The R Card To Xenophobia: Rising Racism In Asia

With Trump’s recent Muslim Ban, I think it is an appropriate time to talk race. Although we claim to be a racially harmonious society in Asia, you can not deny the rising xenophobia the Asia. (Warning: This is strictly my opinion and I have no malicious intent towards any race. I aspire to unite everyone and not separate them.)

Let’s talk privilege. How did internalised racial privilege come about? Well, since there are regions where there are a majority of a particular race, it resulted in the majority to live in ignorance of other racial groups in Asian Countries which created a sense of superiority against the marginalized groups in Asia.

In the recent celebration of Chinese New Year in some regions, while some were happily eating hotpot and collecting red packets, other races were forced to survive on what they have left in the refrigerator. This is because of the temporary closing of large supermarket chains in some regions during the long weekend of Chinese New Year celebrations. They were limited to selective food options due to the closing of hawker stalls and they have to wait till the celebrations were over in order to get their groceries. It is heartening to see these large supermarket chains have graciously extended their operating hours for citizens to do last minute shopping and this is a great improvement from the past.

And let’s not forget the horrifying Rohingya Massacre that is still ongoing.This has not been the first time such xenophobic incidents occurred in Asia. In fact, racism within the Asian community has been growing out of self-entitlement and fear.

Be Aware Of Your Own Privilege:
We often talk about the discrimination that happen in America and yet we kept silent when discrimination is happening on our soil. This silence must be put to an end. As the world gets more educated, it is time for everyone to know their privilege and fight against xenophobia in the East. What can you do? For starters, get to know what is the true situation happening towards marginalized groups in your region by asking them their experience with racism. This better allows you to get a grip on the reality on the issue of race in Asia. Next, learn how to counter racism through social justice platforms.

Fight The Ignorance:
The most crucial part of fighting for racial equality is educating the majority race on recognizing their privilege and using it for good. Raising political issues and xenophobia to your family might seem daunting but it will eventually help the fight for equality,

We do not have a choice in what race and family we were born into nor do we have a choice in what privilege we uphold. But, we do have a choice in standing up for those who don’t have the privileges we have. The theory of the birth lottery unfortunately still exists, but it is the decision to fight against it that makes the world a better place. In these dark times looming over America and the rest of the world, we have to stand high and stand tall.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,” Desmond Tutu once said.

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