FROM THE EDITOR YVONNE KERR
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”?