Returning ASLI Artist Dave Hubble, 47, from Southampton, UK has chosen to submit a poem for our ISSUE 4 Discrimination, Privilege and Stigmatisation and his chosen subject is that of the “Prevent Initiative” we asked Dave to explain his piece in his own words:
What motivated you to deal with your chosen submission subject?
I work in Higher Education and was asked to complete Prevent training which has the stated aim of providing educators with basic awareness about how to spot and report the signs of radicalisation in their students. I already knew that Prevent existed and had heard it had been strongly criticised as stigmatising, so I decided to do the training to see for myself. It was worse than I imagined, consisting of a series of negative stereotypes, mainly of Muslims, but also poor white people. I wrote this piece as a response; I perform it live, so hopefully I can help spread the message that such government-sponsored stigmatisation is unacceptable and ineffective.
I’ve got a Degree in Snitching
‘cos the College of Policing has apparently
taught me to channel my General Awareness,
to seek and peek, report the radical
as if I could care less
about their farcical security
theatre of absurdity,
where every role’s a token
or stereotype that’s stayed unbroken,
a sorry invention that’s all about the narrative,
keeping fear at the forefront
to vilify the other, and so
justify the warmonger, the loss of rights hard-won,
invent monsters that lurk in the fireless night,
with their dark eyes and ragged heads,
their dirty bombs and Superguns,
and oh, such wicked intent –
so we must be seen to do something
even though we all know it prevents
So, what have we learned?
For a start, brown skin’s scary,
comes from war-zones
where it’s our bombs that broke their homes,
but hey, it’s not all about melanin –
there are pale faces,
because we’re meant to believe
this paranoia’s about all races,
but they’re poor examples,
not well educated,
not like us, the people you can trust,
not sure about them next door…
but hang on a mo’ –
we’re told vigilance begins at home,
and I’m up for civil disobedience,
so call me Kafka, I’ll report myself –
I know the signs,
my certificate says so.
What are your present and future goals for your art?
Since my previous appearance in ASLI, I have developed my writing and visual art to a point where I have gone professional. My goals are therefore to develop my art further, including paid opportunities – commissions, sales, exhibitions, workshops, performances and so on.
Here is Dave’s previous work and interview for ASLI Magazine
Have you experienced any form of discrimination; and if so what was it based on and how did you deal with this?
Childhood bullying based on being intelligent (‘a swot’) but physically small at the time. To be honest, as the situation was mirrored at home, I didn’t deal with it except by becoming extremely upset and clinically depressed, although this wasn’t diagnosed at the time, being the 1980s, and eventually I became suicidal.
What do you do to actively stand against discrimination and have you ever had to intervene as a witness to it?
I am physically confident, so am willing and able to intervene when witnessing discrimination. Since the Brexit vote I have seen a sad increase in bigotry of various forms, and have had to intervene in incidents of racial and transphobic abuse. This can be by simply talking to the victim to distract the abusers and make it clear there is a witness willing to get involved, though on one occasion a more direct approach was required to prevent a physical attack. On a less direct level, I promote safe spaces, including the Art House where I volunteer, and am involved in local groups that take an active stance against bigotry.
What are your opinions on labels and stereotypes?
It really depends on intent. Sometimes we need a sort of ‘social shorthand’ to describe people, but only if we recognise that such labels are limited and might be incorrect. In this sense, it’s very much like ‘first impressions’ – we probably can’t help forming them, so we need to make sure we are self-aware enough to accept they may be wrong.
What are your opinions on national identity and in your opinion does nationalism create or deter discrimination?
It’s another label, and in this case primarily an accident of birth. Identity is important and can bring cohesion, but we need to ensure it doesn’t turn into rampant nationalism and vilification of others. After all, we shouldn’t be judging people on the basis of geographical randomness or where imaginary lines were drawn on maps during colonial times. It’s more important to recognise that nationality is largely a construct, but we are all human.
What social privileges do you have? For example: are you white, able bodied/minded, a man, rich, heterosexual, thin… etc.
White, able-bodied, male, heterosexual, well educated & qualified. Definitely not rich or thin!
Have you ever contributed to the stigmatisation of any individual or group, and if so were you aware you did this and how did you deal with this aftermath?
Not beyond name-calling as a child, and certainly not systematically – I was on the receiving end enough to know it was wrong. I was brought up in a household where POC were called ‘Pakis’ and ‘nig-nogs’ etc – casual racism essentially – but fortunately it didn’t stick.
What are your opinions on political powers and world leaders using stigmatisation against certain groups to further their own agendas, such as with Muslims, Black people, LGBTQ individuals, mentally ill and disabled people?
This is clearly abhorrent, but sadly very common. The Prevent ‘Initiative’ I’ve written about here is a prime example – stigmatising Muslims and the poor to placate the tabloids, including Rupert Murdoch’s agenda, and trying to ensure the UK populace remain fearful and divided. This is done to smooth the way for further austerity and privatisation of services, while also eroding civil liberties and individual rights in favour of supposed ‘security’ against threats that, while they clearly exist to some extent, are massively over-stated.
Do you support or take part in any anti-stigma organisations or charities and if so which ones and why?
Activities with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and similar – this is such a clear case of injustice and stigmatisation, with the ultimate aim of de facto genocide, that I feel morally obliged to act. It’s impossible to do everything, but this issue stands out.
In your own words please tell us how you feel the arts and creativity can further help to empower, communicate and educate people with regards to discrimination, privilege and stigmatisation?
Powerful words and images can cut through the rhetoric and misinformation surrounding issues and highlight what’s actually happening. They also provide a way for people to express themselves without being drawn into meaningless debates and therefore have the potential to be effective campaigning tools.
If you are interested in finding out more about Dave and his work please visit these links below:
If you have any feedback on this article please fill in the contact form below: