Sunday, August 19, 2007

Indoctrination of children

i cannot tahan d...i must throw this to all of you lah..i read it on the blog of my friend and i think it contains alot of talking points..so here goes..

I was actually quite taken by Dawkin's argument that there should be no religious indoctrination by parents. I'm not going to elaborate more, largely because I think that anyone who reads this blog is intelligent enough to extrapolate the implications of such a philosophy in this country. I don't like the idea of jail. But what got me thinking wasn't so much the religious imprinting that parents leave on their children. I started wondering about the other values that parents leave on their children.

Racial bigotry. I think this is the most dangerous form of imprinting currently being practiced by Malaysians. I cringe every time a group of Chinese sit down and get talking about politics and eventually start agreeing with each other how lazy all Malays are. Or when the Malays start talking about how the Chinese are always plotting against them, and how the pork eating infidels deserve to die. Or when the Indians are generalized as a bunch of drunkards. I have a very strong suspicion that most of the venom spewed out by the younger generation is just an updated version of the evil that they heard over the coffee table during their parents' gatherings. In the face of such racism, I'm not sure if we ever can truly consider Malaysia to be a truly racially integrated society. The ideas of racial supremacy is likely to be perpetuated through the generations.

So what do you all think about this? i would love to hear your thoughts on this..i totally agree that ideas of racial supremacy is perpetuated through generations. what do we have to do to achieve real "perpaduan"?

25 comments:

amy2kyo said...

How to achieve perpaduan? (more like a Pendidikan Moral's questions) Well, does the concept of the word still exist today? I doubt. Even a Malaysian rapper could actually condemned about his own country. Most of us will stand on his side, right? At least I do. Racist!

But, this can't be happening. What will happen to the next kin? The typical way people always say is "teach the children with good virtues to enhance unity". Those are just a pile of dung because they don't practice it.

The only way to portray unity is when everyone has an equal share. You know what "share" I'm referring to. Although we're of different races, we are never recognized as one identity. Calling ourselves Chinese, Indian, Malay, etc made a big distinctive difference in the so-called "Malaysian".

I think that's all I can think now after having my dinner. Damn full.

ViViEnNe said...

well,talk about 'share',that would be another part that we can argue about..
anyway,i just wanna share something...you see,i think my mum does teach us the right thing,although she has some comment on things somtimes(you know what are the things),she told me to be objective,fair and so on, and be confident in others,also be understanding...she even taught me into believing that this world itself has such a diverse population that you shouldnt be furious at such 'minor'...

my dad,on the other hand,made us(oops,i mean my siblings and me) mix with other races from young age...

you can say their background made them but i guess they did the right thing.

i think good parenting to perpaduan then should include this...i mean,teaching from young so that they have the right foundation..because what the parents did and taught gives great impact on children untill they age..

and this is the racial part. but talk about religion,it would be really sensitive...we cant dictate any here because this is very subjective and 'supernatural' i think...

okok...just want to share,not boasting la..

Carmen N said...

KJ, Can you please link us to the blog you are talking about? Without that link, it is tough to know what you are thinking... Thanks!

KahJoon said...

it's more or less the same coz i copy pasted and edit a little here and there oni..in my fren's blog there is another thing that he talked about but i don't want to touch on that..you all read d u all will understand y i dun wan talk about it coz i fully agree with him. here's the link

http://siewology.blogspot.com/2007/08/indoctrination-of-children.html

miz_world said...

i wanna gv my opinion in this situation...
i born in kelantan, the place that was known as islam city...
as my knowledge, v play 2gether wif differnts races in our young ages...
but when times pass,v grown a bit older, v started to play wif our own colour races and yet times pass again and tiz time,v juz play wif wat v called 'chinese'...
i totally agree tat our adults made a differences when they races us up..
bcoz of the backgrounder tat i grown up,automatically i will stay away from 'bergaul' wif other races in our country...
is tat the selfishness of our adults in the past or is tiz the right way when they raise us up in tiz country,called Malaysia...a country tat was known as multi-racial?

