BUT WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
A few months ago, I watched a program on Television, where second generation refugees and immigrants were talking about how other people viewed them. Even thought they were born in Norway, and spoke fluent Norwegian, they were still seen as immigrants because of where their parents came from and the colour of their skin.
When I heard this story, I started thinking about how we who do not “look Norwegian” have to explain and justify how we are in fact Norwegians. And I indeed often get asked: “Where are you from?” Yes all I keep answering is “I am from Norway”. At this point, the other person normally hears in a little closer, and they ask again: “Where are you from?”.
It is in human nature to try to place others in boxes and categories. We do this so we can make sense of the world around us – kind of organize it for ourselves. But why is it that, just because of a different skin colour we cannot claim some nationalities as our own? Well it is a question for your thought.
Anyway, next time you meet someone you do not think is 100% your nationality, instead of presenting the question of “where are you from?”, maybe try asking “may I ask if both your parents are…?”. This will probably help you in understanding backgrounds without excluding each other. You could also just chose not to delve into grouping people – it will be the best option for our common humanity.
By Ayanda Øiern Seboko, February 2016