Assumptions are human nature. We make assumptions of people based on our learnt experiences. This helps us to identify who are our friends, who are our enemies, and how we may approach strangers.
I work everyday with communities who talks about racism. Most racism is based on assumptions about people of a certain phenotype – that is, how they looked.
There is the old saying “judge a book by its cover”. We judge people, not only race, but many different ways, depending on how they look. We judge whether someone is wealthy, poor, young, old, sporty, casual, professional, etc, based on how they look. So it is not strange if we judge people by how they look.
Of course, racism is more than just how they look – it is also about how their name is spelt, how they speak, their accents, and more.
We know there are a lot of discussion about racism against the ethnic community – institutional racism, names calling, the list goes on. What have been really disturbing for me recently is the racism from the ethnic communities against each other and against the Caucasian community.
I had a White South African guy who said, in a meeting with other ethnic representatives that the Chinese has too much. During break time, asked how my work with the Chinese community is – simply because I am Chinese. This comment was made, despite the fact that I mentioned my work at the Council represent pan-ethnic.
In other meetings, I keep hearing my colleagues from the ethnic communities make these discriminatory comments about the “white people”; saying that white people don’t know our needs; the old White men go and take young Asian brides and be treated like a King, etc etc.
Being openly racist is not okay – and all of us that works with the ethnic community understand this. So why did anyone think it is okay to make racist comments about other people from the ethnic communities or the Caucasian community – just because we are “victims” of racism?
It is about time that we stop this ridiculous practice – against each other regardless of race, age, gender and more.