KahJoon said...

it is so sad to say i sometimes also like to label malays as pigs and a few more derogatory terms.why? because my mother likes to lambast the malays saying all kinds of negative things. actually when i'm not emotional, i won't ever label malays or any races with derogatory terms. i am proud to say that i love to talk with malays and be friends with them especially the intellectual and strive for success ones. i would elak those who wait for riches to drop into their lap but i still won't label them as pig or any derogatory terms. i love the time in primary and secondary school where i have so many malay friends especially when playin football. we are one team, no racial divide comes between any of us. then i was also a Pengakap Agung. in the scouts movement, i have to do alot of stuff together with malays and indians.i do not feel repulsed to mix with them, we even sleep in the same tent. a lot of my frens often ask me why i so close with them? i nvr answered them bcoz i think what they ask are ridiculous. i just tell them off that they shouldn't have racial stigmas and get lost from malaysia if u hate it so much. i love malaysia but i dont like the govt. to hate the govt is not to hate malaysia bcoz both are different entities. i dun like it when ppl say "i hate malaysia lah, cant wait to get out of here." what i want to say is, pls do not mix up the country and the govt.

on another note, i think the whole negarakuku thing is so insulting. that person dont deserve to be a malaysian. how can u mock the national anthem lah..if u wan to rap about what u feel, get a different song, not the national anthem ! i remember he sang sumthing like this " the mosques disturb ppl's sleep, sumthing like that lah. i just wan to ask him, did the malays complain about the air pollution that comes from the chinese temples that love to burn things such as hell money and josstick among others. did they complain when u block all the roads and cause massive jams for your wesak day processions and other deity's birthday processions? come on la, dont be so selfish. you want freedom of religious practice, u got it and u still wan to complain about mosques disturbing ur sleep! y dont you think that 5 times a day prayer is their right and they can practice it freely?

i look down on ppl like you !

ViViEnNe said...

then it comes back to the point that we should treat each other as equal! as simple as that.

ashvin said...

it can be achieved if all parents tell their children bout their childhood lah(the good ones, with perpaduan)...my dad does it all the time,and i dont think i have any problem with the other races in malaysia. i had numerous great frens from other races from my childhood, until today.and then, we must remember thatas future parents, dont 4get to educate your kids the right way...;)

Carmen N said...

Let me respond to one thing at a time because you guys sure wrote a LOT! No wonder all of you wanted me to start a blog! LOL. Ok... here goes:

KJ's point about hating the govt is not the same as hating the country -- I could not AGREE with you more. I think that ALOT of people are unable to see the difference mostly because they racialize the problem. What do I mean?

Well, for one thing, people who "hate" this country, attribute a lot of the problems to Malays. The usual stereotypes abound--M are lazy, M are corrupt, etc. And because the government is also seen as Malay (people seem to conveniently forget that MCA and MIC are also part of the govt) due to the prominence and size of UMNO, therefore, to hate M is to hate UMNO is to hate Malaysia because all of them are seen to be synonymous.

But more important than that, I think, is the fact that there is ONLY ONE political party in this country that is multi-racial -- Parti Keadilan Rakyat -- whereas the rest (PAS, DAP, the 2 most prominent ones and even Gerakan, to a certain extent) are still pretty mono-racial. Malaysians tend to view their world through the eyes of the political parties (yeah, we can be sheep that way) and so, when they don't see a multi-racial party, they cannot fathom there ever being a govt that is multi-racial.

I do believe that a multi-racial party is the way to go because without one, we will be left with racial politics all over again and look where that has got us in the past 50 years.

Carmen N said...

Darn... I realize I got off track in my previous post... it was a wee bit of a red herring, unrelated to the problem of parental indoctrination. Here are some thoughts on that:

I absolutely agree that parents are the prime indoctrinators of the young and like it or not, they perpetuate some of the stereotypes we learn and grow up with. This is not to say ALL parents do that but certainly, parents are also a product of their society and based on what Amy said, it is clear that parents who have an axe to grind with Malaysian racial politics and inequality will certainly be raising children who echo what they think.

Sorry to be pessimistic about this but I do believe that MOST parents (if not all, but that would be an overgeneralization so I am not going to make THAT claim!) want to create mini versions of themselves. Parenting can be the ultimate ego trip!

In any case, parents indoctrinate not because they think they are right but they also do so because they BELIEVE they are. Or at least, they BELIEVE in their vision of the world, however warped.

Why do I say "believe" instead of "think"? It's because most parents don't do research to try and understand their views, they are not rationally thinking about the situation in the country based on reading and analysis. They largely believe what the media spouts, they believe what their friends tell them, they react to minute moments in their lives which they then blow up to huge proportions.

In light of this problem--the problem of uncritical thinking parents--what's a kid to do?

