Ugly racism festers despite development

By Wendy Min Source:Global Times Published: 2018/6/12 18:13:40

The beauty of racism is that it hurts; it stays and is always hard to contain.

Our history is tainted with horror stories of racism, genocide and hatred. We like to look back and state that it was a barbaric act because our ancestors knew so little, so in a sense we are different and could do so much better. We are far from civilized since leaders of our modern era are so good at diverting internal problems and make it well… sound something foreign. Are we really progressive as a nation with a large number of minorities? Or are we only selectively progressive when it comes to certain issues?

In an outrageous case of hate crime recently in Florida, a Korean-American Air Force Reserve member was taunted for his appearance. The perpetrator reminded him bluntly, "This is my country, this is not a Chinese... Chinese ugly."

I guess all Asians look alike. The issue here is not about ethnicity, but why hate crime exists in the developed world and most importantly, why the freedom to bark racial terms is protected by the First Amendment of the US constitution. This was the response of the Fremont Police Department spokesperson.

Sorry, but is it right to bring out an Amendment that could be used to continue with such hate crime? I don't get it. Even if he didn't serve in the military or isn't American, no human being should be subjected to behavior that makes him a victim of racism.

Borders do not stop racism. America is not shy of racism-related tension and nor is France. The memory of someone walking up to tell me I don't have a French-looking face and so I shouldn't be in France lingers. That encounter ended with a group of young men walking away laughing while making a slitty eye gesture - a most remarkable finish and not something you would associate French value with.

This is just one of a handful of hate crimes in America, not only suffered by Asian-Americans but also by Latinos, African-Americans and White Americans. From the Starbucks incident to the Charleston shooting to the whole debate around the Confederate Flag, we suffer from a lack of understanding and the need to listen to those who are different but also similar to ourselves. 

If this type of "external" racism was awful, then nothing hits you right at home when you have to encounter a sort of "internal" racism. I define this as having people who you identify as one of your own having a go at you because they perceive you to be different and in some ways ridiculous and inferior based on geographic, linguistic or other cultural aspects.

I overheard two youngsters behind me on the escalator making a comment in English about my Chinese. Of course, I'm not here to say that I was never racist or labeled people and acted rudely since I used to find racism an easy and effective tool to defend myself and attack others when I got pissed. It is easy, but not right.

It is always easy to make a group of people the butt of a joke and attack them with hate speech. Having this race bias is due to social conditioning, and it is sad since none of us are born racist. Our mind was never tainted with inequality or a deluded sense of superiority until society taught us to be so. Having lower tolerance of something foreign and being unconsciously biased is in some way a natural response, but we cannot allow this to happen.

The author is a freelance writer. She was born in China, raised in Australia, educated in China, Australia and France.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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