Michael King in “ Being pakeha now” recalls living for a time in Papua New Guinea and the shock of finding himself for the first time in his life part of a tiny, white obvious minority among a vast black majority. Something, he wrote, that every European should experience. I agree.
My own moment of epiphany was many years ago on the South Side of Chicago where for the first time I was entirely surrounded by Black Americans. I returned to my privileged life in the majority culture but have never forgotten the experience of standing out in a crowd in this way.
Hamilton’s cultural diversity was plain to see at Council’s citizenship ceremonies yesterday when we welcomed almost 100 new citizens. Naomi Kumar represented the Youth Council at the morning ceremony. She recently won the national Race Unity speech contest in which she told of the everyday experience of being on the margins, of being the newcomer, not always directly discriminated against but not fully included either. Her dream is that it will be different for her children. They will truly belong.
Listen to her speak: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIO8L8IoRto