The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - Front Page -

The theme of fit­ting in – or not fit­ting in – per­me­ates our cover story and also Jeremy El­wood’s col­umn this week. We ques­tion those mind-al­ter­ing fil­ters of per­spec­tive, cul­ture and her­itage, how you see oth­ers and the world and how oth­ers see you. Be­long­ing, and un­der­stand­ing.

For our cover story, we bring to­gether four out­spo­ken hu­mans who write about, and try to de­fine, their places in mi­nor­ity cul­tures – former Sri Lankan refugee and au­thor Bran­na­van Gnanalingam sits down with fem­i­nist writer Eleanor Bishop, drag Laquisha St Red­fern and Samoan play­wright Vic­tor Rodger, who clev­erly high­lights the grav­ity of that most tini­est of English words: we. Who is “we” for you and who is “we” for other peo­ple?

I’m Ir­ish and so my “we” is a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal to the ma­jor­ity of New Zealan­ders I work with and speak to every day. My ac­cent is dif­fer­ent, as is my ed­u­ca­tion and shared his­tory, and my point of com­par­i­son for the most or­di­nary of things. I didn’t grow up eat­ing mince and cheese pies and Mar­mite on toast or drink­ing flat whites and Milo (yuck – sorry!). Rugby isn’t my re­li­gion. My Christ­mases were spent by a fire, drink­ing mulled wine, eat­ing brandy but­ter on pud­ding and turkey and stuff­ing sand­wiches. We didn’t “do” BBQS. I went to church on Sun­days – that’s Angli­can church, not Catholic, as ev­ery­one as­sumes be­cause I hail from a pre­dom­i­nantly Catholic coun­try. I could go on. We all jump to pre­con­ceived con­clu­sions when we meet some­body new, but it’s a com­plex and dan­ger­ous game. Who is your “we”?

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