We are all equal

I am beginning to forget that I have a surname. No one in this most-democratic nation of Australia will ever forget the fact that we are all now equal. Everyone I talk to, in any organisation or office, addresses me by my first name. In turn, I have access only to a first name; I therefore make sure that I have a telephone number to enable me to talk to that person again.

What can be confusing is that a letter signed Ali does not refer to a Muslim chap. Ali is Alison. Gender is also lost. Mick turns out to be Michaela; but why present oneself as male? Should we all be gender-free?

Then there is the loss of ancestry and its associated culture when a surname is reduced to 4 letters. This seemingly is an American innovation; and that may be appropriate for a conglomeration of people from the widest origins. In that situation, of what use is a surname with its implicit cultural and linguistic connotations, 3 generations after migrating into a ‘melting pot’ nation?

But, what if an immigrant does not want to be assimilated (like a casserole or curry where all the ingredients are effectively blended), or even integrated (akin to a modern ‘fusion cuisine’ salad, where many flavours may be blended, but the ingredients are discernible and not subsumed into a melange), but wishes – in the name of a self-identified ’culture’ or self-interpreted religious position – to remain separate?

Would that impact upon the acquisition of equal opportunity processes which are probably available? Can this person expect to be fully equal to fellow-residents but, by his own choice, only under the law?

For how many generations is religio-cultural separation compatible with a nation of free and equal people?

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