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Problems Caused By Prejudice And Discrimination

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Singapore is an extremely diverse country. As such, we may unknowingly form prejudices-unjustified, negative attitudes towards those different from us-which can further give rise to discrimination, whereby individuals act out their biased attitudes towards the other group or individual. In this essay, I will be explaining two ways which prejudice and discrimination can pose a significant problem for Singapore.

Firstly, prejudice and discrimination lead to increased tension and conflict in Singapore. When one is prejudice towards another, those experiencing the prejudice would feel offended and hurt by the biases displayed towards them. These biases are a result of stereotypes-overgeneralised beliefs about a group of people-which may not be true but rather mere public perception. The unhappiness would then escalate into anger, since they are upset over people misunderstanding them and treating them with negative attitudes. This anger is further exacerbated when people discriminate with their actions, such as distancing themselves or refusing to employ workers of that discriminated group. Anger has the potential to become a full-blown conflict. Just one incident that is widely publicised could cause a spark, igniting the pre-existing anger, causing fights or retaliation to break out. This sows distrust and tension amongst people, as one is unable to depend on others for safety, with people frightened upon meeting someone from the discriminated group. The implication of this is that Singaporeans will become disunited, with people unwilling to work together. This results in reduced productivity in the workplace, and ultimately the overall decline in our economy. It also affects Singapore’s reputation as a multicultural society, where diversity is part of our social fabric. These severe implications could throw Singapore off our path towards success, all because of prejudice and discrimination.

One example would be the anti-CECA (India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement) rally held at Hong Lim Park in 2019. Many had a false perception that foreigners were stealing their jobs and privileges in the workplace, after losing their jobs to foreigners. As such, they took to Hong Lim Park to voice their frustrations. The fact that people are rallying and protesting in public indicates the underlying tensions and resentment against workers from India. Additionally, this event was mainly sparked by an incident of an Indian man abusing a security guard, prompting many to support this rally, showing how a small spark can ignite a conflict. Thus, prejudice and discrimination creates tension and conflict within the various communities, and if handled inappropriately, could be further escalated.

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Secondly, prejudice and discrimination causes hurt in the lives of those discriminated against, while emboldening those displaying the prejudice. Stereotypes can spread at extreme speeds with the rise of social media. A post stereotyping a group can be shared with wide audiences. With the stereotype becoming widespread, the public may begin to form prejudices against the group without assessing the stereotype’s truth. Over time, as the stereotype perpetuates, those prejudiced against may start to believe that the stereotype is true of themselves as they are accustomed to being associated with that stereotype. This hurts their self-esteem, as prejudices are generally derogatory, making the group feel inferior to other groups. In extreme cases, those prejudiced may inflict self-harm upon themselves as others dehumanise them, with some choosing to commit suicide to end their distress, demonstrating the extent to which prejudice and discrimination hurts the lives of those discriminated. Additionally, as nobody corrects the stereotype, those who discriminate may feel their actions are justified and continue their bullying and discrimination with greater audacity, utterly disrespecting the group’s rights. This demonstrates how prejudice and discrimination can embolden those who discriminate if the prejudice is not stamped out.

One example would be rental discrimination in Singapore. In 2014, the BBC reported on how landlords do not allow potential tenants of certain nationalities to rent their homes. The article mentioned “more than 160 housing adverts on the website PropertyGuru that clearly stated that the landlord did not wish to rent to Indians and/or mainland Chinese.” This is due to widespread stereotypes. For example, landlords may assume that all Indians cook curry, which has a strong smell that may not be appealing to many, and hence refuse to rent their flats to Indians. However, this is not true. For the tenants, being unable to find a place to stay causes mental stress, and being rejected based on one’s practices causes them to be dejected and lose self-esteem. Also, the fact that more than 160 landlords reject such tenants shows how many are emboldened, to the extreme of depriving tenants of their basic housing needs. Thus, prejudice and discrimination can cause hurt and embolden those who discriminate.

In summary, prejudice and discrimination causes tension and conflict in society, and hurts those who are discriminated while emboldening those who discriminate. Hence, this issue should never be taken lightly in Singapore.

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Problems Caused By Prejudice And Discrimination. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2022, from
“Problems Caused By Prejudice And Discrimination.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
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