Being born Black: Karma?

‪Samantha Katie James, Miss Malaysia for Miss Universe 2017, has sparked fury online over her controversial remarks on the Black Lives Matter protests in the US. There’s even a petition for her to be stripped of her title.

She claimed that they “chose to be born as coloured (people) in America” and further explained that “our souls chose this life, this country, this race, this human form specifically for a reason.”

Closer to home (Sri Lanka), the idea that the soul determines the nature of our birth is not too different from a commonly accepted notion of how karma works: “The type of body and psychological disposition — likes, dislikes, phobias, etc., one receives upon rebirth is dependent on the actions (karma) within that one life combined with the actions from previous lives”

We could therefore claim that white perpetrators are reborn as black victims, and the degree to which they benefited from the oppression determines the degree of oppression they will endure; but then, who is being reincarnated as white perpetrators?

Or maybe we should just accept that these ideas just reinforce oppression by allowing the elite (e.g. high caste) to claim that they have earned their place by their meritorious acts in previous lives, and that the oppressed could also earn a good rebirth if only they would excel in the rightful role that they have earned for this life — and if they should dare protest that that role condemns them to structural oppression, beat them into submission for daring to question the ineffable wisdom of the cosmos.

You may also be interested in my other writing on Education, Politics/Power, Ethics/Philosophy/Humanism, Parenting and “Lost in Translation”



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Sifaan Zavahir

Sifaan Zavahir

Stories have the power to change us. We have the power to change the story. I am a Story Maker.