Empathy needed, not judgment

Most Singaporeans understand that stereotypes do not reflect reality (Actor's rant on racism draws flak; May 31).

Although we come from a multiracial society, we may not all feel the same way about issues of race, including our sensitivity to racial stereotypes and our experience of discrimination.

In this case, Singaporean Indian actor Shrey Bhargava was offended when he was asked to portray a caricature of his race during an audition.

However, I would not be offended to portray a caricature of my race, say, as an overly money-minded Chinese person, because I know it is not true.

Nevertheless, one person's experience cannot be used to invalidate someone else's experience.

In our conversations about race in Singapore, empathy will be more important than the passing of moral judgment on what is racist or not.

Elliott Tan Chen Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2017, with the headline 'Empathy needed, not judgment'. Print Edition | Subscribe