Calling MHA to open a forum on race and racism in Singapore

Calling MHA to open a forum on race and racism in Singapore

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Wee Yang Soh started this petition to Ministry of Home Affairs

In light of recent and previous incidents involving race relations in Singapore, this petition urges the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to open a national forum on race relations and racism in Singapore.

The recent controversy surrounding an advertisement aired by NETS and the backlash caused by a rap video made in response to the advertisement show that many Singaporean minorities are increasingly frustrated and dissatisfied with the state of racial relations in Singapore. While media scrutiny focused on the propriety of the advertisement and the rap video, much less attention was given to the underlying, recurrent problems of racial representation and stereotyping in Singapore.

This petition appeals to MHA for:

  1. A better recognition and diagnosis of the racial prejudice routinely faced by minority groups in Singapore. This racial prejudice does not just exist through overt racism, but through recurrent patterns in everyday life. Such recurrent patterns include, but are not limited to:
    • Being treated as objects of suspicion or potential threats to the social fabric of Singapore
    • Being denied employment and housing opportunities on account of cultural practices
    • Being caricaturised by narrow, conservative definitions of minority ethnicities and cultures, where representations of their ethnic identity are often reduced to skin colour, food, and apparel
    • Being perceived as possessing certain negative attributes or qualities due to their race
    • Societal and economic pressure for minorities to assimilate into the majority Chinese language and culture
    • Being constantly expected to speak and act as representatives for an entire racial group
  2. Establishing a nationwide dialogue and forum on such experiences faced by minorities

This petition builds on circulated personal accounts of racial discrimination and documentation of the harmful effects of racial stereotyping in Singapore throughout the years (read: Examples of Racism in Singapore and How has racism closed doors for you?).

Through such dialogue, we sincerely hope that racial harmony be seen not as a condition to be imposed and policed, but a state to be achieved through productive and humanising discourses on race with and among the various racial communities in Singapore.

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