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James Whiteman
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts with the most un-PC surname in the world. I now live in London and am constantly inspired by its diversity and rich culture. I am accidentally European in the sense that we are all accidental products of the parental postcode and citizenship lottery – born into random circumstance with no way to change the past but yet architects of our futures. No doubt a function of growing up with my mum and my sister, I have a deep empathetic streak and abhor any injustice or unfairness, however big or small. I admire quietly courageous leaders like Jean Monnet who, in stark contrast to today’s populist and blustering leaders, achieve great and lasting things from behind the scenes. Having married into British-Pakistani culture, I am constantly awestruck by how much our similarities outweigh our differences: family, friends, food, ideas and laughter. The simple pleasures to counter a complex and, at times, infuriating life. Professionally, I am currently heading Client Communications & Content at Aviva Investors and am the Co-Chair of the Social Mobility workstream at Diversity Project, a cross-company initiative championing a more inclusive culture within the Savings and Investment profession.

For more information about Accidental European contributors, see Our People page.


The Invisible Plantation

“I remember that I’m invisible and walk so softly so as not to awake the sleeping ones. Sometimes it is best not to awaken them; there are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers.” – Ralph Ellison, Invisible

Racial Equality

A Letter to a Friend. Should I Give Up My Seat?

“That was mine. And I miss it.” Do you think the fields miss you? “Oh, I know they miss me because I used to talk to them all the time… It sounds silly to another person; like, why are you