Talking Points: how would you react to a racist comment in public?

Compiled by Jamie Lam

Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

Compiled by Jamie Lam |

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Choi Lok-lam, 17, Workers’ Children Secondary School

I would be both angry and speechless at the same time. Even if racist comments can be offhand remarks, they should still be seen as personal attacks. The problem is, I wouldn’t know how to react because racist attitudes are deeply ingrained in some people and I’m not sure what I could say to change their mind. It’s difficult trying to reason with unreasonable people. Therefore, I would just walk on and try to shrug it off.

Asawir Fatima,12, St Rose of Lima’s College

First, I would stop and let them know what they’re saying is wrong and hurtful. Second, I would tell the person not to discriminate against people simply because of their appearance, skin colour, religion, or for any other reason. Finally, I would ask the “bully” to apologise to the victim. Racism is unacceptable and people need to realise that.

Joyce Lau Chung-yin, 17, Pui Kiu College

If I’m being honest, my first instinct would be to keep my head down, say nothing, and walk away, as a lot of people would. However, if everyone turns a blind eye, it allows people to continue making racist comments and leaves the victims helpless. To tackle racism, ordinary people should speak up and say, “no, this isn’t right”. Racists pick on others to make themselves feel better; they never stop to think about how their behaviour affects those people. That’s why we need to confront these people and make them see the consequences of their actions.

Kensei Lai Hin-shing, 15, Ma On Shan Tsung Tsin Secondary School

I would be shocked and furious if I heard someone making a racist comment. Racism is unacceptable; I don’t believe any race is better than another. It can be hard to stand up to racists, but history has shown us what can happen if we don’t.

On a positive note, I think that racists are a minority. Most people believe in equality, so if they continue to oppose discrimination, then perhaps racists will realise that no one agrees with them and so change their ways.

In short, I think the best way to deal with racists is to keep promoting love and acceptance.

Sunny Hon, 17, Workers’ Children Secondary School

The best response to racist comments is to do nothing and say nothing. If we confront an offender in public, they will definitely deny that they’ve done anything wrong. Then anything you say becomes meaningless.

In this day and age, people embrace cultural diversity, so what we need to do is remain calm, ignore the offensive remarks and walk away. Our silence will speak for itself and show the person that we’re disgusted by their behaviour. Also, such a response is unlikely to provoke the racist, who could otherwise become violent and start a fight with us.

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

Does freedom of speech mean you can say whatever you want?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

Edited by M.J.Premaratne