Racism has always been a prevalent problem in many countries, dating all the way back to early history. It is a surprise that despite education being attainable to most, we are still facing this in our modern society today.
In fact, issues of racism have been increasingly in the spotlight with the onset of social media where anyone can post content to reach people from all over the world.
Even in Singapore where we claim to be a racially diverse country and pledge to be “one united people, regardless of race, language or religion”, racism is still very much prominent. There is a need to make a change in creating awareness and being cautious about how we raise the next generation.
Increase in Racist Behaviours
An incident whereby a polytechnic lecturer went up to an interracial couple to tell them that an Indian shouldn’t “prey” on a Chinese went viral last year. An alumnus also stepped up to reveal how the lecturer was Islamophobic in his lectures, making her so uncomfortable that she had to leave the lecture.
If the video of the interracial couple didn’t go viral, would the alumnus have a platform to speak up? This goes to show how there are many instances of day-to-day racism that could have not been broadcast.
This incident is also proof that racism can take place in places of education, even from an educator. It lies in the societal mindset that even high levels of education have not been able to fix.
As parents and teachers are the ones cultivating the next generation, what they are saying to the children is crucial.
Here are some things we should be teaching them to nurture a more racially accepting generation:
Everyone is equal
Firstly, we have to stop harping on the stereotypes that have been cultivated senselessly. Stereotyping is definitely the easy way to compartmentalise a whole group of people, but we know that these generalisations are not true. Not everyone from the same race is going to be the same.
Teach children to see every individual as an equal human that is not to be defined by their skin colour, culture or religious beliefs.
Children have to look past the differences and not associate a race with negative connotations.
Be sensitive to other cultures
Teaching a child to be sensitive and empathetic is not easy as it requires them to practice maturity at a young age. But, if parents and teachers were to put in consistent effort in being conscious about what they are telling their children, it will soon come as second nature to the child.
Talk to the child about the different cultures that exist and how they can be respectful to them. When in doubt, they should always ask the other party whether they’re okay and comfortable.
Making fun of races and cultures should not be tolerated.
Stand up for racism if they witness it
Standing up for what they believe in is the most difficult thing in the fight against racism.
This is because people of higher authority, taking the lecturer, for example, can always impose their racist beliefs on you. In certain situations, we are not able to speak up.
However, we should always encourage the termination of inappropriate behaviour; to call someone out if they’re being racist. If we see something that is not right and the victim is not able to defend themselves, we should step in to help.
Nonetheless, it is important to always speak up in a civilised manner so as to drive conversations and not more hatred and misunderstanding. It is crucial to teach children how to handle conflicts maturely.
It may be difficult but we have to drive change for our society, step by step.
As they always say, it takes a village to raise a child. No child is born racist and the mindset that they grow to have always started from young, from what their parents and teachers instilled in them.
Racism is still a problem yet to be solved in our society today. If the incidents were not caught on camera and became viral, many would be in the dark about what the minorities really face.
As parents and teachers nurturing the next generation, we need to make the effort to put a stop to all these unnecessary differences just because of the colours of our skin.
This is so that we can truly achieve our dream of a racially harmonious society.