Saturday, 20 February 2010

Chicken or Egg?

"So if the people themselves can’t even bother to change their racist ways, then would the government, being their representatives, change as well?"
~ Hafiz Baharom, "For Rent With Racist Prejudice"
In his article (linked above), Hafiz laments the presence of advertisements specifying racial/cultural/religious preferences for tenants. He also implies that the government will not change unless "we" change first.

It is, I think, a very wrong way of looking at things - firstly because he has not even scratched the surface of the reasons for this racism he deplores. Of course those living a swanky lifestyles who have not had to face the discrimination, would possibly say that "it is all in the mind"- that things can change in an instant we so wish it.

Of course, it is indeed a sad state of affairs - and I myself dislike the ads he mentioned - more so because I too am discriminated against.
The blatant racism in Malaysia is a result of 50yrs of racist indoctrination by racist political parties which practice "socio-economic apartheid" - call it fancy "positive discrimination" or "separate development" if you must (as the Pietr Botha/ de Clerk regime of SA) - or even the noble NEP, for that matter. The effects are further augmented by the racism practiced in state sponsored public education - and even the presence of vernacular education which are unwitting fortresses for racism & cultural/religious bigotry.

While it may be right for one to question the right of the people to demand eradication of racism in institutions, while practicing it - did Hafiz even wonder if these racism could possibly have been ingrained by these very racist institutions via generations of indoctrination?

How do you get rid of this indoctrination then? Miraculously transform spiritually & be born again while keeping these racist institutions?

I may be racist, simply because the system doesn't allow otherwise.
I may be racist because of the discrimination which I have suffered.

Thus my prejudice may be shaped by the environment that I am forced to live in.

Get this right Hafiz - not many can avoid being shaped by the prejudices/discrimination environment they live in.

"I" may be racist simply because society demands that of me, and yet hate it.

Therefore, I have every right to demand that the institutions of racism be demolished before I myself can change.

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