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Oldest Malay Press Use ‘N-Word’ In Headline, Netizens Riled Up

Oldest Malay Press Use ‘N-Word’ In Headline, Netizens Riled Up

The article talks about how Malaysians tend to have a bad perception towards Africa and Africans.

Akmal Hakim

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“This is racist,” was the thought that came to mind when Malaysians came across the title of a recent article published by the nation’s oldest Bahasa Malaysia newspaper, Utusan Malaysia.

Authored by Thaqib Shaker, the story titled “Bukan semua Negro jahat” which translates to mean “Not all Negroes are bad”, was published on 24 November and speaks about an interview the author had with a Malaysian who’s travelling on the African continent for work.

“Perhaps readers are wondering, how is life in Africa? How’s their culture and way of thinking? To get a clearer picture, I interviewed one of our citizens who is travelling in Uganda on business, Nora Afzam Abdul Wahab.” wrote the author after describing how apparently the majority of Malaysians tend to have a negative perception towards Africans in general.

But, most of our citizens see the continent from a negative point of view based on their assessments of a handful of Africans in this country who are involved in various organized crimes such as Love Scam, drugs and so on. An assessment like this is certainly unacceptable as there are 54 countries in Africa and those who commit crimes here mostly come from certain countries. They do not represent the whole of Africa at all.

via Utusan Malaysia

The story continued with 37-year-old Nora Afzam sharing her personal experiences while working as a business development advisor for an international oil and gas company there.

She describes how nervous she used to feel when Malaysians she knew would tell her not to trust anyone there – before she journeyed to Africa.

Don’t trust Negroes. The words made me feel anxious. But because of my duties, I remained determined.

Nora Afzam Abdul Wahab via Utusan Malaysia

The article went on to note Nora Afzam’s positive experiences in the region, the friends she made along the way and how people here in Malaysia was wrong about life in Africa.

This is one of the big misunderstandings in my view. Maybe the media often show pictures of shirtless black children, with bloated bellies crying while holding out empty bowls begging for food.

Nora Afzam Abdul Wahab via Utusan Malaysia

Netizens on social media, however, appeared less than comfortable with the publication’s use of the ‘N-word’.

“How was this even approved to be published?” one commenter asked.

While another writes “In defence of this article, the author wants to repel the negative perception of Malaysians towards Africans, especially black people. Unfortunately, he uses the N-word, because, in reality, most Malays are still racist towards them regardless and still use the N-word liberally.”

Since we’re obviously no experts, we’ll let these excerpts from Wikipedia do the explaining.

In summary, the word ‘negro‘ is a term historically used to denote a person of Black African heritage.

The word negro means “black” in Spanish and Portuguese, and can be used either offensively or inoffensively depending on who you are and where you’re from.

The word “nigger” is also commonly used as a racial slur towards black people, particularly African Americans.


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