That’s the question…
Of course I am talking about one of Indonesian Ambassador who few days ago posted a tweet that is considered as racist. Well… Okay. He said “Cina” in his tweet.
And why is this a problem?
Some people don’t consider using the word “Cina” to refer to Chinese Indonesian as a racist comment. But, the word “Cina” is the equivalent of the N word in the USA. If it is said by an African American, it is fine (sort of), but when a White American said it… it is improper. Same with the C word in Indonesia.
It is historical. It is cultural. Lots of people haven’t gotten over it as it has a negative connotative for being used as a derogative term for minority group.
So… when someone with the position like this Mr. Ambassador said the C word in public space, with or without malice, it is considered as a political blunder. A huge one, if I must say.
But here’s the thing.
I, for once, am not a PC Police. I don’t go around the social media attacking people who made the slightest social or cultural faux pas. I don’t even care about political correctness if it is about telling facts. So, I am not going to follow the crowd and condemn this tweet. I consider this as a PR crisis. Told you many years ago that these politicians need to hire people like me to manage their bloody social media. But nobody listens *rolleyes*.
And what if it is not a PR crisis? What if it is not a political blunder? What if this tweet is not just a mistake, but a reflection of how racist this guy is? So what?
I can’t make someone to be not-racist. Nobody can make someone to be not-racist, and it is the same the other way around. Can you… if you are not a racist, be made racist? No.
There is a place inside your brain that nobody can touch. It is where you are truly free, to be yourself. There is no right and wrong about the thing in your head. And if you have a certain idea about something or someone, that is your perception based on your own experience, based on what you’ve heard or seen. There is no such thing as thought crime.
Generalisation. Stereotyping. The kind of thing that you consider so bad is actually the way our brain work to simplify our lives. It is one of our basic instinct and survival tool. It is in the nature. It is been there to help us making sense of the world.
In the past mankind generalise animal as either prey or predator. That’s how they choose which animals they can eat and which one they should avoid. That’s survival. They classified plants to help them understanding the nature. Race, ethnicity… it is how we try to make sense of human’s uniqueness. It helps some people, to reduce the feeling of unknown.
This is humane. And this is what many PC polices don’t understand.
Some people just can’t help being racist. Especially in Indonesia where it is rooted, and where it is being taught from generation to generation. It has been drilled to people’s mind and being reinforced by radical groups. It is something that you can only hope will change slowly. It is not something that you can change overnight.
Heck.. we just start recognising this in Indonesia since 1998. We still have a long way to go.
Don’t get me wrong.
It does hurt when I read or listen to this kind of aggression. Micro or macro, it doesn’t matter. It still hurt no matter how much understanding you could give to these people. Sometimes even, I would retaliate, but most of the time, I’d rather write.
Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe, it could help people to understand too.