being, or who are in those situations where which. put you at high risk so I have family that work for the NHS. And so that that is a real concern, those of my family members from the BAME community because some of them did contract COVID-19. And also, you know, I've got family who contracted COVID-19 who weren't working for the NHS but were in the high risk category, sadly you know one of my family members passed away. And also, if we look at for example the impact of isolation on lockdown on, for example, the mental health and well being of young people like you know, some of my students that were stuck in the UK couldn't go back home, don't have any family can't really access their friends, and that feeling of isolation, and the impact on their mental health. Or it's the opposite where you have a lot of family around you because you're home educating and then suddenly you're expected to have several devices for your children to learn online and hold down a job. And think about the Wi Fi that you need to have all of those things operating at the same time, you know that there's a different level of stress, compared to the person who's living their best life on Instagram, learning how to cook or getting Uber Eats takeaways you know we're seeing lots of people that were affected so yet depending on whether you live with people from different age ranges, who is in your family, depending on whether you have children, depending on whether your job is on the line. Or, you're a key worker in a high risk position. All of these things, I think, have an effect on how you look at these news stories and whether they actually mean something

Helen Beddow:

we've never asked so much from our parents in the society before have we – to home school and work, and look after family, and it's such a, you're right it's really impacted people differently depending on their circumstances. You know how have employers responded to this increased risk?

Jonathan Wilson:

I think at the beginning, employers sent out the concerned email, and maybe one or two said can we just check that you've actually got the technology to be able to work from home. And then, I think it's been more difficult for a lot of employers to to maintain that level of care and concern because the reality is that businesses are also worrying about whether they are going to be around this time next year. So, if we look at some of the changes. A lot of us are being expected to work from home. And for a lot of us we had desktop computers, but with the lockdown, then we were suddenly plunged into working from home and that meant using our own technology so if you're one of the few that's used to remote working or has a laptop has a couple of devices then great. But there are many people who are having to like borrow laptops and then let alone for their children having, you know, home education so I think about some, you know, some of my colleagues who, you know, have a number of children. So one of the things that you might highlight is that in some communities there are some ethnic groups that have large families right - so think about if you've got five kids how different that is needing five devices. And on top of that, you and your spouse, needing to work from home, your now talking about seven devices that's that's ridiculous I don't know many people that that have access to all of that equipment. Then even now, you know we're, we're doing a podcast. And because I've been vlogging for years and recording, things like that, then I have a microphone, I have technology but but there are lots of people now being faced with this prospect of online education for the rest of the year, who now think wow I need a microphone. Do I have a webcam. What's my internet connection, and I think that's where employers have been a little bit slower because they've not really taken responsibility for the equipment needed, other than download this app, or use Microsoft Teams or get on a zoom call. And there are many of us that are now facing zoom fatigue I think on some days, you know I could have, I could have clocked up easily eight hours of video calls.

Helen Beddow:

It's exhausting isn’t it?

Jonathan Wilson:

it is more than exhausting. I'm a complete zombie. It's funny because, you know, on one level we've tested properly what working from home is like, because prior to that, you know, a lot of companies would would poopoo the idea they might say oh one day a week, because we're concerned that you're not going to be as productive, but you know many people have proved that they are actually more productive, it's debatable whether that's that they're that desperate to hold down their jobs and not be furloughed or made redundant, but in the short term, people have been able to prove that you can work from home, and I've seen one example of a law firm in London, that's not renewing its lease, and will be operating completely remotely, and saving a lot of money with regards you know rent in central London. So we're proving that we can work from home, whether that's healthy, doing so many video calls that's debatable. Yeah, zoom is, to me, is the next level where we're, we're now trying to work out how we work remotely and online and currently people feel that that needs to be where we see each other's faces, but you know that it's really tough. Staring at yourself and other people in front of a webcam, with the window shot, no air conditioning on, it's hot. You're sweating. We also thought, Hey, this is what young people want - you know they're always on their devices, you know they like going on YouTube and Netflix and stuff.

