t Double Yellow's Musings: Removing Race from Racism
The warped mind of Double Yellow craves for humor everyday. His daily dose comes from The Straits Times, The Sunday Times, Today, Channelnewsasia, etc. He also thinks that because of this preamble, this blog will never get featured in the local media. And of course, please read the Disclaimer before embarking on the journey.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Removing Race from Racism

The third person has been charged for making racist comments on his blog. The accused, a 17-year old guy, put up a defence that it was the death of his baby brother was what caused his racist outbursts. I do not want to delve into whether the guy should have been charged or the details of the case. But what struck me the most from the newspaper article was this comment....

It was 1995 and Gan was seven years old. He was at home in Marsiling with his baby brother who started having breathing problems. Their panic-stricken mother Madam Koh Ah Luan decided to rush the child to the hospital and asked Gan to hail a taxi. They saw a Malay couple board a taxi nearby and though they pleaded to be allowed to take the taxi first, the couple ignored them. By the time they arrived at the hospital, the child was pronounced dead.

First, the accused may have generalized the incident that it was because of the Malay couple that his brother died. Even if he was angry at the people who did not give up the cab, to make callous comments against the race of those people is to put it simply, wrong. But the human mind always tends to oversimplify the situation. It tends to attribute human behavior to one main trait of the person in question.

This leads me to the second and more important point. Why is it that when the accused saw this couple not giving way to his mother, the first identity that he gave the couple was based on their race? He could have given the couple any other identity. For instance, if the couple were wearing a red shirt, then he could have directed his anger against all people who wear red shirts. But because of the way Singapore society is managed, the first identity we tend to give people is based on their race. Of course, identifying people by their race is not written in stone. Change that, and we could do away with a lot of people whom we call racists today.

Is this so hard to do? No! The next time you use race as an adjective, i.e. use terms like [insert race] man/woman, think twice about whether the substance of what you are trying to say has a causal link with race at all. So the next time a car cuts into your lane, think twice before blurting .... ‘bloody hell, that [insert race] driver never signal and cut into my lane’.

Removing race is a first step towards eradicating racism.

5 Comments:

Blogger mooiness said...

So so so true. If a certain blogger had merely said "f**ker" instead of "Malay f**ker" and then compounded that with a throw-away insult at the religion, it would have been so different. ;)

It is sad that the youth in question was blinded by that one tragic incident. But don't tell me he hadn't come across a kind Malay person ever since? Or was it because of that incident, he refused to accept that there could be nice Malay people?

In any case I really feel education is the key because an educated person can see the difference between 1 person and the racial make up he belongs to. Sadly the youth lacked that understanding.

5:22 AM  
Blogger FixCon said...

err.. i would just like to state one point in regards to mooiness posts.. Just because the newspaper stated that it's a YOUTH whose doing it, doesn't mean the adults dont do it too. The adults is as guilty as the youth too. ;) And well, Adults are educated too. No?

5:41 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hey mooiness, agree wif you that it wd hv been different :) and the chances are that the accused in this incident was probably blinded by this incident and any good acts by the Malays would have just gone through him. I think his parents need to take a share of the blame too... chances are also that they too called the couple a 'Malay' couple.

Education is definitely the key and you are right in pointing this out. This leads me to the point that fixcon raised... yes, adults too (like the parents of the accused) may also harbour ill-feeling towards a particular race. And this is after they are educated. But this begs the question as to what we consider being educated....

- is it simply the paper qualifications that every living soul in singapore strive for?

- is our education system teaching us the 'right' things if adults today still harbour racist feelings but may not publicly display them?

8:22 AM  
Blogger mooiness said...

In this instance my definition of "education" goes beyond what is taught in schools. And if a so-called university educated person still harbours racist thoughts then I wouldn't consider him or her "educated".

But ah, complicated lah this issue. It can be somehow helped a little if everyone mix around a bit more freely then we'd all see that deep down we are all humans.

6:51 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

mooiness, you are so right. a person who harbours racist thoughts is no way an educated person :)

sometimes i wonder whether people who have racist thoughts would think better if they were at the recieving end of racism. not sure... this cd in fact backfire and they may think racism is 'fact of life'. like you say, complicated lah... :)

7:22 PM  

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