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Oct 14

Are Chinese racist or simply politically incorrect?

Written by Allen on Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 at 6:37 pm
Filed under:Analysis, culture, General, language, politics | Tags:, , , ,
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It’s common knowledge that when it comes to racial remarks, Chinese people (and perhaps Asians in general) are not the most politically correct people in the world.  We’ve had extended discussions about “racism” in China (see, e.g., Chocolate City post by Buxi).  Recently, I came across an interesting article in Times Magazine (in relation to the U.S. Presidential politics) regarding racism in Asia.  Unfortunately, I believe the author falls into many pitfalls that many Westerners make when it comes to Asian racism.

The article started out fair enough:

Early this year my wife and I watched Venus Williams, one of the world’s finest tennis players, compete in Hong Kong. During the match several young men sitting near us kept referring in Cantonese to Williams as “black demon,” as well as another unprintable epithet. They shut up when my wife, an American citizen who is ethnic Chinese, berated them for their racist language. (Williams, by the way, won the tournament.) What, I wonder today, would those men say about Barack Obama, who soon could be the U.S.’s first African-American President?

In this case, I wouldn’t be surprised if racial slurs were indeed exchanged by Chinese in the stands.  However, it is also entirely possible that the author had misunderstood what actually transpired (his ethnically-Chinese wife notwithstanding).

I know if this incident had occurred in Taiwan, depending on the circumstances, the bystanders could have simply been referring to the athletic skills of Venus Williams in a jovial manner (building upon the ingrained view among Chinese / Asians that black people possess superior athletic prowess).

While the term “black demon” (黑鬼) can be used as a derogatory term for black people (equivalent terms for white people include 洋鬼子 (western demons) and 鬼佬 (foreign devils)), in the South, especially in the Canton area, the term 黑鬼 appears to have been incorporated into daily language and currently carries no derogatory connotation.

To really carry negative connotations in the Cantonese dialect (one of the most “colorful” of Chinese dialects), you would have to add explicit expletives as in 死黑鬼) – i.e. “damn black demon.”

The article went on:

Perhaps it’s the memory of slavery, or the legacy of the civil rights movement, or the need to be politically correct, or just plain politeness, but most Americans, particularly whites, are relatively restrained in word and deed about race. Most Asians are uninhibited about it. Asia’s vast ethnic diversity means we are forced to confront the very many real differences — cultural, political, economic — that exist among us. Sometimes those differences erupt in violence. At least half of the world’s armed conflicts are in Asia, nearly all ethnic-based. But the bigger reason Asians do not focus on commonality is because their societies do not encourage it.

This was a very puzzling passage to me. If both America and Asia shared similar histories of ethnic conflicts, and if Asians further have to confront the “very many real differences — cultural, political, economic — that exist among us” … in some of the most densely populated regions of the world, then why is it the Americans not the Asians who have evolved Political Correctness?  Is there really something intrinsic in Asian cultures that discourage people from finding “commonality” among us, as the author put it?

However, just as the author was getting me lost, he also made some insightful remarks:

In many [Asian] countries, ethnic divisions are institutionalized, with strict laws governing what one race can and cannot do. In largely homogenous Japan, it’s extremely difficult for a non-Japanese to become a citizen even if born there. In Malaysia, an affirmative-action program gives preference to Malays over the country’s sizable Chinese and Indian populations in everything from university places to government contracts. In Pakistan, Punjabis, the dominant ethnic group, are favored for key positions in the powerful military and civil service. Government leaders argue that these kinds of measures help maintain harmony. Maybe so, but it is a superficial harmony that reinforces stereotypes and hinders the creation, in the long run, of genuine tolerance and understanding.

I have to agree with most of this.  I don’t think it can be over-emphasized that it is institutionalized racism – or what I have called “political racism” (racism with an intent to oppress) – that is at the root of what makes racism so inflammatory and despicable.

I understand I may be misinterpreted, but I believe it is a mistake to conflate racism as an ideology designed to oppress (“political racism”) with racism arising out of ignorance (traditional “social racism”).

Until very recently China is an agrarian society with relatively little movement of people. The racism we see today is more a form of ingrained “localism” that have persisted from historical isolation rather than vestiges of a political ideology.

People should note that the basis of Chineseness as a political entity in the modern era (since the beginning of the Republic (and later the People’s Republic)) has always been based on a multicultural identity. Throughout most of China’s history, China has never confronted the sort of “political racism” seen in Europe and America, many vestiges of which still exist (see for example, articles on racism in France, Italy, and America). It’s little wonder many Chinese people have not yet developed the type of hyper sensitivity to race that has preoccupied the West (at least America) for some time.

As China advances and globalizes, many Chinese will undoubtedly culture a more sensitive attitude toward race in its colloquial language.

Do you agree with my characterization of racism in China vs. racism in the West?

Am I correct to say that the Chinese are not “racist,” but simply “politically incorrect”?

And finally, since we have an international audience here, I might as well ask a question associated with International Politics.  Why does it seem to me that in the Western eye, ethno-religious (or socio-economic) tensions in the West are always framed through the lens of “civil rights” whereas ethno-religious (or socio-economic) tensions in China are always framed through the lens of nationalism and self-determination?


There are currently 23 comments highlighted: 17882, 17885, 17891, 17896, 17901, 17921, 17937, 17943, 17947, 17950, 17951, 17953, 17960, 17973, 18024, 18028, 18031, 18041, 18059, 18060, 18070, 18255, 18395.

369 Responses to “Are Chinese racist or simply politically incorrect?”

  1. FOARP Says:

    We’ve had this discussion before, and yes, I do think that referring to Venus Williams as a ‘black devil’ is impolite. Once again the “US vs China” angle, depressing . . .

  2. RUMman Says:

    Friend of mine was beaten nearly to death by the Taiwanese who had just called him a ‘black devil’. I’m sure they meant it respectfully though.