 What we can see is you know what there's a big difference between watching Netflix on your phone, and staring at somebody doing nothing on a zoom call, or watching a lecture online for an hour is just genuinely is rubbish. If you're used to being intuitive and looking at body language reading when someone's getting bored, when it's time to end the meeting, stuff like that then it's really hard because you're having to work extra harder just trying to work out what signals people are giving, if at all. And now we're working across time zones.

Helen Beddow:

I think this conversation really shows how much everything is connected and how, when you disrupt one part of a system. The effects are felt elsewhere and we can't really predict how - all the ways in which this is going to play out for different communities, you know what might some of the longer term repercussions be and are there ways that we can foresee some of this and try and mitigate against it.

Jonathan Wilson:

Yeah, I mean, I would say, if you're, you know, if you're a demographer or a sociologist and you argued that there are high numbers of the BAME community in particular parts of the UK, or any region where there was a higher degree of social deprivation, or a greater risk of infection, then, then these are the impacts, or, you know, the quality of housing where people are living how many people are living in the same property, whether they own or whether they rent. And I think it's worth therefore looking at the breakdown of those things. And also I think it's worth distinguishing between when we say BAME, especially in academia, are we talking about people that have been born in the UK and spent most of the life here, or are we talking about international economic migrants who have come over and so that's where sometimes things might not be picked up because you know you could be a highly qualified professional, but you've come over to the UK or London and rent is ridiculously high you can't afford half a million pounds to buy some small two bedroom flats in East London or something. So, that's where I think that we should we should drill down in some of those things,  We haven't, we haven't isolated those things, the facts, often are speaking for themselves when it comes to things like BAME but if those explanations are not supporting those and they take time to explain those things and they don't work easily on social media where you've got a limited number of characters and you've got a load of trolls. And what I found as well. I actually put a comment on LinkedIn because you know with the increase in all of these things I have increased the number of articles I've shared focusing on COVID-19 on Black Lives Matter, on BAME communities, and you do get a little bit of pushback where people say, you know, all lives matter or, you know, there are lots of assumptions or, you know, you get trolled and and I did make the point that what I have noticed is that if you look at something like black lives matter - when I talk about equality for the black community I do get a higher number of negative comments, and some of them are quite threatening. Same like if I'm talking about you know rights for the Muslim community or something like that. So I would say that what's happened now is, you know, we've had a holiday from putting Muslims on the front pages and a fear of terrorism and, and kind of Sharia law, you know trickling through the UK and all these sorts of things because now we've got some stories where either you're seeing you know Muslims that are dying from COVID-19, or all of the success stories all of the doctors and nurses that are putting their lives on the line. So it's kind of, you know, I've joked with some of my Muslim friends that it's like, yeah, we're having a break and unfortunately this kind of discrimination has now been trained upon the Chinese community. And I've seen a rise in kind of negative comments and even you see you know walking on the street, and there have been a number of stories, and so I have noticed a difference depending on on whose issues you're championing but in particular, there is a pushback when it comes to things to Black Lives Matter and that's completely different that you know, if I if I give it a direct example I've critiqued advertising campaigns that have been culturally insensitive in China by, you know, Western brands and nobody comments and says “oh shut up”, like “you're being too sensitive” like literally it's like “in China they find that offensive, and they are boycotting your products and Western brands need to learn the lesson”. Western brands learn the lesson, or they apologise if you say for example, “this thing is discriminatory towards the black community” or “this thing is kind of racist” or “this thing, shows a stereotyped image of somebody, which is not welcomed”. Then people I think are less accommodating and then we get into these debates that we say “Oh, political correctness gone mad and stuff like that”. And so people don't even want to engage in the discussions, so it's difficult and so you know, even in my research area I'd make the point that you know for example, how many people know, I read one report we said that a third of SMEs in London are Muslim-owned. So it's not just that we're dealing with a handful or a few million in the UK, or if you look at the breakdown of minority communities in London - London is a different city than the rest of the UK so it doesn't do us justice with regards discussion. If we look at minorities, they're not spread across the UK they're particularly populating certain cities. And that's where I think that we need more research that drills down into these areas. And then accept that this is also different in different countries and different markets.

Helen Beddow:

This brings to mind so many different questions, but I'll start with why do you think that corporations do push back on this suggestion that they have been offensive, or they've said something that is racist. Why do you see that response?

