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Being in Question

Excellent piece by Sara Ahmed.


I am walking down a street in Cardiff. And I am stopped by someone; he is walking the other way. How interested he seems. In what, am I what? “Hey, where are you from?” The question is asked with a smiling curiosity. I shift around on my feet. It’s a familiar question but it is an uncomfortable familiar. I know what the question is asking of me. I resist giving the answer I am being asked to give. “Australia” I say. No, I mean originally. “I was born in Salford.” The questioner’s face creases with irritation. “Where are your parents from then?” He knows I know what he is asking. I give in, wanting to move on. “My father is from Pakistan.” That’s it. The conversation is over. I have given the right answer.  An explanation of where I am from, an account of not being from here, of how I ended…

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