  3. RUMman Says:

    Was Sun Yat-sen an ethno-nationalist by the way?

  4. ecodelta Says:

    Unfamiliarity and lack of frequent contact with foreign people, special other “races” (do not like that term) and cultures by many Chinese can usually lead to remarks that could be understood as racist, and in other cases to remarks that are really racist or too nationalist/localists

  5. DS Says:

    It is racism. There is no need to cover it. The issue in my view is where the question comes from. Isolated societies are all racist. No one in those nations sees anything wrong. Japan is a good example. America is a big melting pot with fractions of comparable strength. The word is “comparable”! It is certainly not a good idea to fight over some words. The political correctness has thus evolved — a direct product of the civil rights movement. This value is starting to move around the globe to the benefit of all people.

    The Chinese are sensitive to different sets of things. Such as family honor, worshiping Buddha etc. They show considerable sensitivity to ethnic minorities, probably because they have lived together long enough. Their disrespect (maybe too strong a word, more like being too casual) towards foreign people is a sign of lack of education and understanding, and should be a thing of the past. This has nothing to do with oppression. It is also not difficult to fix. I hope everyone, including the Chinese in the know, stand up and shout: shut you dirty mouth!

  6. bt Says:

    Hi Allen,
    Anyway, mockery toward any kind of people on the simple basis of his ‘race’, look or province origin is just plainly impolite, wherever it happens.

  7. Nimrod Says:

    I think it’s all a product of education. You get taught a lot of racial and gender sensitive in politically correct societies, whereras in China you get taught the 56 ethnicities live in a happy big family. In Singapore, as I undertand, you get taught the three races of Chinese, Indian, Malay live happily. A little bit of psychological hinting goes a long ways to make most people behave well, but in the end that isn’t really an enlightenment. That takes individuals interacting and learning from each other.

  8. RUMman Says:

    I should also note that black English teachers getting discriminated when looking for jobs is not racism. It’s just a little bit politically incorrect.

  9. RUMman Says:

    Mind you, when Chinese appear in kung-fu flicks it’s evidence of systemic US racism, the demonization of the Asian male, and so on. . .

  10. Allen Says:

    @RUMman #several posts,

    Yes yes… I understand where you are coming from. I am trying to say that political motivated racism and ignorance motivated racism are two very different things and ought to be treated differently.

    Of course in an ideal world, I’d like to get rid of both (as well as end world hunger, etc.). But the two are not equal. To conflate the two is to under-appreciate the systematic destruction in livelihoods and long-term political fallout that can result from political racism… That’s my underlying point.

  11. RUMman Says:

    OK Allen, I do see there is a distinction.

    I’m not sure it’s really a case of ‘the west’ having both types of racism while China only has ignorance motivated racism though.

  12. Xenu Says:

    There are no doubt plenty of racist attitudes prevalent throughout Chinese society, however, I believe a lot of people whom exhibit attitudes we might perceive as racist are really just xenophobic. Racism usually has a component of hate but from what I’ve observed, the attitudes (if I may be so bold to generalize) of people seem more akin to fear and dislike of “foreigners” which even includes Chinese not native to their area.

  13. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Like FOARP says, more of the us versus them business again. As I’ve said before, prejudging an individual based on that individual’s race is racism. Saying that it’s due to a lack of refinement, education, multicultural exposure, whatever, may explain it, but shouldn’t excuse it.

    So Williams is black. Undeniable fact. And nothing wrong with referring to her as a “black person” (ren, I believe, in Mandarin). But once you throw in the “demon”, that’s prejudicial. And if you say that’s merely a colloquialism, then I’d suggest that Chinese racism is more deep-seated, prevalent, and enduring than you would acknowledge, in order for it to have become “colloquial” in the first place.

    THe issue of Chinese being relatively less mobile in the past has oft been raised. I don’t think either Chinese or westerners are inherently more or less susceptible to racism. But essentially, China seems to be a “multicultural” society by geography only, with, till now, relatively little inter-cultural interaction. And while increased interaction may result in less of your “political” racism, I see it just as likely that it would breed more. After all, familiarity breeds contempt, and I would think, given the chance, Chinese are capable of all that Americans are, good and bad.

    So if you want to put a label on it, and you’re unhappy with those currently on offer, may I suggest “Chinese racism”. It’s unique, it’s easily distinguishable….and it’s just as reprehensible as any other country’s version thereof.

    As for the solution to such racism (or whatever you want to call it), I’d suggest that the solution depends on the context in which you find the problem. So if you have racism, but everyone involved is content with the nation construct in which the problem resides, then advocating civil rights seems reasonable. But if you have racism, and perhaps not everyone wants to play within the confines of the nation in which they currently find themselves, then perhaps such tension may further fuel some form of nationalism. It’s not a question of the west versus China, but a question of the realities therein.

  14. Raj Says:

    Xenu, I really hope your view is not reflective of anything because xenophobia is not “better” than racism. They’re equally bad.

    Racism is everywhere and people need to realise that. Sometimes it’s easier to try to cover it up or say “it’s not that bad”, but people have to stand up against it.

    For China specifically, I don’t know that it’s that bad. I think maybe it’s as racist as other Asian countries like Taiwan and Japan. Probably not as bad as Korea, the north for obvious reasons and the south…. well just talk to US servicemen who have been stationed there. At least in China, Taiwan, Japan women don’t get spat at on the street for being with a Caucasian guy.

  15. Netizen K Says:

    Are ALL Chinese racist? No. One person that is not will disprove that statement.

    Are SOME Chinese racist? Yes. One person that is will prove it. But it is a noninformative statement because it seems all societies have some racists.

    Are Chinese MORE racist than such xyz group of people? First you have to define this xyz group. Then you have to collect data. Opinions and anecdotes won’t be able to prove or disaprove this statement.