Jonathan Wilson:

There are quite a few reasons that come to mind right so let me let me try and remember them all. The most forgiving one is they had no idea. No one's ever brought it to the attention. Or perhaps, the thought that they have been so offensive or racist without knowing for such a long time is just a shock - I mean who wants to be told that they're wrong and horribly wrong and disproportionately wrong, there are millions of people around the world that feel that, what you've said is rude or incorrect or insensitive then that can be just maybe too big a shock for the soul.

Therefore, people are defensive that they fear litigation or their implications. And so like you know some companies now are changing the names of the brands or the logos because they feel it's appropriate now, but you could ask the question, why did it take this black lives matter movement to raise this point when people have been saying so for years and you could argue that well, that they weren't pushed hard enough, that they didn't feel that there was a potential economic loss.

There could be other reasons which are, you know, I mean I've experienced it where there's an assumption that if you have a culturally diverse organisation that then you will be culturally sensitive but it might be the case that depending on how power is structured some minority communities keep their mouth shut. I mean I've been in organisations where people have wanted to keep their jobs and so have not wanted to push their head up and express that something was culturally insensitive because they felt that it might affect their employment prospects or they'd get shouted down or humiliated. So they just don't say, or they do say and they're drowned out so I think there could be a number of reasons which are nuanced to a particular organisation.

And also, because I know that we all have blind spots I mean some of the things I've learned because I've been able to travel to different countries, and I've got friends from from different communities. And I think we've all got blind spots.

 And then, not in my backyard so I often think that there are some companies which do things very well in terms of a localisation approach that they go into a country. So, if you're fast food companies are great at this right but they can go to India and say, Oh, we know that the cow is a sacred animal, and therefore we're not going to produce beef burgers, there's no Big Mac, there's a Maharajah Mac, and it's going to be chicken. And we're going to make it Hallal chicken but we're not going to put a Hallal logo on it because the Muslim minority would know that it's Hallal, but they're a Hindu majority might be offended by an overt labelling of this burger. And then we'll make it more spicy and we'll have like potato burgers and stuff like that so they know how to do India, or no pork in Israel, or hallal in Morocco and certificates everywhere, so they know how to do it but then you could argue, so why don't you do it in your backyard. In America, or why aren't you more representative and it might be that they've never been challenged before or that they feel there's no reason. But also, I guess, for some companies, if you make the effort but then you make a mistake it feels terrible.

Helen Beddow:

We saw lots of companies, kind of, and industries and brands make a response after the murder of George Floyd and their resurgence in Black Lives Matter. And we saw you #BlackoutTuesday and what were your thoughts around #BlackoutTuesday?

Jonathan Wilson:

I think it was a bit of peer pressure that companies felt that they had to do it. You could argue that something which social media is pushing us to do which is silence, sometimes is not a good look. So, an absence on social media at a crucial moment it appears that the media and everyone is going online to see what are you saying linked to this particular moment, and so companies I think felt the peer pressure to have to do this #blackoutTuesday thing.

But then they didn't have a kind of strategy as to where we go from now, and and that's why some companies were called out where they said okay you said this and that black lives matter but now we've gone on your website and we've looked at your board room representation and it's non-existent. So, it has been quite messy. Some of that is just because of the rise of social media that we're now being pressurised into a situation where we have to respond in real time. And that's going to pose challenges for companies and I think there are only a few that can win, and they're probably the ones that been thinking about it for a long time or have they have the personality where the audiences, you know can forgive them, or can work with them, you know, some companies can have a sense of humour, but others is really difficult. And probably, you know, if we look at, I would say, academic institutions there, they're going to be the next ones probably in in the headlines, because of some of the stats that you've mentioned that, that more people are going to hold them to account, because, you know, if you put all of these things together which are tuition fees appear to be really high, there's online education, then you've got this momentum of Black Lives Matter you've got more reports coming out. Then, I guess, that, that there will be some movement as to whether that's a sincere about-turn and change in policy or whether that's a knee jerk response or out of guilt or wherever is Who knows, but I think it's going to be incredibly difficult. And for me, one of the challenges is, you know, people have been ignorant for such a period of time. There are lots of assumptions that have to be debunked. So, for example, some people might say, you know, like if I was to say that there are approximately 20,000 full professors in the UK, and under 150 are black. Then, when I mentioned that statistic if you're black, you go oh my goodness But there are some people that then offer reasons, without any without any further evidence but they say oh it's because, or you know what it is, and you think, Okay, this this becomes the kind of the unconscious bias bit -

Helen Beddow:

 “we just don't get the applications” that kind of thing.