The job of kids is to grow up, get educated, and then weigh carefully everything that their parents tell them because even parents can be misguided. If all kids were raised to be critical thinkers, think of all the havoc that would cause! Kids would argue more with their parents because they would be able to spot fallacies in their parents' reasoning. Kids would not simply "Obey" for the sake of obeying. Kids would not find any joy in following blindly but instead, investigate each claim made by parents and then see if they make sense.

AND, if kids find out that their parents are seriously wrong, misguided or racist/sexist/prejudiced/etc. then as critical thinkers, it would their DUTY to TELL THEIR PARENTS SO.

I remember as a teen, a teacher mentor of mine told me that I must not oppose my parents too much because ultimately, parents cannot change. They are too old, too set in their ways, too narrow-minded, etc. Even though she was my mentor but I still doubted what she said, I still questioned it.

Why? Because ultimately, I cannot and WILL NOT succumb to the belief that people CANNOT change. If this is in fact true then that will mean that we will forever be stuck with the same idiots who run the country and the same do-do heads who sometimes teach us. (Sorry--subtle ad hominem attack! haha)

So... what did I do as a teen, 20-something? I created CHAOS in the household. I kept asking my parents questions they couldn't answer, I argued with them about everything from race to politics to inequality. I tried to indoctrinate them with my own beliefs! (haha.. that failed miserably but unknown to me at the time, a little person called my brother was listening to my rant and he began to rethink this own position about issues and agree with me! :-))

But the one thing I will say about my parents--despite their racist and classist beliefs--they had NO problems with open debate. In fact, they 100% participated in the discussions we had over dinner, while watching the news and dissecting it. They dissected it their way and I dissected it my way, in response to their dissection.

Needless to say, dinner was always a LOUD, HEATED event almost every night but through it all, I learnt that parents are not always right but as long as they allow me the space to disagree with them, a critical thinker can be forged in the tumult.

Of course, you may be asking: well, how did you get to be a critical thinker? Who taught you?

Well... that's another story. I've said too much already. Hogging the blogging space. If you want to know, just tell me and I'll post separately on the issue.

ViViEnNe said...

i do agree on the creating mini version thingy...its like somehitng so instictive i wud say...and most of the time they tell you that they 'ate more salt than you ate rice'...what an idiom..they are not objective ANYMORE ...(i mean ,they were , mayb)they do not leave space or even DISSECT ...or in some of the cases, they just purely want you to show respect(when they get furious)

KahJoon said...

[Dr Carmen: So... what did I do as a teen, 20-something? I created CHAOS in the household. I kept asking my parents questions they couldn't answer, I argued with them about everything from race to politics to inequality. I tried to indoctrinate them with my own beliefs!]

this is what i did too..i used to argue alot at home bcoz most of the things my mom told me dont make sense. guess what happened next? when she knows i'm right and could not respond to me anymore..she will merajuk and use all those cliche arguments to shut me up..here are some of the so called "ace cards" she used: i'm your mother! (1)i dont care what you think, u do as i say bcoz i have the right to ask u to do something bcoz i'm your mother! (2)You see lah, after all these years of susah payah raising you, you treat me like this. (3) I give u so much, what you want you get, a car, handphone, internet, computer, money, credit card(i din ask 4 this) and mommy love you so much..then u do this to me, she then will go to her room and leave me feeling guilty.. this are only some of her arguments bcoz i cant remember all of them..so now when my mom say things, i just shut up and pretend to listen but in actual i dont even care anymore..y argue if it would make the situation worst..thats why i like to hang out wit fren who are on the same level as me and suffer like i suffer..we could talk about things on the same level and argue with each other without having any "ace cards" that could kill arguments..i love it when arguments get heated..talking softly and slowly is just killing the mood (no offence meant here ya) bcoz if u believe in what you are standing for, fight for it, dont just admit defeat bcoz the other person is a better speaker..ish ish i edi terpesong so far d..LOL

Carmen N said...

Hahaha... terpesong bagus lah! :-)

Good to know I am not alone in causing chaos. I think at my age, I certainly have learnt one thing when it comes to mothers: "you can love them but you were not born to agree with them!"

