What Leaving America Taught Me About Racism

And other perspectives of “American Exceptionalism”

Ken Dow ✈️
6 min readMay 10, 2018


One year ago, I was living in NYC and had never spent more than a few days at a time outside of the US. I hardly knew anything about Southeast Asia and had never even visited before.

So what did I do?

I decided to leave my happy life behind in New York City, pack up all my possessions into two check-in luggages, say bye to all my friends and family, and change jobs. I decided to move to Singapore. All because I wanted to experience something new.

Now, one year later, I can’t believe that I didn’t make this move sooner. The amount of perspective that I have gained is beyond anything I could have imagined.

On racism

In America, almost all conversation around race relations focuses on blacks vs. whites. This is despite America being an incredibly diverse country full of immigrants who have come from everywhere in the world. Why does America ignore all of this other diversity?

Most other places in the world have a much more homogenous population, yet still recognize and celebrate the full racial diversity of its population. For example, consider that all public signs in Singapore are posted in FOUR different languages and there are public holidays for FOUR different religious groups. Despite Islam being the third largest religion in America, can you imagine America even considering to recognize any of the Islamic holidays?

Getting rid of racism is a difficult challenge. But the first step is recognizing and celebrating the diversity of all races, not just the ones that are politically convenient.

On being Asian / Chinese

America is a place where racist degenerates like Steve Harvey can get away with blatantly insulting an entire race on national TV and absolutely no one cares. New York City is a place where Asians make up 13.5% of the population and live in extreme poverty but receive only 1.36% of public funding and absolutely no one cares.



Ken Dow ✈️