Racial stereotypes

This video depicts common situation that happens almost everywhere in the world. Human beings are strictly categorized according to their races and are judged based on common stereotypes society has on that particular race. This common notion has occurred for decades where there is this belief that one race is biologically superior to the other. For example, the issue of apartheid where Black people were seen as inferior to white people still leaves its marks till today. In fact, a research shows that some white people tend to get nervous when a black man speaks with them in a room. Their pulses increase though they put a comfortable front.

Even in Singapore, where multi racial is actively promoted, there are stereotypes that are indirectly created. I’m rather certain that the first image we have when someone mentions Indian is someone with dark skin and to some, bad smell. This is not necessarily true. My father for example is Indian but he has fair skin. So do I. My mother is Chinese and most people think I look Chinese though my I/C says otherwise. Like shown in the video, people with mixed races often have difficulties with their identity. I may be Chindian but I don’t think I fit in the Indian or the Chinese community. Rather I’m more comfortable mixing with Malays particularly because I’m Muslim and majority of Malays are Muslims as well. Also, I am converging with the society’s stereotypes that people who wear scarves are Malays.

I recall an incident that happened a few years back while I was in a camp. We had to play tug of war according to races. When I went to the Indian side, everyone thought I was confused and did not understand the instruction. I too felt slightly uncomfortable as I usually mix with Malays. A friend then told me that someone made a remark that I was being shameless to join in the Indian group when in fact I’m Malay. This however, doesn’t make me any less proud to be Indian.

As a matter of fact, I sometimes think that multi racialism in Singapore has made us quicker to make general judgments about other people. This is due to the fact that we tend to quickly classify people according to their races. And when this person commits a mistake, we generalize the mistake to the race rather than to the person per se.

It has also resulted to strict distinction on whether you belong to this race to the other. Every year, people will ask me if I celebrate Deepavali when in fact it is a celebration for the Hindus and not Indians. My Indian friend told me that she was denied help by Sinda simply because she studied Malay in Junior College. They saw this act as breaking the rule of being pure Indian. It seems to me that they scrutinized in to as much detail before deciding one should be accepted in their race or not. She then tried applying help from Mendaki but was denied financial assistance as well as she is Indian. So how then do we resolve these issues? Does learning Malay make her less Indian?

Race will always be an inevitable global issue as long as human lives. As shown in the video, society often indulges in certain stereotypes that are passed on from generation to the other. Though we might not explicitly display our ethnocentric attitudes, racial issues will continue as long as the society bears the stereotypes.

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