Are you not racist? Or not not racist? (not ideal)

You’re discriminatory. Maybe you do not realize it. This is mostly society’s fault, which in turn could be your own; but that is not the matter at hand. Discrimination by definition is the “treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit”. In simpler terms, it is when one sees someone as a solid figure based on, usually, a stereotype which gives “fixed forms” to those people in such categories. I am utterly against intolerant opinions, especially those targeting specific people where no one stands to benefit anything. Stereotypes as a noun are difficult to address as they are a generalization of generalizations: they are hard to pinpoint. There are two types of stereotyping, both are regarding attitudes. The first more obvious one is the explicit attitude where the person openly expresses this opinion; the second one is less recognized, it is the initial reaction from a person, despite what their explicit attitude may be. For example perhaps you are the head of a company and explicitly believes that everyone should have an equal say in decisions so you work with what is best for the company. Then arises a situation where someone explicitly disagrees with you and the rest of the group completely, at that point in time they seem completely unreasonable. In this moment you might start thinking ‘They are my subordinate, I hired them; what do they know?’ Now you might be questioning why you think this, it is only because of how people portray a position of power equating being right about everything. This is a simple scenario of attitude in a not necessarily discriminatory fashion. Implicit stereotyping becomes a society matter and will not change overnight; in light of this, we will focus on the explicit stereotyping.

The greatest difference in Singapore from some other countries would be how diverse it is. A term often used to describe the United States of America is that it is a ‘melting pot’ of cultures. I often relate that to how here in Singapore is our very own melting pot that is massively smaller but a variation of cultures the same. In this instant I think it is most crucial to not stereotype explicitly. Where you ‘look’ like you come from does not mean you come from there. The times have really changed and, though biracial or multiracial families have existed before, there is an abundance of ambiguity in where someone is from. Stereotyping people based on how they look is not only offensive but close minded. Of course it was how the general older population might have been raised to think yet it is most ironic to think this way. Singapore is a young country and has not existed on its own for so long so then includes a twist where you face the question of how can one really pick who actually originates from a country that had not previously existed? How do people react so surprisingly to the idea of immigration and expatriation? They really very much so are general questions to which I could even perhaps stereotype the reactions to such, which is not the purpose of this.

Stereotyping in any sense restricts one’s view on a person and confines them into one word. This and first impressions are different in nature because first impressions are, or should be described as, based on a person’s actions or lack thereof. An example being if someone is quiet of doesn’t put forth an opinion then you see them as reserved. You shouldn’t see them as attributes connected to being reserves like not being interesting. This should definitely be applicable to situations dealing with an appearance. If someone looks caucasian then, congratulations, you have identified feature they you connect with being of this race. You don’t go further and say that they are solely ‘American’ and have a sibling (studies show that 80% of people in the US have a sibling; though the odds seem in your favor, there still remains 20%). Not only does this restrict your view on people as people, and not as words, it impacts those around you because if you are explicit about such behaviours, then it won’t help the ensuing generation’s implicit attitudes. Implicit attitudes you can’t necessarily help, however if you disagree with them then one should help others not have this with how you express things and in turn you will begin to notice how perhaps positive you become. This encourages positive diversity amongst humans where no one feels confined in a stereotype that they do not conform to.

My first hand experience with people assuming stereotypes of me have compelled me to believing what I believe. There are some obvious ones when you hear me speak and realize I do not sound ‘Asian’ and that, yes indeed, I speak English as my first language rather than Indonesian which is the language that I am ‘supposed to know’. All these being actual quotes shows the amount of how unknowingly discriminatory they initially were. I do not of course blame them because if they were not exposed to certain type of culture then one would ask questions. I think the most underratedly relevant stereotype that we need to address is one of age. Just because adults are older than teenagers does not mean they are any smarter or less aware. It is likely that some are, however closing one’s mind to the perspective of another generation obliterates the entire purpose of teaching us that we can help society. An ongoing example of this is the people in Parkland, Florida from the Marjory stoneman Douglas High School were there are students fighting for gun reform and are the most persistent in doing so. Turning a blind eye to a group of people would not benefit anyone in times of crisis; with discrimination based stereotypes, the group of people will either feel collectively defeated or will be even more persistent. This in the long run will not benefit anyone because there will be an uprising of conflict and injustice towards a group.

This comes into a very grey area of

Though forcing people to not speak is illegal, being mindful and tolerant hurts less people and therefore should be completely worth it.

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