Letters from the dorm: to stop racism, you’ve got to do whatever it takes

Cyril Ip
Cyril Ip |

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When I arrived in Britain, I became aware that favouritism takes place in a very disgusting form: racism. I’m not trying to say that only people of my race experience racism here. However, as a Chinese person – “one of the Chinese”

as they say – I can see first-hand how differently we are treated.

We are targeted by people who know nothing about us, our culture, our experiences, our lives. Ironically, some of them don’t even care to find out. We often think it’s our responsibility to get people to appreciate our culture, and when they don’t, we blame it on ourselves. But it’s not our fault. It’s the fault of those who don’t let us communicate that culture.

As Viola Davis said in her acclaimed Emmy speech: “The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity.” The people causing this lack of opportunity are those who endorse favouritism, particularly racism.

Unfortunately, a racist person cannot be exposed by simply asking them “Are you a racist?” or “Do you respect all races?” It’s part of a person’s demeanour and conduct. Some people might tell rude jokes and they are just that, jokes. But another person might tell the same joke with a much darker intent. They want to hurt you, and make you feel uncomfortable. If this happens, speak up. Seek help from a teacher, or a member of staff. I sincerely believe that most people are not racist, so the higher authority you speak to will most likely give you sound advice and be directly involved in solving the problem.

And if the person you want to complain about is a higher authority, then what do you do? Seek an even higher authority, for example, the director of the department, the school counsellor, or the principal, and get your parents to issue a formal complaint – do whatever it takes.

Remember that by preserving our rights, we are providing security to countless other people suffering from the same prejudice. By acknowledging our rights, we are telling fellow members of society that it is crucial to have a voice. Some of our parents used to tell us to keep a low profile at all times, and to be relatively inconspicuous and flexible. This has led to many of us avoiding discussing controversial issues openly. However, for the good of society, we must do what it takes and spread the message: we are all equal.