Walid J. Abdullah: Racism Should Be Eliminated Regardless Of How Poorly Other Countries Are Doing

Amongst the most common statements made when one recounts instances of racism in Singapore, or even discusses ethnicity in the first place is, ‘At least minorities here have it better than anywhere else in the world. Can you name me anywhere in the world where racism is less rampant?’

Aside from the condescension in the statement, and the fact that many who make such statements have actually never lived in other countries – lived, not visited for a week and then speak as though one knows everything about a place -, there are more serious questions to be asked about the statement and question.

Firstly, I do not get a vote in Malaysia, or India, or the USA. Nor do I live in those countries. I do get a vote, however, in Singapore. I do live here, as does my family. So i should be bothered about what happens here.

Secondly, how on earth does pointing out worse situations absolve oneself of blame or self-introspection? These people are essentially saying that ‘others have it worse, so do not complain.’ Why does that even make sense?

‘Oh don’t complain or do anything about your stage 1 cancer. Others have stage 4 cancer.’

And most importantly, when a person makes that statement and/or asks that question, he/she is basically devaluing my citizenship. Why should i compare myself to a Rohingya in Myanmar, or a Palestinian, or an Egyptian Copt? I should be comparing myself to other Singaporeans!!!!

Whether people realize it or not, when they make such statements or ask such questions, they are, in actuality, saying that minorities SHOULD NOT expect equal rights in this country. And that is an assumption we should all reject.

For us minorities, when someone asks ‘where else in the world are minorities treated better?’, we should not even legitimize the question by thinking of countries where minorities have it good. We should just point out how bigoted that question is in the first place.


Source: Walid J. Abdullah

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *