Reader silentvoice recently made these remarks about racial harmony as a Singaporean. His thoughts resonated with me and I would like to highlight it here as a post. Do you think this is achievable in the West? Why would you be for or against such a policy? Do you think this is generally what China is also doing?
There’s a lot of things we Singaporeans dislike about our government but I think in the area of race relations our government did right. Over the years, policies that look drastic to Western eyes have helped us bury the racial divide and forge a common national identity. Unlike in the US, where minorities are left on their own to blend in, we actually mean it when we say we want to create a multicultural society. Through laws and incentives, different races are required to live together in the same neighborhoods, attend the same schools, and serve in the army. You cannot find race ghettos here, nor can you find affirmative action type policies that privilege one person over another based on the color of their skin.
It would be arrogant of me to suggest that other countries learn from our example. However, looking at the situation in the US, UK, France and Italy, it’s clear that racial harmony don’t come about without government policies that bring people together. You just cannot have a hands-off approach because people have a tendency to form groups with others most like themselves. However unpopular in the short-term, some amount of forced integration is necessary for the sake of nation building.
I hope China gets the formula right with regards to Tibetan Chinese and Uyghur Chinese. The worst thing Chinese leaders could do is to learn from failed examples of the West.