Our Challenges When Facing Racism
Updated: Aug 11
Published 8 August 2020
I initially wrote this article about four months ago, when the UK was just put into lockdown, days after Trump called the COVID-19 ‘Chinese Virus’. I was full of anger and frustration. Not only towards the political leaders who are openly racist, but also the self-rigorous people who justify their comments.
In his later response, Trump ‘urged’ his fellow Americans not to blame the Asian Americans. This rhetoric was applied by his Senator John Cornyn labelling China as a ‘culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that’. Many people tolerated these comments and considered them Xenophobia rather than Racism. While falsely claiming other cultures barbaric, non-hygienic and backwards, they welcome the exotic meat fine dining on their high streets with arms wide open and turn a blind eye to licensed hunting.
This hypocritical superiority, the attitude that my skin colour, my culture, my value, my tradition, my way of doing things, etc. is better than yours, is the root of Racism and all other forms of Discrimination. Yet the simple truth may be that nothing is perfect. There is no such thing as the perfect culture, perfect value, perfect system, etc. All races, societies, systems, countries have their dark histories. Any ideology can easily turn into extreme when fallen into the wrong hand. We can strive for making a better version of ourselves, our community, society, nation, but we are nowhere near entitled to point our fingers, only to make ourselves feel better.
There is a clear fine line between constructive criticism and pure insults.
Isn’t it funny that with the help of Psychology we can recognise name-calling, gaslighting, invalidating as emotional abuses, and yet when the same behaviours carry out on a collective level or by politicians, it suddenly becomes hard to call out?
My other disappointment lies with the response of the media.
Despite the initial rage towards the Covid-caused attacks on East Asian communities earlier this year, the media gradually withdrew their interests. Racism was no longer a trend. The same old hate speeches and crimes against ‘Oriental people’ resume, plus some newly emerged conspiracy theories. The gruesome assault to the Singapore student in London, which was covered extensively in all major newspapers in March, was followed up by none but one Singaporean newspaper a couple of months later. It was as if the sufferings were not bad enough for a news story.
Meanwhile, within the East Asian communities, which traditionally values the virtue of endurance, some protested and spoke out, but mostly remained silent.
Until 25th May, the murder of George Floyd.
This time, not only the mainstream media got hyped, but also the social media, the big companies and the politicians. Where have they been this entire time?
It is only nine years from the London Riots, the death of Mark Duggan.
Looking at the reports of the BAME casualties in Covid and ethnicity pay gap, it seems that we have learned absolutely nothing from the past.
How many lives does it take to make a real change? When did our media degenerate into Sadism culture, where only death and extreme violence can make a good front-page story?
George Floyd, Mark Duggan, Africans, Afro-Caribbeans, Asians, Arabs, Roma, Irish Travellers, Mixed, migrants, refugees, etc. these are lives to be taken seriously. They are flesh and blood, not a prompt for an article to get a pay rise, a talking-point to get more votes, a box to be ticked for getting more funding, or a trend to attract more money and consumers.
The battle against Racism should never be a trend to start with. It is an urgent issue that our society needs to address as a priority.