Personally, I am against the notion of “Chinese privilege” and despite what some may believe, racism or trolling are neither of my motivations.

There are a few reasons why, but the central reason is because I think the whole idea imparts regressive values and teaches the wrong lessons.

The term itself is intensely loaded. It implies that (1) Chinese individuals have enjoyed entitlements due to their birthright that minorities did not enjoy (2) Chinese individuals should be silent or hang their head in shame when minorities speak (3) minorities could have “had more” if they weren’t oppressed and victimised by the Chinese. You may challenge my interpretations (1), (2) or (3); it is what I have taken away from most of its adherents.

These suggests to Chinese that their lives, occupations and achievements have been or are to some extent devoid of personal merit. You are making the argument that Chinese folks possess “privilege”, likened to that of an possession, that minorities do not possess. Of course some Chinese individuals will take offence – there’s no way that they wouldn’t.

I will concede for a moment that a lot of the anti-”Chinese privilege” sentiments are rather insensitive (yet can you really blame them when you consider the above insinuations that are being flung at them?). From some of the remarks that I’ve read, they are not as ideally tolerant as we would like them to be. For instance, telling them to “suck it up” or “stop crying about it” is unhelpful. So yes, those should be done away with.

But I am of the belief that the real hazard does not lie in the kind of backlash that this regressive ideology incites, rather, the danger lies in what messages are being conveyed to minorities.

Instead of teaching those whom have been on the receiving end of racism (and likely still face them on a daily basis) to hold their heads up high by instilling them with pride, what “Chinese privilege” does instead is to teach those who are already marginalised by their race to soak in a sense of victimhood and feel sorry for themselves i.e., fostering the crutch mentality. Some of the “Chinese privilege” adherents (not all) even go as far as to champion why X race is superior or inferior to Y race.

Would that it be fine if it only robbed them off their pride, but teaching someone to be a victim also teaches them that there is an “enemy”, an “oppressor”, and that they are the cause of your shortcomings in life. This is precisely the type of bitter rhetoric that has been marshaled by countless populist politicians, creating divides and rifts among people in the process.

This is to me what is most eminently regressive, and exactly why I’m against and have spoken out against it. I am not discounting the experiences of minorities. I am fully in favour of the Thaipusam, Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Raya Haji festivals because these events celebrate their cultures and heritages of minorities. But I do not intend to assist them in feeling sorry for themselves, which is what championing “Chinese privilege” amounts to.

The enormously crucial point here is to think of ourselves NOT as groups, as races, as collectives, as communities, as societies or even as nations – but as INDIVIDUALS, which we all are. It is the collectivist foundation of these beliefs that makes the soil ripe for a demagogue to come along and pit people against one another.

The sooner we think of ourselves not in terms of Chinese or Malay or Indian, and more as individuals, the sooner we are taking the right steps of progress: