Races without racism? everyday race relations in Singapore

Selvaraj Velayutham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


In Singapore, race has a prominent place in the city state’s national policies. Its political ideology of multiracialism proclaims racial equality and protection for minority groups from racial discrimination. However, despite official rhetoric and policies aimed at managing and integrating the different ethnic groups, some scholars have argued that institutional racism does exist in Singapore. While it is public knowledge, with few exceptions, racist provocations and experiences of racism are not publicly discussed. In recent years, the advent of social media has made it possible for Singaporeans oftentimes unwittingly to express racially derogatory remarks. This has highlighted that racism is much more deep rooted. Yet, it still remains the white elephant in the room. This paper examines the sociopolitical context that has contributed to everyday racial discrimination and calls for a public acknowledgement of racism so as to combat racist practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-473
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Ethnic minorities
  • everyday racism
  • multiracialism
  • race
  • race relations
  • Singapore


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