Prejudice is the child of ignorance.
– William Hazlitt

Lately at work, I have been witnessing a lot of bigoted attitudes. Its difficult being in a position where your superiors make comments that, in a non-hierarchal environment, would see your fist in their faces.

Here are just a few examples:

“I interviewed this Asian girl from NZ. She’s got a lot of experience. Was a district manager of 4 stores. But you know, she seemed dodgy. Like a typical Asian who is really money minded, sneaky and would do anything to get what they want.”

“There are so many Asians here! I feel like I’m in fucking China! And Indians too.”

“Xxxxx, the brand manager sounds like an Asian prostitute. – Puts on a stereotypical impersonation – two dollah suckee fuckeee.”

And note that all this was said to me, in my presence. As an Asian myself, I don’t really understand why they would indulge such thoughts with me especially when their verbal attacks are against people of my race. Do they not see that these comments are not only inappropriate in a professional environment but also, mirrors their ignorance and unwarranted detestation??

Then this was said to me a couple of nights ago, which just left me flabbergasted.

“I don’t care Tersh. You’re not Asian. You’re a wog. You’re different. Take it as a compliment and a half.”

That’s like patting me on my back while catapulting spit at my face. Do they not understand that racism dis-empowers people by devaluing other people’s identity. I have been told that people who hate for the pleasure of it, does so in an attempt to avoid their own pain. What they don’t realize is that by doing so, it destroys community solidarity and creates isolation in society. It is the opposite of the democratic principle of equality and the right of all people to be treated fairly.

Australia is an island of immigrants (read: convicts) – that the aboriginals are the rightful inhabitants but yet they have very little rights in their own country. In fact, they are treated as minorities. I find it odd that they (the above mentioned), being immigrants themselves, decide that they have the right to deem who is and isn’t worthy in this country. I guess the color of our skin still takes primal importance in western societies.

Where does all this hatred/resentment come from? I know that language barrier plays a huge role in all this ignorance. When you hate someone because you don’t know them, their culture, their values, their history; you will never know them because you’ve already made the decision to hate them. Shallow judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond mere appearances.

Apart from racial slurs, I also have to put up with homophobic characters telling me I can’t go to church because I’m gay. I know that words are just words but it really bothers me that I work with such parochial individuals.

Tell me how you overcome racial/sexual discrimination in the work place. I feel hypocritical for taking in such comments and at times have to break into nervous laughter in fear of allowing my facial expression to break into an ease of disgust. I feel like I’m admitting defeat by being silent. But if I voice up, I will stand a good chance of not advancing within the company or worse, lose my job.

Is being silent in the face of adversity a sign of weakness or strength?



  1. Serena · · Reply

    Send them over to me, I’ll show them how Asians can combat the hell outta them ignorant fucks!!!! They do not deserve to be in ur presence!

  2. It’s ludicrous. It is so sad that such ignorance can still exist.

  3. Bambino · · Reply

    Serena: I’d send them over if I knew who you were. I only know one serena so I guess I’m sending them down to your wicked pad in KL!Wen: Ludicrous with a capital L! It IS sad. I pity people who have so much hate. It must suck being them.

  4. Anonymous · · Reply

    indeed it’s our serena. it outrages me, really! hang in there babe. :)- kareen –

  5. Serena · · Reply

    Yes it’s the Serena u know. Discrimination exists everywhere unfortunately. Sad that some ppl can be so DUMB though. At least have a little consideration and keep such thoughts to urself!

  6. Anonymous · · Reply

    I think silence is a sign of weakness. That said, just two days ago I said nothing to an influential scientist I was having lunch with even though I was disgusted/shocked by his blatant dismissal of animal suffering in medical research.(My mind churns over that period of time, wondering the outcome if I had spoken up) I’ve seen my friends able to protest against ideas that they disagree with in a manner that doesn’t cause conflict or awkward silences. I guess it’s something easily done among friends but far harder around supervisors.carol

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