On 1st December 1955 when my mother was nearly 6 years old, something happened in a land far far away where the law stated and allowed for segregation and discrimination based on skin colour, painfully obvious in-your-face racism. Rosa Parks, an African-American woman in Montgomery, Alabama refused to give up her seat in the middle section of a public bus even after being told to do so by the bus driver when a Caucasian man wanted a seat in the same section. The public act of defiance led to her getting arrested and jailed, and triggered a massive civil rights movement that changed America’s history. You can read more about the boycotting of public transport here, and some bits about Rosa Parks here.
Sweet. But let’s not forget that Rosa Parks was not just tired of sometimes the bus drivers taking fares then zoomed off when she had to get down to go to the end of the bus. She was also heavily involved in the NAACP. While there are some who claim that there were other people who refused to give up their seats prior to Rosa Parks but were not accredited accordingly, I say bad luck and timing lah, she was the secretary of NAACP and the powers that be thought that her story served a nicer inspiration.
This kind of thing also want to dispute. Sien. Why not discuss and dispute this? Is it right to want to preserve cultural aspects based on race and genes bordering on racism?
Anyway there are many types of racism and a lot of forms of racism are still heavily practised today. In our modern politically correct world, direct discrimination like in Rosa Park’s case will be met with outright rage and disbelief, and if you are the person or company practising it, serves you right lah.
But then the theories of racism and discrimination are ideas that evolved with time. What was seen as acceptable in the olden times when people were not as anal as today (one of the reasons was due to lack of platform opportunities for the discriminated back then) can be widely protested against today, disputable as they are. As I mentioned before, I was reading a book on Richard Feynman and during his later days he faced much protest when his first autobiography “Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Feynman” was published. Women rights campaigners lobbied against his choice of words they defined as ‘sexist’ and ‘male-chauvinistic’, discriminating women in science. So now you have a whole discussion or argument on whether or not R.F.’s own words acted out during his time were right or wrong, and/or could and could not be read/published today. Grey area, I am not going into it, never ending discussion.
I often have conversations with KY other than superficial stuff like men, women, beer, blogs and koi pond. It was pointed out that many companies in the States practise reverse racism and not unlike Malaysia it is actually legal. So something like a company has 3 top spots available, and one of the three top spots has to go to a person who is the most qualified in his race, and not the most qualified in the entire country regardless of race. On the surface it doesn’t sound right and it is quite patronising at the expense of the company’s productivity and performance.
BUT then, factors like basic human rights are not always equal, each slice of the pie is often not the same shape and size and some people may not even get the pie. Translated, certain opportunities available to some people may not necessarily be available to others, and most of the time they are due to background and money. When you already have something so segregated like that, quality of education in public and private schools for example, the chances of getting the pie often is slim to none, which I don’t think is fair. Not to say that reverse racism is fair to those who have had or could have such opportunities, but these social factors must be taken into consideration.
Money makes the world go round. In many aspects, money can buy you better health, longevity and can even give you the healthiest, more ‘durable’ kids what with all the genetic research. It is happening already; what is scary is that it will eventually be discrimination based on genes, the whole Gattaca scenario where you will no longer be a second class race, but a second class human. In that scenario, given a person who had all the benefits that money could buy including tempering of genes and a person who have not such benefits who would have to take sick leaves now and then, both of equal knowledge and education and experience – based on competence and future-productivity level, which person do you think the company would hire?
Scary scary scary. All boils down to a suitable balance between socialism and capitalism. But… who can play God?
Just my Thursday thoughts.