A lot goes on in Norwegian newspapers and among people right now, I’m thinking about discussions about immigration and cultural meetings in general.

I am sympathetic with the voices that speak of being colour blind as an ideal, I feel that what you do and say should normally be the proper criteria for becoming an insider, not where you come from. There are functions that demand insider knowledge, but I feel that where you come from should not be the general criterion for participation, rather what you can contribute.

But you should know that this question, Where do you come from? has a tradition as a completely normal icebreaker in Norwegian conversations. It does not necessarily imply anything else.

Consider also that identical words, in many other connections, in our language, can cover a huge variety of meanings, that Norwegian, I believe, is a language with a lot of special features in that understatements, insider humour (and not one type, many), humour with double and triple meanings, hints and allusions, the tone of voice, give the words its final meaning, in short a language which covers itself up even for native speakers, so that in a time where suddenly everybody meet because of the Internet, all those double meanings and hidden irony become problems even for inborns, because the expressions and ways of communicating have belonged to special groups and in specific settings, they have not all been common language and have not always meant the same.

Also think about the cultural isolation we grew up in (I am 55) – where other cultures were far away and for many of us not well known.

We are in some ways a young nation, and have had little time to get used to The world will live as one.

Be a little patient, and if you grew up here but was born into a “foreign” or foreign family, just see the whole integration thing as a process.

I want it to happen, and I am not alone.

Even if some hasn’t gone into that process, many of us have, and it probably needs to go through some specific stages even if they come late or for some reason are postponed.