We launched a publication the other day and invited the various people who were involved in the project.

I had a great time but only realised some of the dynamics when P asked me whether he was making one of the people uncomfortable. I realised that when left in a room with Bengali people, this white person had jumped up and left for another room. P's question drew my attention to some of what had been going on. Because they are all my friends, people I know and have worked with, I was oblivious to any tensions.

I saw clearly then that there are white liberal people who are happy to teach or be served by non-white people but who feel uncomfortable in a social situation based on equlity of position. Like, conversation just about proving some knowledge of that different culture, instead of just conversation. Equally there are some non-white people who assume a colonial mentality on hearing an english middle class accent... well - actually I understand that one, because so do I - until evidence to the contrary...

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