Despite the country being torn apart by racism, my peers refuse to buy into it no matter how much our leaders encourage it.
That seems to be the general ideology in response to the recent criticism of the racially fuelled video by religious preacher Kazim and the racist slurs of Ismail Sabri.
Saying exactly what you mean and then vehemently denying it has become somewhat of a trend these days.
Being a member of the younger generation, I thankfully cannot recall a time when I was treated differently because of the colour of my skin.
Ironically, the only time I ever saw racism in all its glorious shades of horror was in the media, when a certain political leader brandished a “keris” in my face.
That episode changed my life, for in that instant, I realised that the biggest instigators of racism are usually the very people whose jobs it is to unite and govern Malaysians.
I dread to think that I will always live in a country that will be quick to stereotype me because of the colour of my skin. Will it ever become a non-issue for me as a Malaysian?
Call me a dreamer, but I think the answer to that is “yes”.
Yes, I believe that in my lifetime, it is foreseeable that my children won’t have to fill up school forms that categorise them as a certain ethnic group, and yes I will hopefully be able to look back at all these racially incited sentiments and laugh about them as a thing of the past.
Although I was spared full-on racism myself, there has always been subtle underpinnings of it in school, or in the stereotypes that we ourselves are guilty of perpetrating.
However I choose to remain optimistic.
I say this because the peers of my generation have started a conversation that matters. This may not seem like a big deal but it is because it is time we stopped being hypocrites and owned up to the fact that we are inherently racist in some way or another.
That’s why I couldn’t be happier that there is so much coverage in the news these days about racially fuelled issues because it can only mean one thing – that the voice of the moderate Malaysian is gaining traction.
My generation has become a vocal lot in driving the message that Malaysia is no home for bigoted racists.
My peers and me aren’t buying into these stereotypical and racist ideologies and are frankly getting quite fed-up of it.
Replacing race-based policies and politics with need-based ones and other grandeur notions are all fine and good but let’s start with baby steps that involve fairness, rationality and inclusiveness.
That doesn’t seem like such a hard concept to grasp, now does it?