Before the war, skin colour meant nothing to me. I, of course, noticed that we were attending an almost all-white school and that all of our servants were brown. But it wasn’t until we were in the internment camp that it dawned on me: it wasn’t just the barbed wire and the guns that were holding me captive, but also my white skin.

After I showed a class of ten-year-olds my film about the Japanese internment camp, I asked them if they knew of any other distinct groups of people who had been the target of violence. Yes, the blacks under Apartheid. And, of course, Anne Frank and other Jews, who were made to wear a yellow star, which is pretty much the same thing.

The conversation eventually began to change character. Less purely informational questions, more stories from their own lives. That’s how it works, you can get in trouble just because of the colour of your skin and then eventually it doesn’t matter what colour it is anymore. A brown-skinned boy told how everyone was always asking him where he was from. ‘And when I say: from Amsterdam, they just keep asking!’ The group shows its support for the boy who smiles shyly...
Danger (2003) Back Pierre de Lens, 30 cm See article: identity all of us are combis