Jonathan Wilson:

You don't accept the reality because because it is frightening or it is disgusting and, but then how do you move forward - people often say,” Okay, so what are you what are the solutions the solutions are. Let's get some mentors for BAME people, so that we can we can get them into senior management so we'll have some kind of like Fast Track management for BAME.” But what if I was to say that assumption is basically saying that things aren't already ready, or they're not qualified in the same way as you know if we look at another protected characteristic if you have females in academia and so okay right “there aren't enough female senior managers, let's get them mentors. Let's get the male mentors, and let's get them ready for management.” That would be tone deaf. So why is it that when it comes to the BAME community you can get them a load of white mentors and get them ready for senior management, like maybe they're already ready. Or maybe you should get BAMES to mentor the senior management, who are predominantly white and male to indicate what it is that they need to do.

Helen Beddow:

It's a rush to get to solutions, I think, and to make the problem, not on your plate anymore but it means that people don't ask what is the problem that we are actually trying to solve before they take any actions. And I think, you know, how can universities have these authentic and credible conversations and take actions around racial inequalities.

Jonathan Wilson:

The same as with COVID-19, you know, there are lots of experts that have been generous in giving their time so I mean, you know, if I was to be slightly crass if there are under 150 black full professors - were not hard to find. Give us a call and ask us how we made it. What were the problems that we faced, and we had to overcome. Like I remember like with one of my professorial interviews, there was a panel. I think there were like 10 to 12 people, and, and they were all white. That's the reality. I mean, it was afterwards that I reflected upon it I was like, Well, you know, maybe it's not as big a thing for me as for someone else because I’m mixed race or something but. But actually, the fact that the university got so far and they, it wasn't even a consideration and they had external professors, as part of the review panel, and they chose people that were also white. So I think that you know it's that tacit knowledge that they could get from actually talking to experts and really trying to solve the problem rather than just think of it as a box tick, or being worried about these things you know there are many of us that want these things to move forward.

Also looking at, you know, other areas, offering scholarships. The problem is not with students in that there are enough BAME students going to university - there are high levels. So what about offering some, getting them to stick around and consider doing a PhD and becoming academics, there are easy solutions or the other one that always gets me is, there are a lot of discussions in a minute about decolonising the curriculum.

And I'm not saying that that's a wrong thing to entertain, but a lot of the discussion seems to be focused on okay, let's get some reading lists. And let's share them. Okay, but for me a quick way to decolonise the curriculum is to have a more representative faculty or to look at, like you know of the representative faculty which people are in positions of influence. Because actually yeah the, there are decent numbers of BAME academics, some people might be listening thinking, oh you took these small numbers that are decent numbers of BAME academics who are teaching fellows who are Junior lecturers, but they don't necessarily have any decision making. So, it's also about how do you reward, and promote these people and allow them to have a positive influence on the curriculum, because, for example, as a black academic, do I only research, black things. No. 

