Sunday, October 01, 2006

*Reverse Discrimination*

This could be a serious post whereby I explore whether one ought to take advantage if one should be the beneficiary of reverse/positive discrimination. Off-hand my answer would be whether one could NOT take advantage of it in the same way one could NOT be discriminated against on the basis of whatever it is you're being discriminated against for.

Well this is going to be more of a personal reflection on the sort of advantages I get because of my ancestry and accent. I'm Chinese by ancestry and Peranaken by ethnicity (yes there is a difference) and my accent is a mix between the Peranaken accent and a British one. Which gets me a whole lot of questions on it in normal conversation, mostly on whether I'm Singaporean, educated abroad, was of mixed race etc.

But I admit that there are massive benefits to having what some might associate as having a cultured accent. I mean if I don't deliberately tone it down, I get fantastic service over the phone as though I should get some form of automatic deference (works well with the civil service I found).

Over here in the States there is arguably some form of auxillary benefit although that is tempered by the fact that quite a few Americans have problem understanding what I say. But the idea is that by virtue of my better than average English and by sheer fact that I by no manner sound American, it does actually help. And yes, there's always the frequent question of where I'm from. Go Singapore! And no, no one has asked me where that is.

Anyway, one thing that I have already mentioned is that of language. There is effectively no barrier as compared to someone whose English is not their native language (yes yes I know we have 4 official languages).

The second thing is that of my ancestry. What I understand is that being "Asian" does in fact help in things like off-campus apartment search. We are presumed to be studious and nice and good and not going to have wild parties etc.

Arguably, when you combine the both of them, it makes you a circus freak...oops, I meant a freakish curiousity, *ahem* I meant unique and in a good way. *Snort*

Of course it also could mean one of two things, a) you either fit in regardless of whom you hang out with or b) you'll never fit in regardless of whom you hang out with.

And with that little nugget for thought, Peace.



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