The Vicious Cycle of Racism – Are We The Inheritors?

BY RUBY GEGE

Life is but a cycle. Events which occurred yesterday would inevitably lead to consequences to be felt today or tomorrow. Mistakes and wrongdoings would bring about repercussions, same goes to good deeds and kindness. It is somehow similar to the concept of karma. What goes around, comes around.

Malaysia is a beautiful country. I love it so much. I am somehow disappointed at times of how my country seems to be lacking in a national identity but perhaps that is what is great about the country. Why impose on yourself a national identity when you can be a proud Malaysian yet are allowed to define who you want to be? In Malaysia, I am a woman, a feminist, a daughter, a sister, a crazy friend, a student, an aspiring writer, a novice activist, a Malay, a Kelantanese, an agressive driver and a caffeine addict. I am many things. I aspire to be many great things in the future. And I am constantly thankful that I am able to assert myself in whatever form that I choose.

But yes, there’s this thing that has been bothering me for quite some time now. This issue of racism. I have yet to go through a critical study course in the matter to fully understand the theoretical and practical nature of racism. But based on my limited reading, I can sense that in Malaysia, racism has and will always be a big thing. Wherever I go…. people will claim that they are being discriminated upon. When I go to Venue X, I will meet people who claims that the Y people are discriminating against them. When I go to Venue Y, I will meet people who claims that the X people are discriminating against them. Even worse, when I go to Venue Z – really, the ones who have been marginalized and oppressed for years – they have been discriminated against by the X people and the Y people as well.

So many discrimination. So many racism. People X control this sector. That’s why it’s important for People Y to control this sector. People Y discriminate against People X, that is why People X must be supreme in this sector. That is why People X must not be too kind to People Y. People Y did this, People X did that…

And one day, I woke up only to find that I, along with other people of my generations, are inheriting this sort of situation. This form of life. We are the inheritors to this cycle. This form of violence against each other. We have no choice. For we are born either amongst the Y people or the X people or the Z people. Whether we like it or not, we belong to a certain alphabet. Defending our alphabet is deemed a must. For we are part of the community since we were born. The cycle turns… and to survive it is to play the game and play it well. Protect and be protected. Defend and be defended.

But what if I say I don’t want to be People Y or People X or People Z? What if I just want to be me and make friends with whoever I meet? So long as they are kind, cool and laugh at my jokes, I am a happy enough woman. People might say I’m Z or X or Y. People can be wrong. Maybe, based on my personality, I am more of an R. Maybe, I don’t want to inherit the cycle of racism. Can I be an R? Can I be a person I am not supposed to be? Can I not do what is expected of me? Can I, instead of assisting in turning the cycle, chose to take the bus instead with my friends?

Maybe I don’t want to live in fear and paranoia. Maybe I want to evaluate people not based on their race or religion but their personalities and kindness. Maybe I don’t want to discriminate against them just because their elders discriminated against my elders. Even if they chose to discriminate me, should I follow their example and judge people based on their races as well? If I discriminate against them today, tomorrow their children will discriminate against my children and the cycle goes on and on.

When will the cycle stop, then? Who will start to work on stopping the cycle? Or are the future generations damned to inherit a far vicious cycle we are in now?

Do I want my children to live like that? Certainly not. I want my children to live freely, with respect to other people who respect them. I want them to see people through the optimistic lens – that all human shall be judged by their actions, not who their parents are or where they come from.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m stupid of being too optimistic. But then, maybe I’d rather die a stupid optimistic person in harmony with my own conviction than a smart intelligent powerful paranoid person. Death in the category of the former seems more appealing to me anyway. I may not know the truth or whatever is true out there. But I think for every person, there is their own truth – the meaning of their existence and the way they want to live their lives. Even if I may betray other people’s truth, the least I can do in my life is to be loyal to my own truth.

Hello people. My name is Ruby and I love all sorts of people, may they be a Y, X or Z or any other.

Now, let’s end this very serious opinion piece on a goofy note… Presenting to you a very unappealing image of myself…

IMG-20140509-00044

Now off to watch the latest episode of Castle!

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