Monday, September 08, 2008

Racist in the eyes of an Indonesian

It started here and here, the comment and statement on both of these two blog kept me asked my self of that question again and again.

“Are We Racist ?” – “Are Indonesian Racist ?” – “How Do We Accept all the differences in our country ?”

What is Racist means ? According to Wikipedia :

Racism, by its simplest definition, is the belief that
race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. People with racist beliefs might hate certain groups of people according to their racial groups.

While the term racism usually denotes race-based
prejudice, violence, discrimination, or oppression, the term can also have varying and hotly contested definitions

If we are looking into Wikipedia definition then we may say that Indonesians are not racist, because it’s obvious that Indonesian never hate certain groups of people according to their racial groups.

Why ? Because we never value somebody based on their skin color and religion. We don’t have a term as “Black” and “White” definition to our people like in America.

But is that all, is that true that we are definitely are not racist ?

Yes, it may be true that we do not have the “Black” and “White” terms, but we have a lot of others term to express the stereotype of our culture, where the terms may lead to racism. In our discussion, it’s common to say that “no wonder, he/she is Chinese or no wonder; he/she is Manado, or other ethnic.” We never leave behind the stereotype of each ethnic; we live with that, the prejudice instinct.

Same with religion, there’s nothing new here. It’s common for the fanatical to look down at others, to give a statement to persuade others to follow their beliefs, to push other religion disciple to follow with their rules. It’s easy to condemn other religion as infidel, as unbeliever. How easy to bring a disagreement under “religious” law and persuade it as a legal law and do the harmful action based on that “religious” law.

I read article about “nation” and “civilization” of Indonesia, which bring me to the understanding of our “Racist” issue.

As a nation, we don’t have of what we called “Indonesia Civilization”, like American. We can not claim that the civilization that we have now is Indonesia Civilization, because when we build our nation, it was not based on our Indonesia Civilization instead it was based on our ethnicity, e.g. Batak, Sunda, Java, Manado, Bali, Chinese (name it). The realization to be a nation was due to colonialism, where we as a human being would like to have the freedom to act and to think.

Therefore back to
Treespotter question, are we racist ? If I may say, “Yes, we are racist” in all understanding of racism, we have to admit it.

No one in this world are not racist, everybody has their own judgment, their own prejudice towards others, ethnicity to other ethnicity, nation to nation, religion to religion, minority to majority, gender to gender. The difference only in the way we weigh or scale our racism in our blood, in our thinking, in our eyes.

As a human we can not deny it, we have that issue in our blood. Indonesian or not, American or not, African or not, Australian or not, China or not, I have to say, we all are racist in our own way.


Anonymous said...

I posted a comment in treespotter's website :D

treespotter said...

Tere, i totally agree that all of us have our prejudices and cannot possibly turn a blind eye to all those things.

But not all of us act on it. It doesn't mean that we just hide it well, it means that we allow ourself to accept bigger and better ideas and within reasons, beyond the subjective biases.

That's how we make the world better. Me thinks.

Great post :D

Elyani said...

Each and every nation is to some extent racist/prejudice even in sports. Take Spain football for example. At times they seem so tolerant and even proud of the various ethnic players in the clubs. But at other times they (the spectators) appear to be a xenophobic bunch of idiots and started calling some players names or acting like monkeys. In UK, it is a lot better because the anti racism campaign is supported by the governing bodies, supporters organizations and local authorities.

Racism is behavior, we are racists if we let racists behaviors exist and let racism be regarded as acceptable for whatever reason.

tere616 said...

the writer, Yes I've read all your comment @treespotter and @Rob :-D

Treespotter : Ace, If not because of your question, I wouldn't find the answer for mysel and come up to the conclusion. Couldn't agree than you. But beyond all of that how to make a world better, we should aware that the "racist" is actually already in ourselves.

Elyani : Hai, long time not to see you.Yes Elyani, but racism is something we can't hold on, it is us who let the racist metahpor into racism.

Bubba said...

well, I know for sure that Indos are bloody racist. people are laughing when they heard funny accent from other territory. in some extent, they do call it 'irritating'.

not too long ago, racism, in some extent, happened to be the cause when Indos were killing each other.

Rob Baiton said...

As I have posted many times in my own blog and as comments on other people's blogs, it is important that we know and understand our prejudices and biases.

if we know and understand these things then we can make either a conscious decision to act on them or not to act on them.

It is an interesting topic to ponder though, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

tere, i hate to be an opponent. but you stated:

Because we never value somebody based on their skin color and religion. We don’t have a term as “Black” and “White” definition to our people like in America.

i know for sure that we are racist. indonesians tend to look 'down' to our chinese friends. i don't know if it's jealousy or what. might need to do more research on that. but like my posting here, indonesian authorities kept asking 'permit money' so they could maintain their business? that's absurd.

when i was in high school, nobody would hang out with the chinese kids. why? they were told by their parents that they're cheaters. wow.

perhaps bubba was referring to the 'trisakti tragedy' in 1998 that lead to the raping and killing of indonesian chinese ethnics.

i am not chinese. perhaps future commentators think i am one, because of my comment here.

Ancilla said...

I think we could discuss about it for hours.. HeHeHe..

Anyway, I think, there are a lot of Indonesian who are racist to their own nations.

I would not say about Chinese in Indonesia, because it takes a lot of time, since we have to go back several centuries ago.

I want to mention an idea...
The self-underestimate behavior of Eastern citizens.
There are a lot of Indonesian who admire anything which comes from Western countries. Yupes, anything!

We can see how many companies in Indonesia which hire expatriates. I am wondering, do we really that stupid? HeHeHe... I do know some, which hired expatriates not because of their competencies. They just wanted to be looked as global companies.

tere616 said...

bubba : We are bloody racist, for sure. But unfortunately most of us denied it. May 1998 actually pictured Indonesian as racist, and there are a lot of example of how racist we are.

Rob : Yes, indeed. It's an interesting topic to ponder :-) Thanks for the idea.

Accordingtod : Din, am with you. The statement that I put is actually my comment on how people or sometimes ourselves view the racism in ourselves. Racist not only of how we look at our Chinese-Indonesian, but also to other ethnicity, dayak vs bugis, how they killed each other. Or yes, May 1998, the biggest example of how racist we are, not just in terms of ethnicity but also to religion and financial issue.

Ancilla : It's also the example of how we have the inferriority feeling to the Western. I couldn't agree more than you. All with "western" is always the best, all with "traditional" is always a question mark.

Ancilla said...

The silly thing is...
Those westerns learn a lot from easterners!

Here, a lot of Asian center in the universities. I believe that you must ever heard "Jongko Joyoboyo" or "Arjuna Wiwaha" and so on? We, at least me, can't find it in Indonesia. But here? Jeez, I can found it in the university's library! For both in Bahasa or in Javanese!

tere616 said...

ancilla : Yes, I heard about it and I'm longing to read it. I just remembered my friend told me that I'm unpatriotic because I blame Indonesia through my english blog. But here we are, there's an example of how we appreciate our own culture.

BTW, how come that they have and we haven't :-(

It's pathetic.