;-)

Anita said...

well i think that it can be achieved if EVERYONE stands UNITED as one! i mean NEVER EVER look down or condemn other races, that's first...

maybe parents can start teaching their children what unity is.. it might work u know?

but i think the best way to start is to treat people of other races EQUALLY...
yeah i know its hard to do sometimes, but its not gonna take us ANYWHERE if we look down on other races.. i think im right.. well maybe there'll be some kind of satisfaction but is it really worth it???
so.. yeah.. stand united as ONE!

;)

amy2kyo said...

Aiyohhh, you all ah. Tsk tsk tsk. I also want to proceed a bit with the terpesong thingy also.

I know everybody has their rights to say whatever they want. And you can always voice them out to whoever appears in your sights anytime and anywhere. Fine with that, right?

I also did that (arguing), lots of time. And the person I always ask is my father. At that time, I thought he knows more than anyone else. But but but, what happened was I only received them as what he had said, not being able to process them, or rather not thinking critically. :P

After sometime, as age grows lah of course, I started questioning both my parents (I think the critical veins sparked in my braincells). So, that's when I started to argue with my dad. Asking for more justifications because I find things are flawed and I want to know WHY!

But I never thought of being cleverer than them by telling them the hard-core facts that would actually support my words. Simple reason, because I respect them, parents mah, what you expect? Sometimes, I'm afraid of my dad lah, whenever he raises his voice, you'll cry for sure or throw you out of the house. (crazy ah, jk only)

So, let's get back to business. I quoted this from Kah Joon's previous post (you scroll up and read, ok).

"on another note, i think the whole negarakuku thing is so [...]

For sure it's insulting! It brings down the image of the country, imagine if all Chinese in the world heard about it? How shameful could that be weh?!

But I got one point that I wanted to share. Kah Joon asked whether who will care about the Chinese burning papers or the Indian having processions on the road and etc. All these happens occasionally. Not like the "azan" (the Malay prayers) which is 5 times a day and it is a daily routine.

Come on lah, we are not 101% Islamic country. If our country is like Saudi Arabia, then fine lah, you want to have "azan" every hour also nobody cares. And what will you get if you put on loud speakers and pray out loud?

Yoh, I think I should stop. Else lagi lari topic. Red Herring gila-gila.

amy2kyo said...

I agree with Anita. United, we stand. I don't look down on other races, I even grew up in a variety of cultures.

Believe it or not? I was the only Chinese in both the primary schools that I studied. (My family shifted that's got 2 schools.) In fact, I could get along with my Malay friends and we're very close to one another. I felt special though! Haha.

So, the point is, the environment you grow up in also play a major role on how you judge at people. Parents, certainly have the biggest job to educate their young ones to be morally good people. But, if they are teaching, we must listen! If they are wrong, yes we must correct them but don't cause chaos lah. Next time your children do this to you, then how? Slap them? Twist their ears? Make them listen to you just because you know more than them? Haha. Ponder, ponder..

KahJoon said...

5 times a day prayer is what their religion requires of them..if u tell them not to do it..then its the same as asking the chinese not to burn joss stick/ hell money, asking indians to stop their smashing cocunut thingy, or asking christians to stop their saturday or sunday prayer..

the frequency or regularity of their prayer doesn't come into question here. yes this is not an islamic country in theory but the majority here are muslims, like it or not, u have to accept that fact..they have their freedom to profess & practice their religion in any way they want. thats their freedom. we are also given that freedom too u know, juz our religion dont require us to pray 5 times a day. even if our religion says taht we should pray 5 times a day, we can do that. no one's gonna stop us.

y azan on loud speakers? its a call to all muslims for prayers. all muslims have the same way of azan including US,Britain or Arab countries. you cannot ask them to change just bcoz its loud or annoying. if u think that u have the right to ask them to change, then u should give them the right to ask u to change wat they dont like about our religion too. do u really want that? if that ever happens, u'll see the destructions of temples and house of prayers. why? bcoz islam only believe in 1 God. other religions have saints, deity or some other gods. that is not allowed in islam. if the muslims in our country are not tolerant and moderate or our Constitution doesnt protect us, then all that will be gone.

i've said so much d. so think about that ya.

dr carmen & dr roy, i would love to read your comments on this.

amy2kyo said...

Aiyah, nobody can talk about religion. Not sensible to argue about also because we can't just change these things.

How come other people didn't give any comment? Make it compulsory for all of our classmates!

J-Chee said...

