Speech makes case for racial unity

Crystal Diong
Crystal Diong
You probably all know this great saying - "We're all unique! Just like everyone else". So which is it? Are we unique or are we all just like everyone else? Let's look at it this way.

Our planet is a lattice - a network of interlocking molecules - each of us a tiny atom.

If I focus on a tiny section of this giant lattice, I see my society, and I see myself within it. Society has labelled me "Asian" and it seems that I have a long list of stereotypes engraved on to my forehead.

Am I then a nerd? Am I a maths genius? Will I do health science at university? Could I be antisocial? Hey, I'm not even fluent in English! I discovered that in 2003.

On February 4 of that year, I walked through the gates of my intermediate school and my protective bubble was shattered.

That was the day I realised that people in my new home would never see me as one of them.

Different skin and different eyes, coupled with my strange accent, led to people discriminating against me.

I walked through the gates of my school believing I was an equal.

Yet, I walked out of those gates, my mind moulded into believing what others saw in me. To them, my accent correlated to my competency as a person overall.

We've all heard of the saying "United we stand, divided we fall". Elitism, however, creates a sense of inferiority in one's mind. People become scared to participate, to be closely bonded. I know I was.

If we discriminate, we will never know what those people could have offered to society.

Racism is the word's biggest tragedy. What makes it even more unfortunate is the fact that there are no direct solutions to racism.

Yes, the Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Act make discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation and disability unlawful.

Schools are another ideal platform to educate our future citizens about other cultures.

Many people discriminate because of a lack of understanding - not just about the festivals celebrated and the language spoken, but the history of a culture.

Chinese have been, and are still, stereotyped as nerds. But the truth is, many families in China suffer extreme economic hardship.

Chinese parents invest their lives into their children's education in the hope they will get better jobs and rise out of poverty.

That's how the culture of hard work or "nerdiness" was ingrained into the Chinese people. This shouldn't be such a big mystery.

Racial discrimination is caused by the entire lattice, it affects the entire lattice and requires everyone to combat it. Laws and bills cannot change our attitudes, only we can.

We are unique... just like everyone else.

The common ground between all of us is our differences - that is what we need to realise and accept.

- By Crystal Diong. 

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