Equality of Racial & Cultural Identities


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In the text, “Race and Multiculturalism in Malaysia and Singapore,” (2009) Daniel Goh and Philip Holden discuss multiple main ideas but the one I want focus on is, “institutionalized colonial racial identities” (3). According to Goh and Holden, “institutionalized colonial racial identities” (3) was imbedded in social political aspects of Singapore and Malaysia because it influenced how people understood identities of others and themselves. Unfortunately it influenced favoritism of certain cultural groups over another, so depending on a person’s culture, they received favoritism or were disregarded.

The objective Goh and Holden make, is that different cultural identities should have “equal value and worth,” (3). And to do that there needs to be a rearrangement of, “colonial and postcolonial cultures” (4) through the government. The government is categorized into, “civil groups, citizens and residents as postcolonial actors”, (4) but the way the cultural racial groups are set up makes it difficult to change things so they have to settle for compromising, “institutionalized colonial racialization,” (3) until they can reform it to a new multiculturalism where one race is not ranked higher or lower than another.

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This led to the grouping of labor for people based on the racial and cultural group they belonged to in Malaysia under British rule, “Thus Chinese were placed as commercial middlemen aliens, Malays and Indonesian migrants confined to the fields as indigenous peasant smallholders, and the Indians imported as municipal and plantation labourers,” (5) depending on the rank a racial group has the labor can be bad.

Racial categories relates to America too because both America, Malaysia and Singapore incorporated the same tactics, which are grouping specific racial groups in categories to solely control and regulate their lives, for example in Malaysia, “new immigrant communities were segregated geographically, socially and economically from the local population,” (5). America is perceived as a melting pot of cultures that are so diverse and live in harmony but in reality, America was built on racist fundamentals, is not what it was made out to be which is a country that is accepting and welcoming of everyone no matter how different they are in regard to race and culture. America has strategically done things to keep certain racial groups more controlled such as, segregation in schools and the busing system. Overall, these countries have done everything in their power to put certain racial groups above others.

Works Cited

Goh, Daniel P.S. and Holden Philip. Race and Multiculturalism in Malaysia and Singapore.  New York, Routledge, 2009.