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Racism is not just West's Problem

The recent announcement by Taiwan's Labour Minister, Hsu Ming-chun, regarding the recruitment of manpower from India based on factors like 'skin colour,' dietary habits, and religion has sparked significant controversy. This stance, however, is not an isolated incident but rather a manifestation of a pervasive issue—racial discrimination in Asia.


Protests have followed Nido Taniam's death in New Delhi on January 30 [EPA] | Al Jazeera

The recent announcement by Taiwan's Labour Minister, Hsu Ming-chun, regarding the recruitment of manpower from India based on factors like 'skin colour,' dietary habits, and religion has sparked significant controversy. 


In global discussions on race and discrimination, the spotlight often gravitates towards white supremacy in Europe and North America, a focus that is undoubtedly necessary and justifiable. 


But to claim it's solely their problem diminishes the lived experiences of millions around the world. Racism manifests differently depending on the location, but its core principle — prejudice and discrimination based on race — remains a universal poison. 


The racial discrimination prevalent in Asia and Latin America against their own communities is a relatively underexplored topic, despite its profound socio-political and economic implications.


Take, for example, the deeply ingrained racism in Japanese society and the caste-based system in the Indian subcontinent. These systems exert a significant influence on various aspects of social and political life, including marriage, and play a crucial role in maintaining the hegemony of select groups.


In Japan, societal norms heavily regulate interactions based on race, impacting the everyday lives of individuals. Such discrimination not only creates social divisions but also influences political structures and economic opportunities. The repercussions of these discriminatory practices extend to the workplace, affecting recruitment decisions, promotions, and overall career prospects.


Similarly, the caste-based system in the Indian subcontinent has devastating implications for the social and political landscape. The hierarchical structure, with self-proclaimed upper classes, such as the Brahmins, effectively marginalizes individuals from backward classes, euphemistically termed "lower caste." This discrimination echoes through government institutions, where representation from backward classes is significantly lower, limiting their influence in decision-making processes.



The impact of racial and caste discrimination goes beyond individual experiences — it permeates institutions, shaping policies, and influencing power dynamics. In addressing this issue, it is crucial to recognize that racial discrimination is not confined to a specific region or community; it is a global challenge that requires a concerted effort for meaningful change.


Racism may not have a single origin story, but its impact is felt globally. We need meaningful discourse, policy steps, and affirmative actions within regions like Asia. By acknowledging and addressing these issues, we take a step towards dismantling the deeply rooted structures that perpetuate racial inequality and fostering a more inclusive and equitable society.


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