One of my friends who is really a good and upright person forwarded me an email supposedly written recently by someone named Lim Teng Seng who claims that the Lim Kok Wing University is covering up a kidnapping and rape by a student from Botswana. It goes on to make racist generalizations about Africans. (The letter turns out to be at least 2 years old, as I found a copy online from 2006.)
It asks people to keep forwarding this email to put pressure on LKW to give justice to this girl, which is why my friend forwarded it. However, what this kind of email actually does is to foster more racist stereotypes against Africans.
What spurred me to write this blog is because such racist rumours crop up way too often, and very often it's against Africans. Ironic that it comes right after my previous blog post about Malaysian artistes working for anti-racism.
A friend of mine is a lecturer at LKW and she said, "I don't have any experience with Botswana students in this manner and haven't heard of any. My classes have a lot of African students but had no such experience.They submit their assignments and do their presentations on time. God has been good and has given me good students so far. I cannot generalise any group in this way. There are many hardworking students among the Botswanians."
Even if it were true that some Botswana student had kidnapped and raped a girl, it is wrong to slander all Botswana students. Let us ask ourselves, how would we feel if just because one Malaysian student kidnapped and raped a girl in Australia, then people in Australia start categorizing all Malaysians as kidnappers & rapists?
Let us not spread racism!
A few years ago, this kind of racism caused some African students to be arrested on suspicion of rape & murder. There was a huge racist outcry against African students. Big headlines were splashed all over most newspapers.
Turns out that the Africans were completely innocent, and were only victimized because people gave in to racist sentiments and suspected them. The actual rapist - murderers were local Malaysians!
And there were no big headlines declaring the Africans innocent! Instead, a small article on the inside pages. And the majority of people continued to assume that the Africans were murderers and rapists.
This kind of stuff really makes me ANGRY. Africans are also human beings, made in the image of God. And we Malaysians commit terrible sins against them by perpetuating the stereotypes.
Sure, there are individual Africans who are evildoers -- just as there are Chinese, Indian, Malay, and "lain-lain" Malaysians who are evildoers.
But to racistly stigmatize a whole continent is evil.