A while back, I talked about how a Malay tutor faced discrimination in the private tuition industry just because he’s Malay. Well…he’s not back in the news, but the private tuition industry is.
…for exactly the same reason to boot.
Somebody apparently blew the whistle and fingered SmileTutor.sg for having a preference option in their signup forms.
A simple we’re sorry for this and will work to better ourselves would’ve closed the matter but…nope, SmileTutor.sg didn’t go that route.
SmileTutor.sg’s ‘sorry not sorry’ limp wristed ‘apology’ for being caught only poured fuel on the fire. Instead of taking responsibility for the gaff, they decide to play the ‘other people can do it, so why not us?’ card.
That obviously triggered some Netizens.
How can it not?
Playing the blame game and trying to pass off responsibility didn’t sit well with some people online. Though SmileTutor’s claim that tuition companies are doing the same thing is valid, the point of the matter is that their apology didn’t actually fess up to the issue at hand.
I have no idea whether this’ll affect SmileTutor’s business but that’s another matter for another time.
Half-hearted ‘apology’ aside, Netizens online debate the issue whether this particular issue is defined as racism.
Here’s a hint: It is.
In this case, I can actually see the point of view of those arguing that this is a matter of choice, not racism. Ingrained stereotyping can be hard to shake off, especially if it’s been reinforced over the years.
I personally know people who’d prefer their child’s tutor to be from a specific race. They’re not racist, they just stereotype and associated certain races to be good in certain subjects.
You know, like Chinese being good at Maths?
It’s not true in the least, but that’s stereotypes for you.
However, in this case, having an option for race selection is racial discrimination, as some Netizens point out. They also point out that SmileTutor.sg isn’t necessarily the bad guy here.
Yes, they’re guilty of following the abhorrent practice, but it’s their customers (in this case the parents) that are the ones to mostly lay the blame on.
While I do agree that the onus on this lies on the parents, labelling them as racists isn’t exactly right, as I mentioned earlier. Instead, there needs to be systemic change (through education and various campaigns) to clear the stereotypes from the mindset.
In essence, there seems to be a clear divide online on whether this is truly racist. For every reply that says it’s racist, there’s usually a rebuttal right after that says it isn’t.
There’s even a small segment of Netizens that think people online are just making a molehill out of nothing. It’s just overzealous keyboard warriors trying to play the race card at everything they don’t like.
Whether you agree with this line of thought or not, the fact of the matter is that a rethink is in order for how the private tuition industry lets their customers pick tutors for their children.
Some wonder though whether this little flare up will ultimately effect any change at all.
After all, what’s stopping the tuition companies from asking about whether parents have a preference for the tutor verbally over the phone?
It’s a really easy way to pay lip service to being politically correct while still retaining their old school business practices.
No matter what happens in the future, one thing is clear.
This guy needs tuition badly.
He went back and edited his comment but next time better check yourself first before throwing a stone eh?