1st, i'd say something about the indoctrination of children. I think my parents did a good job raising all of us. Of coz they will tell us what to do, and what not, and also, COMMAND haha to listen and MUST NOT talk back. However, what works for me is, if u did talk back, i mean any of you out there, wan to argue with your parents,USE INNOCENT FACE AND TONE, remember that, haha. You must not talk so loud to your parents, like they did to you haha or like you do to your peer groups okay. Effective arguement, sometimes depend on the manner of arguing towards who you arguing with and also the things you said. :)

I remember, when i was a kid, i like to jump from sofa to sofa (the 1 set one la.. not many sets k)after dinner. Then my mum will start yelling: You better stop it, or appendix will grow in your tummy (sheng mang chang, in mandarin). At 1st, i jz ignore here n continue jumping here and there like nobody's business.

After a few times i did that, in different days, haha, she kept saying the same thing. Then i start to think.. and i asked her back, "mummy, i tot all intestines already grown inside our tummy, how come will suddenly grow another one?" because at that time, i know nothing about appendicitis.. She was.. "err...." hahahha~~ (and so i continue jumping) i gues tat's the 1st critical thinking i did.. woohoo~ then from that day on, my mom will change her statement (or yell)to "Dont jump here and there, or you will get appendicits" a.k.a ur appendix will buat kacau n tummy pain la~ keke.

Then if i do not agree with my mom, if i'm really pissed or moody, i'd jz say, in a calm voice (after a long sigh, to show i beh song lah! haha): "okay, let you win/ok you win you win, you always correct" or "whatever you say is the law, i don wan to say od" " then she'll shut up haha.. after tat, she'll ask, okay now u tell. then i'll jz tell, without looking at her, but i dont raise my voice, n tell her my thoughts, n how illogical she was. Of coz to jaga muka, she still will defend her stand, but somehow, she already accept my points hehe. You need to observe also, how your parents showed compromise / accepted your views. ^^ sometimes they might simply say things,jaga muka mah.. haha.

Then about my dad, if we talk about racial stuff, my dad will talk in his serious tone, "who teach you to be racist?", or he'll say "do you know the whole truth to comment that particular race create the problems?" or "Gossip is all you know is it?" hehe, my dad totally forbid us to talk nonsense /BS :P, And i noticed, my parents do kutuk C government servants oso, not only M. So, that's where i learn, do not say something if you dont mean it, use your brain before you speak.. hehe Jz dont simply comment on a any topic esp serious one, if joking then lain cerita la hehe..

Basically, i think when talking about anything, we should focus about the issue itself. In this case (about we always mention C/M/I), because, we are of Chinese community in Malaysia, ususally we tend to be bias towarads our same kind. Then we using microscope to enlarge others' pea-sized mistakes. So, i gues we should 1t examine ourselves if we did the same thing, and always argue, or discuss about the issue itself, and not looking particulary to the people / race who create the chaos, because in our country, there will NEVER be solely ONE race who create the chaos. Perhaps, some did not join or involve DIRECTLY in most of the sh*ts that we have nowadays. There are always giver and receiver in anything, basically.. haha like the chinese proverb "one willing to hit, and another willing to be hit". If there are nobody(MALAYSIANS are involved) ALLOW (in actions or in silence) about those b*st*rds' idiotic actions, will they be able to do so? hehe.
PEACE OUT :P

ireneC said...

I think if we really need to come to the point of 'unity'. It's not tough. First of all, we need to humble down ourself and respect the others.

My other races friends respect me and we really can hang out together. I guess we have one kind of thinking, which is 'We are One!'. In fact, we are the same. Who says we are different? Who says u urself have done ur part enough? Done enough to say u r good and blame others for not following the speed?

I did share the same view with my parents when I was young. I didnt really know what exactly was going on in the world. As time passed, I realised it's complication. I asked and had discussion with my parents. Not necessary must win the discussion over, I just share what I think and how I find about the racism issue.

I think they kinda cool down compared to the past. Coz I really learn and understand 'them' when I really start mixing and mingle with 'them' during NS. Imagine there were only one C and I in a tent with the total of 10 trainees. My 24-7 was with them basically. Later when I start to have my own C friends, we all still hang out together as usual.

It's all about ourselves. We are old enough to know what is good and bad. Reanalyze how we value our own unity among all the races.

jeannie said...