So, how do you classify me on a reading list that you know because you wouldn't know from my apps you wouldn't guess from my name Jonathan Wilson, so does that mean that somebody is going to do an audit and say oh, he doesn't have an African sounding name so he's not black, and he doesn't know about black thing so we'll get him off the reading list and we'll put somebody else on or is it that you know who I am and then you put me forward. But that's not necessarily actually taking into account what my academic arguments are because it is possible that - decolonising the curriculum if you think that there are some academics, from all over the world, they've been educated in the West, I have no problem with some of the arguments have been put forward for centuries - like I've got friends from outside of Europe and tell me like you know how there's been some positives from I don't know colonialism, or slavery or stuff like that. And they have a different perspective because they've lived in a different country they have a different experience, or they have different notions as to what you know race means. So I actually think that a lot of these things might seem daunting and complicated but I think that we should be wise about trying to encourage people to enjoy the conversation and the journey. But I do readily concede that that means that we have to have some kind of rules of engagement and develop a sense of trust. And it's and it's easy when when you're on social media to become kind of siloed or to be in echo chambers. And then suddenly everyone is classified according to effectively biological traits, which is you know you go online, you see that somebody is a white male. And then the assumptions that are, that he must not know about black people, or something like that. But then I might argue for example, you know, my dad is an old white male in and he knows quite a lot about black people because he married my mom, and had me. And I've kind of kept him in check. Right. And so, it's whether we can get to the next stage in what you're saying about diversity and past blackout Tuesday. Okay. These issues are important but can we have honest discussions where people are trusting, and we can get away from kind of, I think there are people that that actually do want to derail these discussions, there are trolls and there are people that talk about political correctness gone mad. And how you know the Empire is gonna, you know, if we put one statue down and all the statues down and the reparations will you know bankrupt the country and I do worry because I think some of them are mischievous or destructive comments and one of the ones that jumped out at me was like even if we look at comedy and probably the impact of this is all going to have on comedians and blackface some things legitimately I think should be removed, because they're culturally insensitive but then there are other things where it's almost like it's the wrong person has made that judgement call I don't know if you've like you know if those people have spoken to those minority communities and actually thought, is this actually offensive. And this is the thing that they're going to be uncomfortable conversations where then people are going to debate and negotiate who owns what identities, or words and that's going to also translate to African American comedians it's going to translate to music it's going to translate to I've seen instances where a white influencer that was listening to hip hop, and was lip synching on Tick tock, because they use the N word that people felt that she was being culturally insensitive and then I can see how there can be lots of casualties I'm just worried that these anecdotes or examples don't take us any further forward, which is basically that we want to have a more cohesive enjoyable fun enlightened society.

Helen Beddow:

And that brings to mind, there's been some criticism, around the term, BAME, and that it has its drawbacks, you know, can you talk more about that term and about the language we use?

Jonathan Wilson:

I get what there saying, and we were talking about it, right was BIPIOC was a black indigenous person of colour, and I think the thing is that, that these terms are very much bound within the Zeitgeist in that they're in a particular time, context and geographic location. Because, because you're trying to explain something in the easy to understand format that explains why things aren't working or why people have been treated differently. And I realised on social media is a level playing field where anyone can express why they don't like certain terms. Now, I've no problem with people disagreeing and I can see why. But then I guess the question is, okay so what do we now use to classify this group of people that are experiencing something which is homogenous enough for it to be a phenomenon that that needs addressing so like if I if I think, you know, for example, close to home. I've mentioned in this podcast that I'm a Black academic but also I've said that I'm mixed race and so some people might say but okay you said you've got a white dad and a black mom but one time you said your black, are you denying your white heritage, no I’m not, I wear a kilt, proud to be from Manchester. But the thing that I would say is, it's about context, intention - there are lots of factors that go into whether I'm comfortable, you know we've been, you know, being referred to, or classified as for example a black academic, if it's to do with monitoring because there are disproportionately high numbers of factors that affect black academics then I think it's very important for me to go on record. If it's for a biological reason that I, for whatever reason for genetic reasons, I am at a higher risk, then of course being classified as Black can make sense but if it's suddenly that like because I'm black then automatically that means that I'm faster at running, and I like chicken more, and I'm a better dancer, and I'm a better boxer, or, you know, I'm naturally funnier then I'm a bit uncomfortable with those things and I don't even really like positive stereotypes and some people might say well if it works for you then, then, then use it right so I think that this becomes the challenge that at some stage, I'd say, I'm quite pragmatic and be okay then. Yeah. These things don't fully define me but I need to be in a category do that somebody can work out how to solve these problems, it's just about which category, works best. And for those that have been old enough to see that things have moved from black to BME to BAME to BIPOC or whatever then perhaps we’re a little bit more easy going about that because we know that there's going to be another term that comes out, but I get it for some people, then they feel that maybe Asian is too big a category or black is a colour but it's not a geographic location. Yeah, I get it, but we just got to have that dialogue.

