Throughout history, the world has continuously seen and observed acts of racism and actions done to end racism, but how far have we come?
When Martin Luther King began his campaign to end racism in the United States, it was met with much violence. This was way after the fight to end slavery and today, the world is still burdened with racism, which has evolved to encapsulate other ethic groups of people.
Here in the US, some communities of people consider themselves more supreme over the others.
Marginalized communities here are all those who do not have ‘white’ skin and this is something that I experienced in a recent workshop conducted by Lee Mun Wah. Students of various ethinicity gathered in a room and as an exchange of experiences transpired, I soon realized that society in the US is marginalized, even at the institutional level among student themselves.
Individuals are being judged by the colour of their skin and their size. Individuals are being judged by the accents that they have and individuals are being judged by the clothes that they wear.
Individuals are being judged all the time – and that is exactly how life is.
BUT, what are we judging for?
As a Police Officer, I make judgement calls all the time for my personal safety and security, and those of others I have taken a pledge to protect and to serve when I am in uniform, or otherwise. My judgement is based on the need to identify certain individuals who fit a certain description, based on cases that have occurred and it changes all the time.
When an individual makes a judgement of a person, what are you judging for?
We all have a need to survive and we try to protect ourselves from harm, and this is a basic and most natural animalistic instinct that we all have. But surely as humans, we also have the capacity to exercise our mental and emotional capacity much better than an animal.
So, when Miss America was crowned, there was an immediate knee jerk reaction from communities in the US who had a preconceived idea that being a true American means being white, blonde and had tattoos. Miss America 2013, was of course, an American but she was an American of Asian descendant – born in America to parents of Indian ethinicity.
And just like Singapore, the indigenous people of America didn’t have white skin to begin with. We were all of darker skin tone.
So, when societies of people began migrating and making other places their home, they were welcomed by the indigenous and eventually outnumbered them. They began institutionalizing acts which made integration seem almost impossible because people were no longer trying to communicate to understand one another. Instead, people were communicating because they wanted to learn how to overpower one another.
Here in the US, I read a status update of an African friend who’s here on a fellowship with me being called ‘Negro’ by a bunch of 5 year olds.
Then in Singapore, I read an update of our PCF Kindergarten playing on racial stereotypes to our 5 year olds on food that people of different cultures eat.
At the time of posting this photograph, there have been 300 shares of this photograph on Facebook.
Racism could probably never end when it is being institutionalized and when it is also played out at home.
But imagine a world whereby each and every single individual on this planet is made up of so many cultures. Will that end racism?
Probably no, but probably yes as well because when you have such a diverse multicultural background, there is no reason for you to be racist. If you still insist on being a racist, you’re damn well disrespectful to your entire lineage who have worked so hard through love of one another to stamp out racism.
But hey, even when you don’t look a certain colour, you are still subjected to racism at governmental level because in Singapore, your Identification Card makes it clear what ethnicity you belong to; Chinese, Indian, Malay, Others, Eurasian and many more.
And if that isn’t enough, certain jobs in the government also requires that you are not of a certain ethnicity.
Chances are, if you belong to an indigenous group in Singapore, your opportunities are limited in the government and if you’re a Muslim, your hopes are slimmer.
Just count how many Malay and/or Muslims we have in the Navy or Air Force.
Not that no one wants to apply for it.
So, if you believe in stamping out racism, how would you go about doing it?
In ending, I shall leave you with this…
‘Abdullah asked whether Adam was created from dust of one particular location or from a mixture of dust collected from various places. Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) said, “The dust resembles him most because it is white, red, green, pink and blue. It has sweet, sour tastes, agreeable and disagreeable temperaments, hard and soft qualities of mind. This has caused the people to be soft and hard, red, black, yellow, pink based on different types of soil.”