We all have heard about the “I have a dream” speech. Martin Luther King Jr enlightened us about the dream he had in 1963. Singapore has come a long way in the history of Racial discrimination. Every student who has passed Primary 5 would know about the story of the racial riots and how measures were taken. But just because we are (almost) racial riots free, does that mean there is no racism?
I acknowledge that this is a very sensitive social issue because well, everyone is attacked by racism. Let me just define what I feel racism is. It is the belief that one race is superior to another (maybe even just subconsciously) and hence making people feel inferior. I feel like this is an issue that will be hard or almost impossible to be solved by a social enterprise. However I felt that I should address it.
“EH WHERE ANGELA SIA? OMG CANNOT SEE HER SIA” “WAH JORDAN I THOUGHT YOU SLEEPING SIA YOUR EYES SO SMALL LE” “EH DONT DISTURB SYAFIQAH LA, LATER SHE BOMB YOUR HOUSE UH”.
These are things I’ve heard people say. And this is usually followed by an outburst of laughter. I am going to talk about how it is not okay to make remarks and how we could try our utmost best to eliminate this devil grown inside of us.
The victims are usually put in a situation where we have to laugh off racist remarks because they were just “joking” and hence we should just “chill”. People don’t usually mean what they say, but they also don’t realize how what they are saying is slowing hammering a person’s esteem or causing them to build a wall around themselves. It’s not okay.
Today I heard someone ask “Why is it offensive to call someone ugly but funny to call me black?”. Well I honestly wouldn’t know. From her voice I could tell that she have suppressed her feelings on how she felt when people “joke” about the tone of her skin. Even for a person like me who has usually said what I felt, I have forced myself to fight back my urge to ask them “whats so funny about me being brown?” because I don’t want to be the girl who can’t take a joke. Many are forced to suppress it even though they don’t think its funny and want to say something to change. This is not okay.
If I don’t step out and try to make a change now , what will I do when my child comes home crying to me saying no one wants to sit with them because they are Indian? Will it still be funny if your child was outcast-ed because they were a certain race? It’s not okay to make hurtful comments. Remember that when you say this unnecessary comments , you could be causing someone to love themselves lesser. Do we really need less love and more hate in the world we live in today? Let’s make a change.
We are the next generation to take on the world. We have the power in our hands. Throw away all the stereotypes from the past. When we all stripped down, essentially we are all just beings that want to be happy. I strongly feel that we feel joy when we spread joy.
Firstly, we can all stop with the racist thoughts. Remarks come from thoughts, so stop it. No one is better than another because of their colour. Imagine when everyone truly believes in this statement , how many lives we could save worldwide?
Secondly, realise that this is not a thing to poke fun at. I almost lost a friend to racist bullies who constantly made her feel that being her was not okay. Let us love ourselves. Help us love each other. Embrace the beauty of difference we have instead of pushing each other down comment after comment in a constant battle.
Thirdly, Stand up for yourselves. Don’t pity yourself and then just bottle up the feeling. Stand up and make a difference. Someone might be racist without realising that their comments were hurtful. Tell them and help them realise that you are not okay with it. Say it when you’re calm as a sea, that’s when you can think and talk rationally. Help yourself.
Don’t fight racism with racism. An eye for an eye will only make the world go blind. Let’s change the situation and make the future a place where race is embraced, not criticized. Let’s attain King’s dream.