A recent Dominion Post column attacked British-born Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt as not ‘one of us’. It’s a phrase we should all feel uncomfortable with, writes Hunt, wherever we come from.
Not long after I took up office as Chief Human Rights Commissioner, a newspaper columnist complained that I am not “one of us”.
This charge raises important questions.
In super-diverse Aotearoa New Zealand with its more than 200 ethnicities and 160 spoken languages, who is “us”?
And who defines “us”?
However defined, it is dangerous to view society as some people who are ‘us’ and, by implication, ‘others’ who are separate and alien.
This vision of society is inconsistent with equality, non-discrimination, respect for diversity and a multiculturalism which is grounded in Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It undermines inclusion and promotes exclusion.