I tried to be a racist. I am a Sinhalese. My parents are Sinhalese and all 3 of us are born and raised in Sri Lanka and my mother tongue is Sinhala which I think is enough proof that I’m a pure Sinhalese. FYI, yes, we are all Buddhists. With that confirmation of my racial identity I needed to join a group which has similar credentials. After all, where’s the fun being a lone racist? The easiest way to find such people is among the family and friends because I already knew where they come from. Pretty easy, don’t you think?
My “Sinhalese” cousins who live in UK have a daughter who was born there and doesn’t speak word of Sinhala. I bet she cannot tell apart a ‘konda kewum’ from a ‘mung kewum’. When I argued she’s not a Sinhalese, the whole family ganged against me. But, whatever they say, in my book, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and doesn’t quack like a duck and, it’s a not a duck”. Sorry kid. You don’t belong in my club.
Then there’s my good friend Amali who has married a Tamil and has a 2 year old son. Sorry Son, your mom can join my club. But your father and you should not come.
My old neighbors, the Perera family fits the bill just fine with all the requirements for being Sinhalese except they are Christian. But most of my family agrees they are actually Sinhalese. My other neighbors, the Mansoor family doesn’t speak a word of Tamil. They, however, speak fluent Sinhala and English. The children were educated in Sinhala medium. But everybody says they are not Sinhalese? How come the Pereras are Sinhalese and Mansoors aren’t?
Oh boy, what a mess, I thought. Then there’s this person I meet every day on train that is unfortunately deaf and do not have the ability to comprehend any kind of sound. He doesn’t speak any kind of language but his parents are Sinhalese. Everybody think he’s a Sinhalese. But a person who doesn’t comprehend or speak Sinhala can’t surely be a real Sinhalese. Or can’t he be?
Then there’s the Gunawardena family. The kids were raised in US. They don’t speak the language but they understand it when they hear it. I was told, they are Sinhalese.
My good friend, Amali’s in-laws who are Tamil, has a dog. The Pereras has dog. They understand Tamil and Sinhala respectively but they both don’t speak the language. Will that make one dog a Tamil dog and the other a Sinhala dog?
At this point I gave up being a racist.