Working towards a colour-blind Malaysia

The word “race” plays a huge role in our life especially when you are a Malaysian. We have to fill up forms where you have to tick your race in schools, universities, and even in the working adult world. Malaysians take pride in how diverse our country is. We brag about our unique mixing of food culture, the way we celebrate all kinds of festive seasons in a year, and the way we effortlessly switch our language when we meet different people. But does this mean we are truly tolerant of each others’ cultures?

Most of us have heard of the Black Lives Matter movement as it went viral worldwide. This movement gained prominence as an uprising of the Black community and their allies because of the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. This movement was a movement formed powered by normal citizens, of different skin colours.

Colour discrimination and racism has been a problem in our country too, even since independence. What are Malaysians doing to fight this racism? Well, nothing really. Some of us post things on social media, retweeting and sharing posts.

Instead of doing things that lead nowhere, we should address racism at its root. As Audre Lorde once said, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

One of the ways to combat racism is to support others’ experiences and partake in difficult discussions about race and equality. Malaysians can take social media as a platform to raise awareness and discourse with one another. We cannot be afraid to discuss stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination for fear of “getting it wrong.” We learn about domestic violence by speaking to survivors. Likewise, speaking to oppressed people of different races is the only way to recognize social inequality.

Everyone, no matter what their nationality or race is, has a right to live happily and free from discrimination. Take action by learning about the ways that racism continues to affect our society. Be aware that these issues are being faced by the majority of people in Malaysia, specifically the working class. We should also never fully let go of our responsibilities and depend on the politicians and government, as they represent and serve the upper class. You might not be able to tackle racism by yourself but we can all play a part together as a society. Just remember, as you sow, so shall you reap.

Jaztina Arieza

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