Wow....I'm kinda confused now...is the focus on indoctrination of children or racist?haha!
After today's final class in which we touched a little bit on indoctrination of children, I think I have something to say on this. I spent some time reading the posts above(gosh...long man!) AND i have to agree with KJ's comment on how parents shut their children down without proper reasons. Dr.Carmen also said today that it's good to have arguments at home with your parents or family. But the thing is, there's no argument! Parents would juz shut their children by saying things like :"I have more life experiences than you. I've seen many things in this world that you have not seen yet.I know many things you don't so u have juz better listen and don't talk back!" there is even NO points to argue about! They won't even tell u wat have they experienced that we have not experienced because if they did, then mayb we could have reason it out with them. But this is not the case. Sometimes when you want to reason with them, they'll just think that you are just trying to 'talk back' and that is 'disrespect -ful'to your parents la..and bla bla bla..
I have seen once when my sis argue with my mum until my mum got so furious. Well, my sis also made a mistake when she raised her voice but she was giving good reasons for what she did ( culdnt remember what is it about but I remember my sis is not totally wrong about it..she's just trying to reason it out with my mum who would not want to listen)And that very night, my dad came into our room and talked to us. i remember clearly what he told us: " Never argue with your mummy because she knows more than all of you. All she did is for you. Even if she's wrong, you should not insisting on arguing with her because she's your mum after all" I was thinking in my heart then...I'm not saying what she did not are always bad for us but i think we have a right to speak our mind. At least reason it out with us. Convince us why she did all that, right?AND, if she's wrong, dont we have the rights to reason it out? It's a respect vs justice thing. If we reason it out, they'll think we dont respect them; if we don't reason it out, then it doesnt do justice for us. So any thoughts on this?

About the racist topic, I admit parents have to do with it but we must not forget there are other factors as well. My parents dont usually insult malays but when I was in primary school (sekolah kebangsaan), I still have a slight discrimination on the malays. Since my parents seldom insult malays then the influence is not on them. I think it could be (1) peer/ surrounding influence (this will still lead to parents' influence) and (2) We dont mix with the Malays to understand better what they think. We dont mix with them doesnt mean that we discriminate them but due to communication problem at that time. When we dont mix and understand them better, we become more easily influenced by what we hear about the malays from our surroundings.so in my case, it's not because of my parents but more to my ignorance of the importance of understanding the thoughts of Malays and the influence of surroundings. So what I want to say is, we can't blame the parents totally regarding this racial issue. There are other factors that we have to consider.
Ooopss...too long..wanna talk more but I'll leave more for next time! haha!

Shannie said...

If I were to talk back to my mom, I definitely will be thrown out of the house. There absolutely cannot and I stress CANNOT be any disagreement in my house. Even though so, it doesn't mean I have to believe in whatever my parent believes in. Anyway, my mom is more concern bout many other minor things than telling us bout racial stuff so I just mix around with whoever I want. Although my mom do not give us(me and my siblings) the freedom of speech, we do resist her discreetly in our very own way.

Carmen N said...

J-Chee's comment:

"Malaysia, ususally we tend to be bias towarads our same kind. Then we using microscope to enlarge others' pea-sized mistakes. So, i gues we should 1t examine ourselves if we did the same thing, and always argue, or discuss about the issue itself, and not looking particulary to the people / race who create the chaos, because in our country, there will NEVER be solely ONE race who create the chaos."

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO True. AMEN!

Carmen N said...

I also totally agree with Jeannie's comment about races not mixing. That's a really good point.

Apart from parents, peer pressure is a big influence and if you couple that with NO interaction with someone from another race, you are definitely NOT going to be able to get a holistic view of any one race. You will get a skewed version of a race based on what your friends/parents/family tell you.

When I say interaction with someone from another race, I don't even mean that you have to discuss "serious" issues with them. Even just hanging out with them will give you a window into their world, will give you a more intimate perspective of someone from that race which you won't get otherwise.

And if you practice CT, you will then be able to say to a racist friend or parent: "Look, Indians/Malays/Arabs/Africans/Chinese cannot be like that because I have a friend who is Indian/Malay/Arab/African/Chinese and they are different from what you think."

The important point is NOT that you have prove your friends/parents wrong on every racist statement made, but that you have enough knowledge and "love" for another race to know that it is WRONG to see them in a one-dimensional way.

Ultimately, we are all human. Who is never lazy? Always smart and hardworking? Always rational? Never disobedient? etc. etc. Basically, no-one. So, if someone from a particular race does something bad, it would be erroneous to then claim that everyone else from that race is also like that.

