Walid J. Abdullah: Racism Only Exists When It Is Not Spoken By Them

It’s funny how some people are so bent on using anecdotes -parliamentarians especially love to talk about their personal experiences – to display the truly multi-racial nature of Singapore, and to prove racism doesn’t exist.

‘My son didn’t want to bring a ham sandwich to school to respect his Muslim friends; see, there is no racism!’

‘I saw an Indian man calling an ambulance for a Chinese lady, and a Malay dude was the medic. Singaporean multiracialism ftw!’

‘I got into the lift and saw a Malay man, and i smiled and had a conversation with him. Only in Singapore do you get this.’ (somehow, speaking in a polite manner to other humans is uniquely Singaporean, and shows racism is absent!)


But when these people come across other anecdotes that actually work against their ‘all is hunky dory’ theory, they will find all sorts of excuses to dismiss them.

‘Oh, our MP wasn’t being offensive. She just proposed the fence because it was practical. She gets along well with Indian workers, you know. Her suggestion is nothing like Trump’s.’

‘Oh, the portrayal of a hijabi as parking attendant in the children’s book is actually a good thing and does not reinforce stereotypes. Exposes children to the hijab. Good job author!’

‘The blackface incident was just something light-hearted. Please don’t be so sensitive. We must learn to laugh at ourselves.’

‘Yeah he said Malay and Indian workers cannot speak English properly. But that’s not what he really meant. We must look at the context.’

And, the get-out-of-jail card for when one cannot perform intellectual gymnastics and is forced to admit that an incident is racist:

‘Yes, this was racist. But racism exists everywhere else. So be thankful for what you have here.’


Yeah, continue telling yourselves that racism doesn’t exist. Continue glorifying your own experiences as the norm, and continue dismissing others’ encounters with racism as anomalies.


Source: Walid J. Abdullah

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