Friday, May 7, 2010

of black and white, and yellow and blue....

Racism is a disease that eats away the foundation of humanity and slowly kills a society from within. Ever since Medgar Evers and Emmett Till to Martin Luther King, way back to the birth of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, racism has been an issue that has received worldwide attention. Despite having gone through an immense change in technology and progressive development of a country as a whole, racism still raises its ugly head in the hearts of some people today. Perhaps it is more subtle than the days of the Klan, but racism is racism no matter how subtle or obscure it is. Take our country for instance, development-wise we have come a long way since May 13th, and yet we are not allowed to speak of it so much, it is not widely analyzed or written in any text books, pages of the newspaper during that time are missing from the national archives. The main reason cited is that we do not want to create unnecessary unrest among the rakyat. What is that supposed to mean? To me that just translates to fear. Fear of not being able to control a progressive, intellectual society. This fear is simply borne out of a constant need to exert power over the people. It’s about time that the people in this country come to terms that we are a multi-racial society. Regardless of who came here first or who came here last. Regardless of what our forefathers did or what they were brought here to do. The simple fact of the matter that carries weight today is that we are a multi-racial society and have been one for a long time now. Initially, the Brits were reluctant to grant us independence for fear that all the races in this country will not be able to work together harmoniously. But the fight for independence managed to prove the British wrong and here we are some 50 years later, Merdeka. However, one question still begs to be answered. How Merdeka are we? Before some of you start to get overly defensive over this issue, just take a step back and ask yourselves. Are our minds Merdeka of any thoughts of superiority over other races? Are we truly in acceptance of all the races in this country and are we truly able to accept equality if equality is granted upon all of us? Most of us may say that we are, but only out of fear for getting branded as a racist. But some of us are still adamant that one particular race should forever remain superior over the others. I was born in 1981. I was born into a free and thriving Malaysia. I grew up in a multi-racial society. And I will forever be of the opinion that Malaysia belongs to all of us. As long as we were born and raised in this country, as long as we are allowed to vote, as long as we are allowed to raise our families in this country, as long as we are able to work and earn a decent living in this country and as long as we wish to remain in this country, then we all belong here and should enjoy the same benefits and privileges. Why must one race reign superior over the rest? If we really wish to get into that, I believe the rightful owners of Malaysia, so to speak, would be the orang aslis. Can’t we just put race behind us and learn to coexist peacefully and harmoniously? Why can’t we look beyond colour and countries of origin? If not for people like Martin Luther King Jr, the African-Americans in America would probably still be treated like second-class citizens in a country they have come to embrace as their own. If not for those who went to London to seek for our Independence from the British, we would probably still be colonized. But we are where we are today. And what we should do now is learn to accept that we were all put on this earth not to discriminate. I am not in any way discounting heritage and legacy. We should all be proud of who we are and where we came from, but what we should also do is learn to be more tolerant and eradicate superiority totally. Only then will we be able to realize our true potential and do more good instead of harm.

I am pretty sure that many will not agree with me on my ideas, but then again I live by these words that was said by a very important man in the history of humanity, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” With that, I beg of you readers to think and speak out if you feel that injustice is at large. Silence will only propagate more harm.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..

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