I Am Not Your Minority

Every minority is a majority somewhere

I write from an underdog’s perspective, about racism, and power; but you should know. I am not your minority. Where I live, I am as majority as it gets, with all the power, privilege, and bullshit that entails.

Let me explain.

The Cops

First, let me introduce you to the cops in Sri Lanka. The police station is the site of structural racism, all over the world.

A few years ago, some asshole keyed DON’T PARK HERE on my car (which I didn’t even park, I’d loaned it to a friend). I went to the cop shed and the officer took out a giant notebook and two pens. Blue and red.

He scribbled something blue about the situation and then asked my name, which he wrote in red. Then he scribbled some more and switched back to red, like the words of Jesus I guess.


This is it. This is where the state palpitates you and feels for race. It’s not oblique round here, they just ask. I don’t know why they need this information for a police report, do different Gods watch over different cars? There is a right answer to this question.

“Sinhala, Buddhist,” I say.

This is the right answer. I am the majority. They are the majority. They still don’t do anything to help me, but I’m much more safe.


Round here, I’m the equivalent of a cis white man. I’m also rich, which is a get-out-of-jail free card. I mean this literally, I’ve been arrested but never put in a cell. Well once, but there was a courtroom formality for a parking ticket and it was chill enough that someone offered me heroin, to which I said “no thank you, we’re in a courtroom”.

For a sense of the pecking order, let me tell you a story. This also involves class. A rich man, a poor man, and a white man walk into a (Chinese) port. Well, trespassed really. This was my first and last job as a fixer (journalism coolie) and we all got arrested.

The cops immediately throw the poor man in a cell, but not me and the white man, because class. Surprisingly, however, I outranked the white man. Him they simply could not understand. When they asked him the race/religion question he said ‘Jewish’, which was baffling, so they kept asking. Eventually he just gave up and became Christian. Fastest conversion I’d ever seen.

Where I live I am more powerful even than the white man. I am the majority.

The Danger

This is privilege, undoubtably. Right now Hejaaz Hizbullah rots in jail with no charges, just vague Muslim/terrorist free association (thanks for that America). Same for Ramzy Razeek, who recently got out on bail but not before he lost a toe. It was Tamils before that, and ongoing. It’s not that shit doesn’t happen to Sinhalese, but the structural violence is certainly structured towards minorities (and, in the past, communists).

Where I live, where it matters, I have this privilege. I am above even whitey, except perhaps at the bar. To quote Walter White, “I am the danger. I am the one who knocks”.

You as a reader, however, may want to interrogate this, because it is also entirely possible that I could be preaching equality across global borders while being a raging racist within my own. I mean, I’m not, but we have to constantly interrogate privilege because it’s corrosive like that. And I have it. You probably have it too. Everything is relative.

Every minority is a majority somewhere, and every majority seems to have a majority complex. We can all quite comfortably decry discrimination against us while discriminating against someone else. I’m quite critical of the west because what can they do to me? I am not your minority. But we shouldn’t forget that privilege is a ladder, and it’s kicking all the way down.

I guess this is even more context on I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There. Who knows.