ABSTRACT

Recall that M could not imagine having serious conversations with Vietnamese women about motherhood, about what it means for one’s child to die, about sexuality, about death, indeed about anything that mattered to her. She could imagine well enough that warm companionship could exist between her and them-the same kind that existed between white slave-owners and their black slaves, particularly between white women and children and black nannies. Friendship, however, with its requirement of equality, would be impossible. Recognising all that, we see that M cannot conceive that the Vietnamese could be wronged, by us or by themselves, in the way ‘we’ can be.