Hi, this is D. I’m back. I know, I’ve been missing for a while, haha. But! If you follow my insta, you’d know I’m very alive (and very boring).
I’ve been wanting to
vent my frustration write about this topic for some time but just never got down to it because whenever I feel the immense need to write about it because of something that happened that triggered this urge, I’m never home.
Finally, for once, I was home when I was triggered, haha.
In Japan, very often, you’ll hear of some gaijin being upset because of racism. Of course, more often, people being upset because of sexism. Or how about the famous #metoo movement? Let me quote some examples.
Gaijins in Japan often face a big problem with renting of apartments. So many times, Japanese home owners reject foreign applicants who wish to rent their home. So, gaijins get upset because they feel that they’re being treated unfairly. Honestly, I feel that there’s nothing wrong with that because a home is a private property and it is their right to decide who they want to rent it to. For example, if I don’t want to lend someone my book, am I wrong? I don’t think so. It’s not like it’s a government policy. And stereotypes exist for a reason. If there is a risk, it is their right to reject the risk. For me, I just feel grateful if they let me rent their apartment. If they don’t, I understand and there’s no blaming or finger pointing for being racist involved. I respect their decision.
Recently, I saw a post about Little Mermaid being a black woman because Halle Bailey is going to be the actress for the movie. Many people started cheering for it, saying that princess should be black too. Then some people got upset over it because it’s supposedly breaking the tradition and story (like, how? I don’t geddit). I found it hard to agree with either party because, does it matter? Both claim that it’s a racist decision. But if there is no racism, shouldn’t the reaction of such a decision be… no reaction at all? So, to be fair, we start making princesses black? Are we trying to say that blacks are in a lower position so we need to make special concessions for them? Because, really, if there’s no racism, does it even matter what colour the princess is?
GJH wrote about this similar issue before about companies hiring 50-50 male and female in an effort to be anti-sexist. Similarly, are males or females of a lousier ‘quality’ such that we need to be specially granted a position according to our gender instead of our abilities? Sometimes, in an effort to not be racist or sexist, don’t we end up being it altogether instead?
The incident that triggered me today is about how the Dalai Lama was made to publicly apologise for a remark that he made. The video is below:
Basically, in a nutshell, he made a funny remark about how an attractive woman can succeed him next and people started raging about it saying he is sexist. What they don’t care about is the context of his statement. Dalai Lama is well known for being humorous and unworldly. He had made that statement because he feels that a woman can succeed him instead of the past reincarnations who were all male and that part about the woman being attractive was merely his usual humour. He was trying to break centuries of tradition and technically, by these anti-sexists standards, he is on their side, isn’t it? by promoting a female dalai lama. But no, these ‘anti-sexism’ people were too ready to jump on a mere phrase instead of looking at the context. And if the Dalai Lama had said that the next reincarnation is a more attractive man, would it have had the same recoil? If not, then this is once again, being sexist while being anti-sexist, right?
In this sense, I feel that Singapore has generally done well in its racial harmony efforts. I’m not sure how others feel about ‘racist’ jokes but to me, racist jokes are a sign of a place being racially harmonious and having no racism. Because only when we feel close enough with our friends of other races, do we crack racist jokes and have a good laugh at it. Of course, it’ll always be a sensitive thing because while some of us are having a good laugh about it, perhaps other parties may be upset by it deep down inside. Which, kinda brings me back to the same point about racism being self-labelled, because if the other person don’t see you any lesser just because of your race, there isn’t racism, right? I recall when I was in Australia, I had annoying people stealing our parking lot and queues being jumped. Honestly, I didn’t feel that it was racism at all (I sorta thought that’s the way things work there) until somebody told me that I had those experience because I was Asian. To this day, I’m not sure if it is indeed racism or not but until somebody labelled it as racism, I didn’t feel that it was racism. So was it racism? I don’t know. To me, it wasn’t because I didn’t feel it.
What annoys me the most at the end of the day, is still how Singapore government (not Singaporeans) has decided to elect (or not elect) presidents and prime ministers based on their race. I think it’s the ultimate slap in their face for claiming to be a meritocratic. Shall not comment much on this because it’s a super morbid topic.
I’m not sure if I am offending anyone but this is just my personal rant. And of course there are true cases of unfair treatment (e.g. Tokyo University making it harder for women to make it into their medicine faculty) and to those, we should call them out. We should never stop fighting against discrimination and unfair treatment but like what the reporter termed in the video, I really hope these ‘concern trolls and call-out culture champions’ will discern more before unleashing their superpowers with their level-99-ultimate-keyboard.
Because they’re not calling out against discrimination but merely spreading hate.