    This post is really not rigerous.

  16. Xenu Says:

    @Raj

    As I’ve mentioned, there are plenty of racist attitudes in China. I never said xenophobia was “better” than racism, you’re projecting unless you feel I implied it then that would be my fault for not being clear enough. There are distinct differences between xenophobia and racism and classifying the problem correctly is one step in solving it.

  17. Steve Says:

    @Netizen K: Apparently a Dutch anthropologist named Frank Dikotter recently published research on this very topic. I haven’t read his work, just a synopsis.

  18. Allen Says:

    @Netizen K, Steve,

    OK – I’m going to stick my foot out.

    It’d definitely be interesting to see empirical evidence on racist attitude of various population controlled against other populations. All things being equal, however, if we are only interested in people’s predispositions (i.e. irrational preferences) per se, it’d be equally interesting to see similar studies done to evaluate how various preferences for food, drinks, aesthetics, sexual attractiveness, cars, etc. differ among populations.

    But see – racism – defined perhaps as unjustified prejudicial attitudes or preferences based on race – is more interesting than most other type of (similarly irrational) human preferences. It evokes a special type of raw emotion for many.

    Why?

    What I am trying to say is that the raw emotion associated with modern racism arises from the associated history of political oppression – and not the racially-based preferences per se.

    Understanding that I think helps to resolve the problem of racism – not necessarily accept the concept of racism.

    Correspondingly, when one see a certain type of racial insensitivity arising out of ignorance and not political ideology, one really shouldn’t get so riled up about it… (or on the other hand assume it to be symptomatic of political oppression…)

    Ok – I’m going to get stoned … I know it…

  19. Jeremiah Says:

    Dikotter, as well as others, have noted the internalization of American and European racism and racialist theories (especially pseudo-scientific ideas of social Darwinism, racial hierarchy, and racial determinism) by late-19th and early 20th century Chinese scholars. I love reading Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao, but some of their writings about ‘brown’ people would make George Wallace blush. Whether such ideas persist to this day in the Chinese zeitgeist, bolstered by waves of American mass media, is something worth debating.

    On the topic of elections, I seem to recall a People’s Daily article from earlier this year, perhaps softening up the ground for November, which took pains to emphasize Barack Obama’s “whiteness” both in his ancestry and his educational background (Harvard) in an attempt, I assume, to diminish the symbolism of his campaign, and, perhaps, dismiss the efficacy of the ballot box as a means to help reconcile ethnic divisions.

  20. Allen Says:

    @Jeremiah,

    the efficacy of the ballot box as a means to help reconcile ethnic divisions

    Do you really believe that there is something intrinsic in democracies that help to heal ethnic wounds?

    If so – why hasn’t it done so in Malaysia, France, Italy, England, or even the U.S.? Why is a democratic Iraq so torn by sectarian violence?

    I am not writing to challenge – I just want your view on how democracy can help to heal, especially when the aggrieved is in the minority…

  21. Steve Rose Says:

    It’s both! And the best part is, racism is never a problem in China. Until a chinese person go to Europe/US, he/she will never know how different races live peacefully together or fight each other mercilessly.

    It is not China’s problem, yet. And there needs to be no solution at this time. If China becomes an immigrant country like US, it sure will be a major problem to tackle. But in the status quo, I do not think Chinese society is any less civilized. They just have their own problems to solve and have their own values.

    Many issues never become problems because we are not in an environment to realize what we are doing on a daily basis.

  22. Steve Says:

    Allen, I think it’s a numbers game. In the American South, such a large proportion of the population was black that political oppression was the only way to prevent losing power. In China, the vast majority of the country is Han Chinese, so there is no concern about that and it’s mostly based on ignorance. I have talked to African students studying in China and they told me that no one was mean or even impolite to them, but it was just about impossible to make a local friend. They felt very isolated and didn’t enjoy their time there.

    I know Netizen K is looking for hard research, but I would think if most people were asked if they were racist, they would say they were not even if they were. It might be hard to quantify. My personal experience, while not scientific, has been pretty consistent on this issue. Besides Chinese and Caucasian, the other races are just “too different”, unless they are very successful financially or status wise. And I’ve heard over and over that light skin is prized in every northeast Asian country I visited. Girls use parasols walking down the street, and some even wear long gloves (even covering their upper arms) in the car while driving, just to keep their skin from tanning. I’m surprised more people there don’t have rickets!

    I know of an example in Taiwan where a girl studying in the States whose father was a KMT general met and married an African American guy working in the State Department. Her family disowned her, but in Reagan’s administration her husband was appointed as US ambassador to South Africa. The family then changed their mind and welcomed them back. Status was able to overcome racism.

    I’m curious; in China, if a Han Chinese girl brought home her college educated boyfriend to meet the parents and he was Uyghur, do you think the family would accept him or would there be a problem?

  23. Jeremiah Says:

    Allen,

    Thank you for your thoughtful question, I’m afraid that my answer might not be satisfactory, but I will give a try:

    Yes and no.

    There is far more to righting past wrongs than the ballot box and every society is different. One can’t do cross-national comparisons based on a single control factor — that of being a ‘democracy’ (A study further complicated, as I’m sure you know, by the fact the ‘democracies’ you’ve listed differ quite a bit in their political systems, historical experience, culture, etc.).

    What I was referring to was a belief held, it would seem, by the editorial board at The People’s Daily, which worries there will be some people who might cast Obama’s election in this light, and so was firing off a preemptive rhetorical strike, if you will.

    That said, expanding the definition of “democracy” to something larger than mere elections and to also include the freedom to teach, publish, study, discuss, demonstrate, and voice opposition, I do believe that the problems the United States has had and continues to have in coming to terms with centuries of institutionalized African slavery and the genocide and the displacement of Native Americans as a result of internal colonization would not have been made better, in fact would likely be worse, under an authoritarian regime that suppressed views attacking the state and the dominant culture in asking for recognition, redress, and revision to the national narrative to include the experiences of all peoples.

