It is a fact of life that racism exists in varying degrees in every country and society, but at the same time that does not make it acceptable.
Many Bhutanese have experienced racism in some form or the other, and the same goes for Bhutanese travelling and working abroad.
However, what makes it much worse and legitimizes it is when there is political support and patronage.
When a political party or leader supports racist behavior or does not condemn racism in its name, it is seen by some as acceptable behavior. It also energizes the radical elements to actually do something about it, like attacking minorities etc.
When the Nazi party captured power in Germany, in part through a racist agenda, its initial attempts to target the Jewish community was opposed by most Germans.
However, relentless directives from the party, legitimization of racism by the party, creation of a fear psychosis and false propaganda eventually led to the worst genocide in modern human history.
It is time to worry for Bhutan and Bhutanese when supporters of a political party starts using racism to target its legitimate critics or to pull in votes.
Racism in any form and its promotion by political figures is especially unacceptable in Bhutan, because Bhutan is made up of multiple ethnic groups be it Ngalongs, Sharchops, Lhotsamphs, Tibetan-Bhutanese and other sub-ethnic groups.
Racism tears into this national fabric and tries to divide people based on ethnicity, language, sects and regions.
Racism, be it in words or action, against any of the above groups or for that matter against any Bhutanese is completely unacceptable.
It is not only a violation of the law but also a violation of the Constitution and goes against the spirit of democracy.
It attempts to strike at the root of our unity and stability.
This is why His Majesty in many National Day addresses has stressed on not dividing people on ethnic lines but remaining united as Bhutanese.
Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.