Helen Beddow:

I think that brings up some interesting things to mind about the relationship say between systematic racism that's built in at the top and that needs these kind of categorisations and this personal level of racism and everyday incidents that play out and I'm wondering actually how COVID-19 has brought some of those things to the surface.

Jonathan Wilson:

Yeah, I mean, also depends on who you talk to some people would argue that they have experienced less racism because they've been at home. And they've not been out in the streets but then there are other people - there are a worrying number of stories where I would say the abuse of policy or stop and search where you know there are lots of minorities that have been pulled over during COVID-19, and it also depends on what news channel you watch and what time of the day - if you watch news late at night like me then you see what in depth analysis but you know they've been quite a few key workers working for the NHS that have been pulled over coming away from a shift, and that you know you're black woman pulled over by the police, potentially being faced facing handcuffs being asked what are you doing breaking lockdown – I’m a nurse - and just that kind of just having to prove yourself and when you add up the stats that's terrible. So, I think that there are yeah there are lots of factors that come into play as to whether we understand each other better. Who knows, but I think yeah it does link to which area you’re in, how old you are, and what job you do, and those can have a profound effect.

Helen Beddow:

And we touched on earlier about the report that the government has commissioned in response to COVID-19 and we've had many reports before that foresaw and predicted some of the issues we're currently dealing with and made you know measurable recommendations that weren't implemented and it seems Britain has had many chances to talk about race. So what needs to be different about this time -  what needs to change.

Jonathan Wilson:

That’s a really good question and I'm glad that I'm not a politician, I would say. I mean, a lot, a lot of people's decisions, it comes down to kind of basic psychology, a lot of it is about self-interest. You know it's not going to serve somebody's self-interest as in like it's not going to get you more votes or it's not going to make you more money than it's easy just to kick it into the long grass and I think that's the problem that we face.

So now like with COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter it is forcing people to address some of these issues but you're right they have been around for a long time. If I talk about close to home with academia - the stats haven't changed for years. And there are a number of business schools that I mean I was, and you can look online now ,there are a number of business schools in the UK elite business schools which employs no black academics, out of like about 180 faculty members, but they will market global education and they will have brochures and prospectuses with diverse students, but as I mentioned, you know, in an article in The Guardian I said that sometimes academia looks like a pint of Guinness. It's white at the top, and I think sometimes people need to be nudged in the direction where it's not about choice but actually we need to affect change, and I think it's easy for people to overlook those, depending on who's in power, depending on who they can influence if there's an economic benefit, but sadly yeah these other things also, there is a real risk that if we are facing an economic downturn that there's also a delay in addressing these because how can you address these issues. If the NHS is overburdened, or if businesses are closing down. And there's a recruitment freeze, so I could argue that you know you should have an organisation where you say, Okay, now we are going to address BAME representation, but then we've got a recruitment freeze so what does that mean you're going to promote people within the organisation, like you know it's it's gonna be really challenging because there seem to be so many factors happening at the same time. You mean you might argue there's never a right time to do this but literally there, there are lots of things, interconnected that that relate to this whether that's, you know, the Premier League and the amount of BAME professional footballers but the lack of representation in management or within the organisations, looking to the united states of America and how they’ve been able to solve some of these issues or move in the right direction with representation as coaches and management.  So, it is incredibly complicated and that's probably where you know we run out of time because we want to have a meaningful discussion, there are just too many factors or people just lose interest and then think, Okay, what, what is our, our tenable solution to this.

Helen Beddow:

Thank you for that fascinating and wide-ranging conversation Jonathan.

Jonathan Wilson:

Thanks for having me. No, it was a real pleasure.

Helen Beddow:

If you'd like to find out more about Jonathan's journal, the Journal of Islamic marketing, we put together a few articles which you’ll find in the show notes. 

Emerald podcast series is a fortnightly research podcast. You'll find new episodes every other Tuesday. We'd love to hear from you – if you'd like to suggest any topics you'd like us to cover, please get in touch.  You can find me on [email protected] or follow us @emeraldglobal or @emeraldSoc.

Thank you for listening.