    On a slightly tangential note, I’ve been legitimately wondering: if Barack Obama were to be elected, would the US be the first major power to have elected/selected a leader who could claim primary identity with a group which had been oppressed/enslaved/colonized by that same government or nation? That is to say: Are we likely to soon see a Chinese prime minister in Malaysia, a person of Indian descent elected PM of Britain, somebody of North African descent as president or PM of Italy or France, a burakumin elected in Japan, or, for that matter, a Uighur or Tibetan named general-secretary of the CCP?

    The only country that came screaming to mind was South Africa. I’m sure there are more, and I welcome suggestions.

    So, to answer your question as best I am able: Without grossly oversimplifying the complexities involved in historical legacies or endowing the ballot box with magical powers of social healing, I would say the election of Obama would be very meaningful, and would certainly be a major step (but only a step) along a much longer road of ethnic reconciliation.

  24. William Says:

    I don’t want to get caught up in this thick discussion but political correctness in China an interesting question. With more and more foreigners settling in China, I am finding that there is this new faction finding 老外 (laowai) offensive. I wonder how many of you here, find 老外 derogatory.

  25. Otto Kerner Says:

    I agree that “throughout most of China’s history, China has never confronted the sort of ‘political racism’ seen in Europe and America”. I’m not sure about these vestiges you refer to. Public policy in the West is anti-racist. Individuals sometimes engage in racist behaviour, but they do it privately or surreptitiously, just as the articles you’ve linked to show. I’m not sure how different that is from China.

  26. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner,

    Let me try to clarify. It is because of explicit political oppression on account of race in the West that has caused racism to be such a sensitive topic today…

    I am not saying there is institutional racism in the West today. That’s why I refer to vestiges of political racism in my previous post.

    But if it’s true that one difference between China and the West is that China historically have not had to confront the sort of political racism in the West, perhaps that might explain why there is hyper sensitivity to racism in the West but not in China (as of today).

    And perhaps people in the West should not take Chinese lack of hyper sensitivity as proof of ramped “racism”??

  27. Allen Says:

    @Steve #22,

    I’m curious; in China, if a Han Chinese girl brought home her college educated boyfriend to meet the parents and he was Uyghur, do you think the family would accept him or would there be a problem?

    Now you also get into issues of communal status, economic standing, cultural expectations, practical considerations, etc. – and just racism per se.

    Take practical considerations and cultural expectations, for example.

    Many Chinese parents are against their child marrying foreigners because they don’t want to deal with language barriers when they move in with their children when the parents get old. For parents who have expectations that their children will take care of them, they also fear that their children, upon marrying foreigners (who traditions may place less emphasis on children helping out their parents), will be less willing or able to help them.

  28. Steve Says:

    Allen, I’ve seen several examples of Chinese and Taiwanese women who immigrated to the States, later divorced their husbands and married American men, then insisted their children could only marry Chinese. That seemed kinda strange to me and pretty hypocritical. These women all had money and didn’t need their children to support them in old age. Why do you think they insisted on the Chinese/Chinese marriages when they didn’t follow this themselves?

  29. TommyBahamas Says:

    I am finding that there is this new faction finding 老外 (laowai) offensive. I wonder how many of you here, find 老外 derogatory.

    What? How can an endearing term such as Lao Wai be derogatory? It’s not even politically incorrect~!

    Is it rude to call someone a Fatty, half a lao wai – 肥佬, 半个鬼佬/老外 ? Mm, I guess so, ONLY IF I were indeed the latter. But being a 100% Chinese neither is offensive to me. In fact, the latter is a form of compliement to some Chinese who worship all things western.

    Now that you mention it, William. My HK friend’s wife from Northern China doesn’t like it whenever her husband uses the term “you Mainland folks” (你们大陆人). Is he a racist, provincialist, classist or whatever (boy, all these confusing labels) or merely discribing the same race difference in values and practices? To be fair, his wife is equally liberal with her “you HK folks’” are such and so, as well.

  30. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I agree with Netizen K. It’s impossible to say if one nation or one people are more or less racist than another nation or people. However, even if such a metric were devised, and you somehow concluded that nation x is less racist than nation y, I’d still be loathe to say that nation x should take much pride in such a finding.

  31. Steve Says:

    @SKC: Hear, hear!

  32. Michelle Says:

    I don’t find Chinese people (in my experience in China) to be exceptionally racist, but linguistically they do tend to focus on race. Why is Venus Williams called 黑人 or 美国黑人 and not just 美国人? It bothers me. But, despite some obvious examples of prejudice i’ve seen in China, it doesn’t bother me quite as much as the racism I find in the states, amoung other places, where people should and do know better.

    At what point, if at any, do we say Chinese people (again, in China) shoud know better?

    As for laowai, it seems to me that while it’s not offensive and in everyday colloquial use, perhaps 老外 would prefer to be called 外国人 in more formal situations as it might be seen as more respectful. And if it’s known which country the 老外 is from, there’s no real reason to use either.

  33. JL Says:

    For once I agree with Netizen K too.

    If you go to America, and someone calls you a “chink” are they being ‘racist’ or just ‘politically incorrect”?
    And does it really matter; i.e. will you feel better about it if they think it’s just being ‘politically incorrect’?
    In my view, the difference between the two is that generally people think of ‘racism’ as a bad thing, but ‘political incorrectness’ as natural thing. Therefore calling it the latter is a way to justify it.

  34. TommyBahamas Says:

    Ah….I always get a response from my buddy from afar, with a rather different POV. But who’s to say if he ain’t right?

