Precarious Positionings

  • Rahat Naqvi
  • Cynthia Prasow


A Faculty Christmas party with all the trimmings of a brightly lit tree, a myriad of decorations and a stream of greetings and well wishes for a merry Christmas. And so yet another season begins and once again we wonder where we fit.

I looked at my Jewish colleague and wondered if she was feeling what I was experiencing…. a strange sense of not belonging, or looking from the outside in. As usual I searched for something vegetarian to eat amongst the array of foods spread out. It was interesting, but not surprising that there was not much of a choice.

As a matter of course I scoured the beverage table for something non-alcoholic. As usual a friendly face approached me and I found myself being pulled into the age-old debate about Muslim customs and traditions. I put on my best smile and found myself responding in the most politically correct manner, whatever that entails.

Suddenly, face to face with my Jewish colleague, I am not quite sure what happened but whatever it was prompted us to explore the premises of this tension that we experience virtually every day of our ‘public’ lives.