(a) prevalent in more modernised countries such as the

(a)  This article illustrates acts of racism and
xenophobia faced by an African-American student in the National University of
Singapore (NUS). The article highlights incidents that happen on a daily basis,
not because of any actions she had done but because of the way she looks. Some
of the incidents include, young children staring at her in fear and their
parents ignoring it, people asking if she is a “negro just like Michelle Obama”,
people telling her that she is “the good kind of black” intending for it to be
a compliment and the cashier or server at a stall being rude and grumpy to her
but nice and kind to others.

 

(b)  I was aware of this form of prejudice and
discrimination in Singapore, since it is so prevalent in more modernised
countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, it is bound to happen in
Singapore. However, I was unaware of the severity of it. Going to the extent
where people would avoid her or deny her of their services, like when “Chinese
taxi drivers would change their sign and drive away the moment they see her
flag for it or strangers seeing her as something rare and unfamiliar, poking
and prodding her, even pulling her hair on the MRT without consent. I never would
have expected acts as serious as this being ignored in Singapore, since there is
a culture of people posting such acts on online forums, like STOMP and Facebook
pages.

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(c)  Spontaneous Categorisation is when people tend to
organise the world around us by categorising people based on certain attributes
like age, gender but most often, race. This is due humans organising a colour
continuum into what we see as distinct colours, thus we have a strong desire to
arrange people into groups. We then base our perception of the person according
to their racial stereotype. In this case, spontaneous categorisation is the foundation
of prejudice for Iwani, as people form their perception of her from stereotypes
about her race. Leading to situations where children would stare at her in fear
or people being amazed that her hair is clean and pretty when they expect it to
be dirty and ugly, even relating her and her race to negative acts such as
theft, violence and corruption.

 

(d)  On a personal level, I would expose my nieces and
nephews or children to people of all races. One of the examples mentioned in
the article, “Prejudice in Singapore is when little children stare at you in
fear, whilst their parents pretend like they don’t notice, and say nothing”,
probably stems from parents telling their young children that people with black
skin would kidnap them and that they should avoid them. This leads to young
children developing cultural preference as they grow older, excluding people of
unfamiliar races from their social circles. And If I see any friends or
relatives speaking ill of a certain race or group, I would tell them what they
are doing wrong and ask them to correct their attitude and think about the
consequences and harm they could be causing the person/group. I would try not
to shy away from standing up to people in public when they are harassing
someone of another race/ethnicity or treating them differently. On a public
level, I would propose for a new subject to be taught in schools of all levels,
from primary to tertiary. Unlike, Civics and Moral Education (CME), the subject
will be taught in English and students would not be split up by their mother
tongue. Where it would teach students about being a responsible and considerate
member of public. This subject would not shy away from taboo topics such as
racism and its effects, as being more open about it would lead to the next generation
of citizens having a more favourable view on people of a different race and be
a step towards reducing prejudice and discrimination in the future.