    It’s the same old divide and rule bullsh*t, so that the ruling empires can stay on top, and so the rest of us
    colored peoples had to fight extra hard…It’s the politics of color/eugenic rather than political correctness which is often put out by mainstream megocorp media to divert the underlying issues of dividing the vast majority in order to rule over them.

  35. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To TommyB:
    isn’t white a colour? :-)

  36. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To JL:
    completely agree. In some quarters, saying someone is “un PC” is almost a compliment, almost like they’re a rebel with a cause, an independent thinker with the conviction to say what he thinks. And I hardly think being a racist is worthy of our admiration, regardless of the target of their prejudice.

  37. TommyBahamas Says:

    Why is Venus Williams called 黑人 or 美国黑人 and not just 美国人?

    OH, gimme a break….WWhat is wrong with calling Venus Williams black American?????? She is not black? Is she not American? SKC is a Chinese or Asian Canadian, many here are Asian American. I guess since Yellow (chicken, cowardly) is derogatroy, the term Yellow-American was never used. Now, on the other hand, why is White-American less offensive?
    The American media uses both Afro and Black American. What about the slogan “Black is beautiful,” “Black Community,” “Black American leaders,” “the first Black Presidential Candidate, Obama,” and on and on…..

  38. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To TommyB:
    I have no problem calling Venus a black American…it’s an accurate description of what she is. Especially if you use “ren”, and not “demon”, I for sure have no quarrel. My question would be, in all cases, are 2 descriptives necessary? Specifically, is she black first and American second, or vice versa. And I agree, no one trumpets McCain as a “white presidential candidate”; however, the difference is that he’s the 89th (?) white presidential candidate. However, Obama is the first black one, and for some reason, people feel the need to make a big deal about it. And as a historical precedent, it is significant. But I doubt if his ‘blackness” will have significant effect on his capability to discharge his presidential duties. Hopefully, there will come a day when a black presidential candidate will be as noteworthy as snow in January in New England. Or a female candidate, for that matter.

    But I think, when using colour to define someone, it assumes that that individual is indeed best defined by such; and I’m not sure if that assumption is correct, in many cases.

  39. TommyBahamas Says:

    SKC, isn’t white a colour?

    LOL~ I think my buudy (I forgot to add “quotes” cause those are his words, not mine) was ranting about the “Royal Whites vs the common colored folks, including the garden varieties of oppressed whites folks.” To me, a jerk is a jerk, whatever shades of skin pigments that he is enshroud in. OH, back to your question, ….well, lemme ask you this instead. Do you have any idea why yellow is the color of timidity? Or who started calling fair skin folks white, they are more like pink. And if one takes a look around, there are more pale-skin chinese and Asians, than, I think, there are pale-skin Caucasian world-wide. True/False?

  40. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To TommyB:
    “To me, a jerk is a jerk”- absolutely. The colour has no bearing on one’s “jerkiness”.
    I didn’t know that yellow = timid…clearly, i’m not yellow enough.
    And I agree, white people are seldomly “white”. An African-American man with albinism is whiter than most Caucasians, I suspect.

  41. Michelle Says:

    “why is White-American less offensive?”

    No one ever says White American. So i can’t say if it’s offensive or not. And because no one ever says white american, isn’t it justified that we don’t use black american unless it’s relevant.

    In Venus Williams’ case, I’d say it isn’t. She’s a tennis player from America. That’s it. And when talking about the black community, the ‘black’ part is relevant. When talking about Obama, his heritage is relevant in places (though it gets my goat when he’s ALWAYS referred to as the black candidate).

    I just think people (ok, perhaps Americans) would prefer to just be identified as Americans. I watched a PBS documentary the other day on a famous American, and at no point was she ever referred to as black except for once when discussing segregation policies in the South, when it was relevant. My comment is that in Chinese, when talking about a black person, it seems to be de-rigeur to say he/she’s a black person regarless of relevancy.

    Sigh, i don’t know. Would anyone here (to which this applies) prefer just to be Canadian or American (etc) sometimes instead of being Asian-American or Asian-Canadian?

  42. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Canadian.

  43. chinayouren Says:

    Racism in China is more about politically incorrect attitudes than anything else. In fact, real racism, the one that OP calls “political racism”, cannot really exist today in the life of most Chinese, because they are simply not in significant contact with other races.

    This reminds me of the incident of the Spanish olympic basketball team and their eye-slanting picture. When I went back to Spain for the Summer holidays, most of the people didn’t really understand what it was all about. They considered it just a typical nationalistic attack from the self-righteous British press, in line with previous accusations of racism during the Alonso-Hamilton F1 feud. Although I do see that the picture was a rather stupid idea, I can’t help but understand their position.

    The most revealing aspect of that polemics was that, on my return to Shanghai, I could see that only my anglo-saxon friends were giving it some importance. Some British girls even looked seriously worried and they came to ask me earnestly: “Chinayouren, are Spanish people RACIST?” In fact, none of the chinese I know here gave any importance to the incident, which is why it was very quickly forgotten. They understood it as what it really was: a simple good-humoured joke, admittedly not very funny, but nothing to be vexed about.

    Which comes to prove these points:

    Commonly accepted PC is a very recent concept, created and constantly redefined by a bunch of rich western countries to serve their own historical/psychological issues. Unlike Human Rights, there is no valid reason why these principles should be acccepted as Universal Values by the rest of the world.

    Even worse, the western PC regime follows a very racist logic itself, ensuring in every occasion that racial differences are given the most relevant place in the discussion. Eastern peoples would be well advised to stay away from these rules and try to create their own, more reasonable ones. Always, of course, in the spirit of respect for all the peoples.

  44. Michelle Says:

    “…ensuring in every occasion that racial differences are given the most relevant place in the discussion”

    Which in my view is what saying 黑美国人 (or variant) does. My Chinese isn’t great, so what the heck do I know.

