Being Community is a project that was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth (MCCY), Singapore, meant to engage with issues of concern with regards to racial and religious identity. The approach proposed by Being Bridges was to engage with one of the more painful issues, which was that of discrimination.
One of the difficulties with projects dealing with discrimination is that of the majority-vs-minority polarity that often comes up. Quite often it is members of minority races or faith affiliations who are voicing their pain, as is a tendency of many discriminatory practices. As such, people who identify with racial or religious communities in majority whether demographically or influentially often become left out of the dialogue.
A possibility of course was to include both majority and minority demographics, but there was a danger there too – with the possibility of confrontational encounters which risk our concern for providing psychological safety for participants.
The solution was surprisingly simple, yet strategic.
By involving both racial as well as religious identities, we were able to extend the relevance of the discrimination project beyond just minority racial groups and minority religious groups. The observation was that someone who identifies as part of a majority race may not identify with the majority religion, and vice versa.
By including discrimination stories of both racial and religious nature, we could involve participants of majority communities, who were also able to share about their own encounters with discrimination related to their minority identity.
It seemed like a straightforward solution, and oddly enough, it had rarely been done, especially in Singapore – possibly because of the difficulty of conflating and mingling the two forms of identity.
Our eventual project also innovated in terms of platform, by facilitating these difficult conversations more accessibly via various online methods.
A social media series facilitating sensitive yet constructive conversations on racial and religious discrimination
- Full panel conversation episode videos
- Video snippet shorts by various participants
- Follow on Instagram for the next phase
Just having various conversations with people and hearing their own stories have made me realise that there is so much scope to improve in terms of the social sphere in Singapore. It is important we have such spaces to take about such issues too.
(Vidhyashni, Indian Hindu, Youth)
How can your community benefit from this project?
As part of our service to the community, the full video series is available for free to organisers who wish to facilitate community conversations around diversity and discrimination. We ask only that organisers inform us of their use and attribute the videos to us.
However, the Being Bridges team also conducts workshop sessions guided by trained facilitators and counsellors utilising specially selected videos to anchor these sometimes sensitive conversations in a safe atmosphere.
For engagements and enquiries, you can drop us an email or schedule a call with us.
We’ll listen to your community needs and share how we might be of service to you.
From the Public
Feel free to listen to what others have said about our customised programmes:
It reminded me about the way individual lives are really affected on the ground when faced with a need to assimilate, or else go against a group with greater numbers or power when they are untreated unfairly, or simply leave the situation or organisation if presented with the option. Religious understanding and having space for those who are different is crucial for people to be able to live and be treated fairly.
(Aderyn Kang, Chinese, No Religion, Youth)