The idiom we use for that is: "tar them with the same brush"

When I reflect back on my own life, I realize that part of the reason why I am rabidly ANTI-racist is because I grew up in a bi-cultural household and my parents (especially my dad) had A LOT of friends of ALL races. Then, when I went to school, some of my best friends were not of my race and I learned to really care about them as human beings, and not to base my affection on racial categorizations.

Then, as I moved beyond my teens and went to US to study, I met and became very very good friends with TONS of people, 99% of whom were not Malaysian. That broadened my view even further.

The funny thing is that sometimes you cannot wait for people to approach you to be friends, you have to make the first move too.

For instance, when I was in the US, I studied about African and African American culture/politics/literature and there was this one girl who was from South Africa, Gugu Moche, whom I desperately wanted to get to know. Why? Because I was obssessed with South Africa at the time and wanted to meet someone from there so that I could talk politics with them :-) At that point in my life, I knew more about South African politics than Malaysian politics.

But Gugu DID NOT want to talk to a Malaysian girl. She didn't understand why I was interested in her and she found me suspicious! hahaha. She being a radical and active student activist back home--having organized and participated in sit-ins, campus strikes, boycotts, etc during apartheid era--was always suspicious of anyone.

But I was dogged in my persistence. :-) So, to cut a long story short, I refused to accept no for an answer and I kept approaching her to get to know her. And it worked. And we became the best of pals and the rest... well, hehehe... you have to ask me if you are curious.

But needless to say, she taught me a lot about African people, about race, about identity and belonging, about being human, about racists, about fighting for what is right. I owe much of my "argumentative" skills from watching Gugu argue. And I love her for it.

Carmen N said...

I also totally agree with Jeannie's comment about races not mixing. That's a really good point.

Apart from parents, peer pressure is a big influence and if you couple that with NO interaction with someone from another race, you are definitely NOT going to be able to get a holistic view of any one race. You will get a skewed version of a race based on what your friends/parents/family tell you.

When I say interaction with someone from another race, I don't even mean that you have to discuss "serious" issues with them. Even just hanging out with them will give you a window into their world, will give you a more intimate perspective of someone from that race which you won't get otherwise.

And if you practice CT, you will then be able to say to a racist friend or parent: "Look, Indians/Malays/Arabs/Africans/Chinese cannot be like that because I have a friend who is Indian/Malay/Arab/African/Chinese and they are different from what you think."

The important point is NOT that you have prove your friends/parents wrong on every racist statement made, but that you have enough knowledge and "love" for another race to know that it is WRONG to see them in a one-dimensional way.

Ultimately, we are all human. Who is never lazy? Always smart and hardworking? Always rational? Never disobedient? etc. etc. Basically, no-one. So, if someone from a particular race does something bad, it would be erroneous to then claim that everyone else from that race is also like that.

The idiom we use for that is: "tar them with the same brush"

When I reflect back on my own life, I realize that part of the reason why I am rabidly ANTI-racist is because I grew up in a bi-cultural household and my parents (especially my dad) had A LOT of friends of ALL races. Then, when I went to school, some of my best friends were not of my race and I learned to really care about them as human beings, and not to base my affection on racial categorizations.

Then, as I moved beyond my teens and went to US to study, I met and became very very good friends with TONS of people, 99% of whom were not Malaysian. That broadened my view even further.

The funny thing is that sometimes you cannot wait for people to approach you to be friends, you have to make the first move too.

For instance, when I was in the US, I studied about African and African American culture/politics/literature and there was this one girl who was from South Africa, Gugu Moche, whom I desperately wanted to get to know. Why? Because I was obssessed with South Africa at the time and wanted to meet someone from there so that I could talk politics with them :-) At that point in my life, I knew more about South African politics than Malaysian politics.

But Gugu DID NOT want to talk to a Malaysian girl. She didn't understand why I was interested in her and she found me suspicious! hahaha. She being a radical and active student activist back home--having organized and participated in sit-ins, campus strikes, boycotts, etc during apartheid era--was always suspicious of anyone.

But I was dogged in my persistence. :-) So, to cut a long story short, I refused to accept no for an answer and I kept approaching her to get to know her. And it worked. And we became the best of pals and the rest... well, hehehe... you have to ask me if you are curious.

But needless to say, she taught me a lot about African people, about race, about identity and belonging, about being human, about racists, about fighting for what is right. I owe much of my "argumentative" skills from watching Gugu argue. And I love her for it.