  45. GNZ Says:

    It seems to me being politically incorrect is a subset of racism. It just opens the door to the fact that racism might not always be a bad thing (which presumably is what is being secretly argued). Being politically incorrect is saying something like “on average Chinese people are uglier and stupider than Koreans.” but probably excludes “White people are evil” or maybe “you should never hire a black person”.

    PC is supposed to be a protection against racial conflict and thus a protection of the races that are in weaker positions. I think it is indeed effective at that task – such that if a culture that was not “PC” controlled world media then the world would be significantly more racist.

    Personally I’m a bit torn – I see the benefits of being PC and yet oppose the idea of mindlessly denying facts (i.e. those particular situations where one might be tempted not to be PC).

  46. Ted Says:

    “While the term “black demon” (黑鬼) can be used as a derogatory term for black people (equivalent terms for white people include 洋鬼子 (western demons) and 鬼佬 (foreign devils)), in the South, especially in the Canton area, the term 黑鬼 appears to have been incorporated into daily language and currently carries no derogatory connotation.”

    It’s not what you determine to be acceptable term for those from another race, its what they choose. By the rational of the posted statement, the word “Negro” and many others are arguably acceptable.

    “”Government leaders argue that these kinds of measures help maintain harmony. Maybe so, but it is a superficial harmony that reinforces stereotypes and hinders the creation, in the long run, of genuine tolerance and understanding.”…
    …I understand I may be misinterpreted, but I believe it is a mistake to conflate racism as an ideology designed to oppress (”political racism”) with racism arising out of ignorance (traditional “social racism”).”

    Here the author of the article cited forgot to say that in the western countries, white people are –generally– given leadership positions. I can identify with his sentiment because, since living in China, I often think of my country in terms of its ideals rather than its reality. I recently had a terrible day at work after fielding a several “ignorant” slights and a few direct insults. After work, I went to a western restaurant popular with the foreign business crowd for a solo bite. My head was full of thoughts like the author you cite but it wasn’t 10 minutes before I overheard three Americans and an Indian grumble in agreement after one said, “how could he (Obama) be a good president, I mean look at Africa, they can’t get anything together.” That reminder of home was much needed. I could argue that this comment is “social racism” and not “political racism”, an individual stating their ignorant opinion about another, but the other person is running for President.

    I think “Social racism” and “political racism” are too tightly woven together to justify differentiation. Traditional social racism is the root of political racism. Two of the companies I worked for in China told their teacher recruiters not to hire blacks or non-Chinese Asians as teachers. This is traditional “social racism” bleeding upward into a system that is not forcefully combating it from the top down. As more foreigners come to China, the problem will become more pronounced.

  47. Michelle Says:

    American brand PC (and probably others) *is* a recent concept, but it wasn’t vanguarded by the whites to assuage their own historical/psychological issues. It came about at the insistance of minorities who felt that the linguistic labels applied to them were being applied in a derogatory spirit. In a multi-cultural nation / community, i think it’s fair that PC should be applied, not the least of all because it’s respecting the receiving party’s wishes.

    If 老外 in China decide that 老外 is not ok (unlikely), then the Chinese can decide to not use it out of respect, or say to hell with you we’ll use it anyway. Both are their rights.

    In China, again, who am I to say. If, for example, an visiting African has no problem being a 黑人 instead of a, for example, 赞比亚人, or maybe 非洲人 then it’s all hunky-dory I guess. If Venus Williams is ok with the same, then also ok i guess.

    I’ll ask some African friends and see how they feel.

  48. Michelle Says:

    Being politically incorrect is saying something like “on average Chinese people are uglier and stupider than Koreans.”

    Wow, really? For me this is just racist, no political incorrect about it. I know that our ‘lines’ between what’s acceptable and what isn’t are all placed differently, but if Chinese people would not find this racist, perhaps the range is wider than i expected.

  49. Michelle Says:

    Whatever could be said about China, though, it pales in comparison to the kind of crap that comes out of ignorant America, e.g. “how could he (Obama) be a good president, I mean look at Africa, they can’t get anything together.”

    On the up side (a sign of progress?), this comment doesn’t appear to be racist, just really really stupid.

  50. bopomofo Says:

    Where is the mention of the historical origins of the term “devil” as a reference to foreign invaders of China? In Chinese history that label was (maybe deemed appropriate at the time for nationalistic reasons) used to describe the many different people that have usurped her territories. It might help to explain the common usage of the term to describe foreigners in the current culture and in that era of “protectionism” the context it seems understandable. As the term was passed down through the centuries, it became part of the Chinese lexicon for describing foreigners. Instead of a derogatory term it seems “devil” has become a generalization and part of the terminology much as google is synonymous with search today. Unfortunately when literally translated it seems outdated (having origins in ancient China) and sounding rather unacceptable in the modern world. The term “unacceptable” obviously is debatable depending on your ethnicity and politically correct sensitivities.

  51. Ted Says:

    William #24. offended by 老外 no, but I prefer 外国人 and 美国人 is best.

    Michelle, your comments #32 et al. are great!

    NetizenK #15 hits the nail on the head.

  52. Michelle Says:

    Sorry, got emotional. Actually I don’t know if it pales in comparison, I’ve got no basis for saying China’s worse or better really. I’ve just been reading and youtubing too much about the US election in the past few days.

  53. Hongkonger Says:

    SKC, “And I agree, white people are seldomly “white”.

    “I didn’t know that yellow = timid”

    OK, you got me there…I wasn’t sure either. So, I went and got out my Webster dictionary. U-huh, I knew yellowbelly means cowardly, ..Ah ha…ha ha, there it is, definition # 10 (for yellow is): Cowardly.

    MIchelle, “No one ever says White American.”

    Really? Hey, I dunno who the dumbass “color-challenged” guy was that started using colors to describe people and race. And to call native Americans, “Indians,” or worse, “RED Indians,” is really unforgiveable being a well-learned man that you-know-who, was. Anyway, I love watching stand-up comedies. The term “White people / folks,” comes up a lot in these shows, though.

