Hong Kong may be “Asia’s World City” but there is little doubt that racial discrimination still exists here. This means treating people in a worse way because of their skin colour, or racial or ethnic origin.
Ethnic minorities in Hong Kong face a lot of racism. A study by the World Values Survey Association has shown that many Hongkongers would not want to live next to people of a different race.
Racism is not the only obstacle facing minorities, who often come from South Asia and Africa. Some of them cannot find jobs because employers prefer to hire locals who speak Chinese.
In addition, many ethnic minority children struggle at school because they don’t speak Cantonese, and it can be very difficult to learn. There is a lack of support for them in the education system. What’s more, some local students make fun of them for their poor pronunciation of Chinese.
I think the main problem is that Hongkongers have a sense of superiority over people from developing countries. They also have a poor understanding of different cultures.
The late US civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, once said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”
I hope that in future, Hongkongers will show more tolerance towards immigrants living in Hong Kong.
Wong Ho-ching, STFA Seaward Woo College
Thank you for your letter, Ho-ching. Sadly, racism is very common, not only in Hong Kong, but around the world.
Most racism is due to ignorance: people simply don’t understand the customs and culture of people of a different race, so they don’t respect them.
Racism should be tackled at a young age. For example, schools can organise study trips which can help students improve their understanding of other countries. They can then exchange views with young people in those places and broaden their horizons. Also, the government could organise activities for different cultures to get together.
There is no excuse for racial discrimination. And it’s not cool to be racist.
M. J. Premaratne, Sub-editor