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「停止仇恨亞裔運動」帶來的反思

2021/4/12 — 15:57

資料圖片,來源:Robinson Greig @ Unsplash

資料圖片,來源:Robinson Greig @ Unsplash

(English version below – “Anti-Asian Hate Movement has Lessons for All of Us”)

Black Lives Matter 風潮餘波未平,又隨即掀起 Stop Asian Hate 運動。針對種族的問題沒完沒了,這完全展示了人類的劣根性 — 喜歡尋找差異、製造分化,對此我深感失望。仇恨亞裔看似是歐美地區的問題,但想深一層,這問題的本質其實就是針對少數族裔、宗教少數群體、原住民的惡意定型和歧視,到處皆見,遍及全球,只是在歐美地區更加突顯出其暴力野蠻的性質而已。

相比於歐美,我們應當慶幸 Hate Crime 在香港極少發生,然而,由於部份人士仍然對少數族裔有誤解、定型、及歧視的心態,在日常生活中,我們仍可察覺種族歧視的確存在。自去年新冠疫情爆發以來,少數族裔在港面對的困境,更是有增無減。

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從歐美訴諸暴力的種族仇恨風潮以至本港少數族裔所面對的被定型及歧視問題,我總結了一些觀察。

首先,很多人愛在出錯時諉過於人。社會需要尋找代罪羔羊,少數族裔及宗教少數群體往往首當其衝。這些事件在歷史上屢見不鮮。香港在疫情肆虐期間,同樣發生多宗針對本港人口某些群體的種族定型和歧視事件。

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第二,有人說種族歧視源自無知。其實有時候資訊 — 或更準確地說不完整或錯誤資訊 — 也會導致種族歧視。文字訊息的影響力驚人,正如在疫情初期,病毒以所謂發源地命名而引發的風波,便可見一斑。在香港,一些對某特定群組或社群的文化認識不足而作出的公開評論足以使他們淪為眾矢之的,若再加上社交媒體散播錯誤和虛構信息,後果可以十分嚴重。

第三,種族歧視來自主流群體排除「異類」的傾向。無稽的是,「異類」可以是純粹主觀地劃分,因個人的觀感、地點及時間而定。你認為某人是「異類」,但根據另一人的觀感,你可能與那「異類」是「同類」。在美國,東亞人和東南亞人常被誤以為是中國人而就針對,便是明顯例證。在香港,有時人們亦對來自南亞或東南亞的少數族裔的國藉產生混淆,並由此衍生出毫無理據的種族定型及歧視行為。

任何成熟的社會,都理應有能力和智慧以承認、接納和包容差異。可惜即使是經濟最先進的國家和地區,在這方面卻仍有很多不足之處,實在十分遺憾。

更甚的是,很多人不認為自己存有種族歧視。他們基於自己沒有參與種族歧視活動,便會以非種族歧視者自居。然而,他們沒有察覺自己對於某些種族抱有偏見,亦沒有意識到自己因這偏見而產生的行為、語言或行動,也可能帶有歧視成分。這方面的例子比比皆是:不歡迎某種族的人士參與活動、避免坐在看似少數族裔人士旁邊,拒絕把房屋出租予少數族裔群體,全部是種族偏見和歧視的行為。

為何我們只待種族歧視演化為暴力時才驚覺、才發聲呢?在日常生活中,假若我們看到少數族裔同事遭受輕度冒犯(micro-aggression)、服務人員缺乏文化敏感度,或某人僅因膚色外表與社會上大多數人不同而遭無禮對待,我們應同樣感到不滿才對。只有「杜漸防微」,才可以杜絕種族歧視及其所可能衍生的暴力行為。

種族主義是棘手的議題,必須加以討論,才能改變現況。

我們更應注重自我教育,開放自己學習他人文化。我們這樣做,並非因為日後我們可能成為另一國家的少數,而是因為人類社會必須追求平等共融,才可以匯聚最大的力量,繼續創建未來。


Anti-Asian Hate Movement has Lessons for All of Us

With the “Stop Asian Hate” movement coming on the heels of the Black Lives Matter movement, I am dismayed at the inherent nature of human beings to look at differences and create divisions. “Stop Asian Hate” is not just a US or Europe challenge.  It is simply the latest edition of a phenomenon that encompasses stereotypes and discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities as well as indigenous people seen everywhere, including within Asia.

It should give us all pause for introspection.

As I reflected on the whys and wherefores of this new round of intolerance, I tried to understand some of the root causes for racism with reference to our current times. I came up with four theories.

Firstly, human beings like to have someone to blame when things go wrong.  Society needs scapegoats and racial and religious minorities become targets.  History has enough examples of this. Hong Kong has seen its fair share of racial stereotyping and discrimination targeted against certain sections of its own population over the course of the pandemic.

Secondly, they say ignorance breeds racism, but in my opinion, it is sometimes information or rather incomplete or mis-information that foments racism.  Words matter, as seen by the choice of terms such as the name given to the virus in the early days based on its supposed origin and the imagery they invoke.  Closer to home, we are familiar with the danger of making public remarks based on limited cultural awareness about a particular group or community causing them to become a target of collective anger. And as for social media, every day we are made more aware of its power to spread misinformation and falsehoods that can have dangerous consequences. The very fact that agencies for fact-checking have been set up in different countries and governments across the world are contemplating legislation to regulate content should make us doubly cautious.

Thirdly, racism thrives on our tendency to see “otherness”. We see differences and create categories.  It is interesting though that these categories are subjective and vary depending on one’s perspective, place and time.  You may be put into the same box as the one you see as “other” by someone with a different perspective.  The fact that all East and South-East Asians in the US are being targeted in the mistaken notion that they are all Chinese is a case in point. I cannot help but notice the irony of it given that in Hong Kong we constantly see the “otherness” of people from our neighbouring countries, most prominently the Filipino and Indonesian foreign domestic workers, who are invariably afforded differential treatment.

The ability and wisdom to acknowledge, accept and celebrate differences is what a mature society is expected to do. I am sorry to see even the most advanced of countries slip up in that respect ever so often.

Finally, people are not very good at recognising racism in themselves. Most people would claim to be non-racist as they do not engage in the kind of overt racism that everyone associates with the term. However, they do not see their own biases and do not realise that behaviour, words or action that stem from those biases could be racist. Excluding someone from an activity due to his or her race, refusing to sit next to someone who appears to be of a minority race, declining to rent premises to someone from an ethnic minority community are all reflections of racial bias and translate into actions and behaviour that amount to racism.

Why should we only sit up when we see racism manifested as violence? We should be equally angry when we see daily micro-aggressions directed at our racial minority colleagues or racially insensitive service or plain impoliteness when dealing with someone who looks different from the majority.  We need to de-immunize ourselves from such behaviours so we can react and be outraged just as we are when we see the blatant violence that instigated the Stop Asian Hate or the Black Lives Matter movement.

Racism is a tough subject to talk about but unless we have these conversations, we have little chance of moving forward.  Simply because Hong Kong has not had race-related agitations on the scale that we are seeing in other parts of the world does not mean racial discrimination does not exist here. We should not delude ourselves.

What we can do is educate ourselves, open ourselves to learning about others.  Not simply because some day we could be the minority in another country but because human beings do best when they collaborate and create, not destruct.

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