    If you saw me, you shouldn’t have to look again to know that I am Asian. However, if you wanted to know my nationality, you’d either have to talk to me, ask me, or take a wild guess. Many folks whom I first met, if we spoke in Chinese, some would guess I am from northern China. Then I’ve had quite a few Chinese folks asked if I were chinese especially when I was using English. Non-Chinese would usually first guess that I am an American or Canadian, then Singaporean and so on. And my reply has always been, nope. Have Never lived in the West. I am from Hong Kong.

  54. Michelle Says:

    Bopomofo: The term “unacceptable” obviously is debatable depending on your ethnicity and politically correct sensitivities.

    I agree with what you are saying. For the moment these aren’t big issues, and i don’t know if anyone is ready to get up in arms over foreign devil. There has been no clash of political-correctness-sensibilities. But as more and more foreigners come to spend long stints in China, and more learn Chinese, the issue of the term may arise in the future.

    At that point, the sensibilities of one group (foreigners of whatever description) may be different from the other group (Chinese people), true. And, at that point a choice has to be made: On one hand, you can choose to continue to use the now-offensive term, which probably will be seen as a sign of disrespect. On the other, you can change terms, which would be seen as a sign of respect.

    I don’t see how there is any middle ground between the two.

    I’m not sure how Chinese people would feel about foreigners “forgiving” their perceived gaffes – that in itself is kind of offensive isn’t it; in my experience Chinese people are very sincerely keen to show respect and would like to know if something they’re saying is perceived as offensive.

    Sorry for so many posts – back to work now! This is a fantastic topic.

  55. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Chinayouren #43:
    1. I’m happy you agree that human rights can validly be considered a universal value.
    2. If you label a version of racism as “real racism”, then is there a “fake” subset? And is it okay to practice this alternate subset?
    3. if “real” and “fake” racism are both unacceptable (and I cannot conceive of any form of racism to be acceptable), then the distinction itself is of no import.
    4.if PC is a recent Western concoction, then your opening statement (“Racism in China is more about politically incorrect attitudes”) can’t be true, since such a construct hasn’t been around very long, and wasn’t pervasive in China.
    5. “Even worse, the western PC regime follows a very racist logic itself, ensuring in every occasion that racial differences are given the most relevant place in the discussion” – what is your basis for this statement?
    6.”Eastern peoples would be well advised to stay away from these rules” – couldn’t agree more. If, on the one hand, you claim that a PC framework is in itself racist, then surely you can’t suggest that Chinese people should couch their prejudices in such a construct. I say call a spade a spade. Racism is racism.

  56. Allen Says:

    @GNZ #45,

    It just opens the door to the fact that racism might not always be a bad thing (which presumably is what is being secretly argued).

    I was afraid of this…

    No – I’m not trying to argue secretly that racism is not bad. I just want people to focus on what it is that make racism so bad. To me, “racist” attitude can be expressed with disrespect or a clear intent to harm (in which case it is not the “racist” attitude that is bad per se, but the disrespect or intent to harm). “Racist” preferences have also been used to politically oppress (in which case, it is the political oppression that is bad, not the “racist” preferences per se).

    I want people to consider the possibility that there are always going to be irrational “local” attitudes (regarding everything from food to human rights to beauty to democracy to movies to “race”) across the world (it is part of what defines culture) – and to not be so simply offended by “local” attitudes or to presume political oppression every time one encounters instances of “localism” – especially when one knows the attitudes are not associated with any political oppression (historical or currently) whatsoever.

  57. GNZ Says:

    Michelle,
    I expect that particular quote would go down far better in Korea than in China for nationalistic reasons although much better if you swapped the races. But I guess the whole point of this conversation is that what is considered legitimate isn’t the same everywhere.

  58. Hongkonger Says:

    “in the Canton area, the term 黑鬼 appears to have been incorporated into daily language and currently carries no derogatory connotation.”

    This is true…believe it or not….it’s like me refering to my caucasian friends, 我的鬼佬朋友…and they would say of me, this is my 香港脚朋友 (Athletic foot aka “Hong Kong Foot”) friend. It’s kinda like calling your loved one, he/she’s my bitch, no? Oh, whatever. Call me fat, call me dumb, call me senile or call me crazy, but I will never address a stranger as such. Others do, fine, they will learn their lessons. Haven’t we and don’t we all do?

  59. Allen Says:

    Slightly off topic here, but I think a couple of posts have touched on the subject of whether Obama should be considered “black” or “white.”

    On the one hand, it depends on the culture in which he grows up. If people around him (and most importantly, if Obama himself considers himself) black, then he is black. If on the other hand people around him (including Obama himself) consider him white, then he is white.

    But isn’t it strange that a white/black mix would be considered black not white? Do you know that in America, many who are as little as 1/16 black can be considered black…?

    To me, that can only smack of white supremacy. It is as if white is the nobler race, and when a nobler race is mixed with an inferior one, the product is inferior – hence “black.”

    Sorry if that came out blunt…. But why else would a white/black mix be considered “black” but not “white”?

  60. GNZ Says:

    Allen,
    Racism, or for that matter culture itself, is very definitely something that can be controlled via social engineering or via control of the language or the sort of reactions that are associated with PCness.
    I also think the future (not the past or even the present) is the thing that matters in this model.

    as to the “half minority is a minority” rule I think oppressed minorities themselves tend to encourage that.

  61. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen:
    “Do you know that in America, many who are as little as 1/16 black can be considered black…?” – I didn’t know that. But the key word is “can”. Much different if that is replaced with “IS”. The former would suggest that individual could also be considered other things; the latter might be more sinister.

    Having said that, they would be considered black in what context? For census purposes? For affirmative action?

