Show racists that their views are not tolerated


Show racists that their views are not tolerated
By Zan Azlee

Two days ago, a terror attack happened in New York City where a man, who happens to be a former Uber driver, drove a truck into a bicycle lane killing eight people and injuring scores of others. He was a Muslim and allegedly claimed allegiance to Islamic State (IS).

Right after the deadly attack, which was condemned by many Muslims, a right-wing activist by the name of Laura Loomer tweeted these messages:

“Someone needs to create a non Islamic form of @uber or @lyft because I never want to support another Islamic immigrant driver.”

“I generally try to not support Muslim owned businesses companies here in NY. That shouldn’t be hard to do in US, but w/ immigration it is.”

“I’m late to the NYPD press conference because I couldn’t find a non Muslim cab or @Uber @lyft driver for over 30 min! This is insanity.”

“Muslims are out in full force at the scene of the NYC #ISIS attack today rubbing it in everyone’s face. Aimlessly walking around in hijabs.”

This resulted in Uber permanently shutting down Loomer’s account. This is because under Uber’s terms of use, a rider or driver must respect each other and must not use inappropriate and abusive language.

Basically, Uber called out Loomer’s racism and has used its full authority to ban her from using their service. This is a case of a racist having to face the consequences of her actions, and she was subsequently punished by a corporation.

Now let’s take a look in Malaysia.

Racism is so deeply ingrained in our society that it appears natural. Individuals can do whatever they want that is racist and it would still be okay. One case in point is Jamal Md Yunos, the leader of the Red Shirts, a right-wing Malay rights group.

He constantly makes racist remarks and regularly organises rallies that disparage non-Malays. Although he often gets hauled up by the police to be ‘investigated’ on for his actions, he is always released scot-free and no action has ever been taken again him.

Now let’s go back to the West.

Last year, conservative journalist Milo Yiannapoulos was permanently banned by Twitter. His account was removed and would never be re-activated because he had sparked off a movement on the platform by hurling abuses at actor Leslie Jones.

Jones, who starred in the movie ‘Ghostbusters’ and is also a cast member of ‘Saturday Night Live’, called Yinnapoulos out for what did. This was rightfully so, hence leading to his permanent ban from the popular social media platform.

And back to Malaysia.

Here, we even have big corporations apparently pandering to the racist nature of our society. Remember the Hari Raya advertisement that pharmacy chain Watsons did earlier in the year? It was controversial because it involved a woman in black face make-up.

It is about a rich man who dreamt of a woman with a beautiful voice. He made a call for all the maidens around the world to come to his palace so he could find the one he was searching for. All those who came did not have the voice that he was looking for.

Then he heard it and he pushed his way through the crowd to see a woman singing. Initially, he couldn’t see her face because it was hidden behind a shawl. He pulls it away and was shocked to see a black-faced woman. He even makes stupid jokes like, “Where are the lights?”

Luckily, netizens made a lot of noise and eventually Watsons was forced to make an apology and take down the video. But this still shows the problem that Malaysian society has when it comes to racism. Everyone is just too blasé about it.

What made this worse is the fact that a huge corporation like Watsons would seemingly endorse such views and even be a part of it. When even huge corporations endorse such an act, then it really shows that racism has become truly ingrained in our society and this is sad.

What we really need is to make sure any racist action is dealt with and those who are racists need to be shown that there will be consequences to their actions. Then, maybe it will slowly bring a change in society.

[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.com]

Get Zan Azlee’s latest book ‘JOURNO-DAD: The chronicles of a journalist who just happens to be a dad!‘ today!

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