Walid J Abdullah: Sharon Au Incident Shows Racism And Majority Privilege Are Real Problems In Singapore

Sharon Au made an inexcusable mistake yesterday with her racist remarks. If it was a junior host/comedian, one could perhaps understand the mistake (though it still cannot be excused), but for someone as experienced as her, it is neither understandable nor acceptable. Truth be told, Indians (and other minorities) go through such situations on an almost daily basis.

For me personally, it is most disappointing when religious teachers and people who are called ‘Ustaz’ make such comments in mosques, under the excuse ‘oh, it’s just a joke’. Racism persists because we allow it to: i strongly believe we should call these people out whenever they make such stupid ‘jokes’ (yes, i say these are stupid, because an intelligent person usually does need to resort to racism to get a laugh from his/audience). Do not let them get away with it.

At the same time, Sharon has apologized unequivocally, and we should be forgiving. We should reserve harshest treatment for the recalcitrants, who perennially and unapologetically make racist comments despite being advised not to so. Many bigger names than her have made racist comments – including PAP Members of Parliament – and then used the excuses of ‘I was misquoted’, ‘You do not have a sense of humour’, ‘My words were taken out of context’, and so on, to
justify their chauvinism.

Hopefully, incidents like this remind Singaporeans not to delude themselves into thinking that racism is something ‘that happens in other countries’, and that majority privilege does not exist.


Source: Walid J Abdullah

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