CHAMPION COLUMN | Actually, we don't all neatly fit into a box

Columnist: Madelaine Wong. Picture: Simon Bennett

Columnist: Madelaine Wong. Picture: Simon Bennett

We need to stop putting people into categories.

Every now and then I find myself facing a dilemma when people put me in a box. I don't know whether I should correct them or bite my tongue.

It's always come as a bit of a shock when other people think they have the right to tell me whether I'm Asian or not.

The truth is, I've never seen myself as being anything other than Australian.

It's always come as a bit of a shock when other people think they have the right to tell me whether I'm Asian or not. The truth is, I've never seen myself as being anything other than Australian.

MADELAINE WONG, journalist

I have Chinese and Irish heritage but I was born here and raised on the cliffs of Coogee.

Both of my parents have thick Aussie accents and growing up, most of my friends were blonde. Just because they had lighter hair, didn't make me think we were any different.

At the end of the day we laughed at the same jokes and played the same games, we were all kids together.

In this day and age, we need to recognise that not everyone can fit into a category when we're living in a culturally diverse world. Putting people into these boxes has become a bad habit and it can be dangerous. It creates division and a lot of the time people do it, perhaps subconsciously, to make themselves feel superior.

I myself have been the target of comments like "you're pretty . . . for an Asian".

At other times, people have assumed I'm caucasian or white, and have made comments like "those Asians are taking over the area".

The reality is that categorising people doesn't solve anything. But the next time you're about to be tempted to make an assumption about someone else, think twice. Really, we don't all neatly fit into a box.

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