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I’ve got some thoughts percolating about audiences, pronouns, assumptions, and groupings. But I’m very tired and headachey and have been staring at my new guinea pigs (photos to follow!) all day, so they may have to stay a little nascent.

Something I find very irritating is an unqualified “we”. Let me show you what I mean.

It’s common practice for Australian politicians to use the unqualified we. “We live in a multicultural society in which we accept everyone and we all take part in each others’ cultures. Everyone has to take part in our Australian culture, which is an amalgamation of these, in order to be a part of our country.” Except, that culture is mostly that of, and filtered from the ancestral cultures of, a white, mostly Anglo, majority. And it’s them doing the accepting – or not. And it’s everyone else who has to sacrifice and suffer for maybe having a shot at acceptance in this culture. The culture isn’t neutral, nor is the country, nor is acceptance, nor is “we”.

Use of the unqualified we makes a lot of assumptions about who the audience is. It can be quite jolting to think you’re being addressed, only to find that you’re excluded or your position twisted through such usages as that above.

Our culture…
Our gender…
Our movement…
Our way of thinking…

I am conscious of specifying my “we”s where needed. ‘We, here meaning __’ is something I do a lot, because I like the specificity, because it makes people think, and because it makes my conscience easier.