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Diversity

09/11/2016

NEWS FLASH: (did I get your attention?) I’ll be at the Katherine Mansfield House and Garden at 2pm this Sunday, in conversation with Helen Rickerby and Anna Jackson, chaired by Claire Mabey! Come along – there’ll be afternoon tea! I’ll draw a picture for you if you buy my book!

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This comic is partially a response to this article by Brannavan Gnanalingam in The Spinoff, amongst others. I always include non-white characters in my work, but I’m not sure they’d pass the racial Bechdel test. My central characters are usually white and middle class, like myself. I am a bit scared of writing non-white characters, scared I will get it wrong, that someone will tell me off, knowing that there are many things non-white people experience that I have not imagined. I would love it if more non-white-middle-class narratives were published in New Zealand. I just finished Black Ice Matters by Gina Cole, a Fijian New Zealander, and it was great – excellent writing, gripping stories, showing me a New Zealand that I knew existed, but that I wasn’t always party to. It made me feel like New Zealand had so many more layers than I could perceive, and that to me is a wonderful thing.

I do feel, quite passionately, that if we eradicated poverty and inequality, if we redressed the damage my pākeha ancestors did by stealing land and language from the Māori, if we were more welcoming to immigrants and refugees, our art and literature and society would be so much richer for it. How do we do this? It feels so hard! It seems like something the government should do, but the government we have is callous and imagines economic growth to trickle down and solve all of these issues. We need a new government, that’s what we need!

And talking of new governments:

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. William laing permalink
    09/11/2016 12:54 pm

    Gus does worry so

  2. 09/11/2016 1:03 pm

    Wonderful! So reassuring to see and hear all these people being vocal around the world about what marks the goodness of humanity. And I am not afraid to embrace that somewhat old-fashioned word. I’ve been thinking about way back when and not that far back when, when courageous people were striving for all and not for one: the black activists, the suffragettes, the feminists, the French aim for liberty, equality , the anti slavers, the prison reformers, the eco watchdogs, the anti-class strivers, the peace workers, the education for all makers ….

    …. and in this vital mix of political and social activism … we still need art, we still need stories that nurture our roots, our present day and our future …

    … which requires its own daring, resilience, support, imagination, empathy, vocalness, scrutiny, originality, creativity, beauty, yes beauty, and love …

    and SL you contribute to this !

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