Since racism and other prejudices are learned at a young age, coming across any school activity that perpetuates stereotypes and profiling can understandably cause parents alarm.
That was the case of a school test in Malaysia the basically encouraged religious profiling by asking students to individually match religious buildings with names of ethnic people.
Shared by Malaysian actress Sarah Lian in a Facebook post, the image of the Standard 1 test paper, which her daughter took at her school, has since gone viral.
The question presents four different buildings originating from various religious and cultural background. The students are then given four names of different ethnic backgrounds and are asked to match the names to the buildings.
“My friend’s 7yr old daughter apparently scored badly. And you wonder who makes kids racist and stereotypical???” wrote Lian in the caption.
“Well, here’s your answer! A horrible ignorant approach to stereotyping people into names races and religions. I’m so furious at this form of racism. How archaic and racist! This is so sad!”
Netizens were divided on the issue, with many agreeing with Sarah’s points while others find her reactions as misplaced.
Lian further explains her view, pointing out what is wrong in having children profile persons based on their names.
Tensions between various ethnic groups and racial preferences within the social and economic policy of the Malaysian government itself have long been accused of contributing to widespread discrimination in Malaysia.
If these ideas are perpetuated within the education system itself, it is not surprising that belief in ethnic superiority and religious intolerance can be publicly displayed and accepted.