  62. Allen Says:

    @SKC #61,

    Change that to “IS” then.

    1/16 black is considered black by almost everyone. This is according to a NPR discussion earlier this year when people were still debating whether Obama should be considered a “black” candidate.

    But since I’m sure you can find one person who consider a person who is 1/16 black and 15/16 white to be white, I chose the term “can.”

    P.S. As for what the census consider black or white – the judgment is purely up to the person filling out the census.

  63. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen #56:
    yes, political oppression based on race is bad. But so too would political favouritism based on race be bad. And that’s my point. You’re selecting out one aspect of racism; I’m saying the whole kit-and-kaboodle is bad, without exception. Period. Full stop. And whatever version exists in China today should be denounced, and not excused as a local quirk.

  64. Stinky Tofu Says:

    Of course the Chinese are racist. They’re human. Humans are racist. No exceptions.

    Remember Zhou Enlai? He said in the mid 1950s that racism is “uniquely absent” in China. The worst kind of self-deluded nonsense. Propagandistic B.S. Sadly, however, many Chinese continue to agree with him.

    Don’t believe me? Check out the anti-African riots in Nanjing in 1988 – thousands of angry, young Chinese men surrounded a Nanjing university’s foreign student dormitory and chanted “Kill the Black Devils!” (that’s right, 黑鬼) Similar riots took place in other cities, and at other times during the 1980s.

    In addition, the Chinese have demonstrated a serious interest in eugenics over the years. A good intro to the subject of race in China is Frank Dikkoter’s book “The Discourse of Race in Modern China.”

    In recent years, Condoleeza Rice has been subject to frequent racist attacks on the Chinese internet. Will Obama suffer the same if he becomes president? You betcha.

  65. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen:
    “But since I’m sure you can find one person who consider a person who is 1/16 black and 15/16 white to be white” – you’re absolutely right, I see just such a person every morning…in the mirror. I’ll get his name the next time I see him :-)

  66. Wukailong Says:

    “Laowai” as a word is neither respectful or disrespectful – it depends completely on who says it, and for what purpose. A guy up in Northeast yelling “laowai” at the top of his voice and staring at me was unpleasant, whereas somebody in Beijing saying it in a level tone as I passed by provoked no feelings at all, it just created a memory.

    Also, please keep the US and Europe apart, for once. The US was quite unique in still having a system of slavery in the early 19th century, and many European countries didn’t even have colonies. However, most Western countries would probably count as more racist back in the 50s than today, so China might be going through the same kind of transition. When you’re ethnically homogenous, racism takes the form of ignorance; when you have all sorts of races it instead turns into political racism. It’s not that countries like China, or Sweden back in the 40s, is somehow more moral, they just don’t know because they haven’t had to face the problem.

    The US might have had large problems with racism, but it also embodies an ideal that I like: that you’re American based on certain ideals, rather than race or ethnicity. That’s really the path other countries should walk down too, even though they have no history of political racism.

    Also, the point might be quite different in Hongkong where 鬼佬 is an accepted moniker; 黑鬼 is definitely derogatory in Mandarin, but it might not be in Cantonese.

    Btw, I’ve picked up the habit of sometimes using the word 老外 when talking about other foreigners, and my girlfriend, who’s Chinese, said: why do you use a silly word like that?

  67. Michelle Says:

    GNZ: “I expect that particular quote would go down far better in Korea than in China for nationalistic reasons although much better if you swapped the races.”

    Doesn’t change the fact that it’s ugly and racist.

    Regarding the “You’re black until you’re all white” discussion: Let’s bring it back to Asia.

    Tiger Woods is, as always, a good name to plop into conversations like this. Sonja Sohn (the wire) is also a good example. Both are half Asian / half black (to oversimplify it) but are probably considered black by whites, blacks and asians alike in America (and probably elsewhere).

    An honest question for those in China: Do you think a person who was White/Chinese would be accepted as more “Chinese” than one who was Black/Chinese? Why / why not? Are the reasons the same as they would be in the US (/elsewhere)?

  68. Michelle Says:

    For those of you who are like me avoiding work:
    Some famous Afro-Asians aka Blasians ( ! ) – Not surprisingly, many are fashion models.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Tyson_Beckford.jpg
    http://s3.amazonaws.com/coolspotters2_development/photos/1535/Hines_Ward_profile.jpg
    http://da.img.v4.skyrock.com/da0/luv-yah/pics/66823503_small.jpg
    http://nineteen69.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/kimora-lee-simmons.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Chanel_Iman.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Neyo.jpg
    http://photos.ericsueyoshi.com/images/A_9/5/5/4/4559/Will_Demps_1.jpg
    http://cache.idolator.com/assets/resources/2008/06/tyga.jpg
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/Cassie_cropped_by_David_Shankbone.jpg
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e4/Sqapl.jpg

    I also just found out that Naomi Cambell is part Hakka Chinese! Never knew that….

  69. Hongkonger Says:

    SKC, “consider a person who is 1/16 black and 15/16 white to be white”I see just such a person every morning…in the mirror.

    MIchelle, “Do you think a person who was White/Chinese would be accepted as more “Chinese” than one who was Black/Chinese?”

    SKC, You are confusing me. Are you saying you are a Caucasian?

    MIchelle, My guess is, a person is [accepted] as a Chinese if he or she thinks and speaks like a Chinese. Legally, whatever the person’s ID or Passport indicates, and finally, genetics, in which case, the father’s race will probably (normally) decides his children’s race.

  70. Michelle Says:

    Actually i wasn’t talking about legal race / ID cards. I was thinking more: When you see a “Tiger Woods”, do you think “that’s an asian man” or “that’s a black man”.

  71. GNZ Says:

    Tiger woods is half Thai. Thai would love to claim him if he would let them. North Asians on the other hand don’t particularly identify with South east Asians.
    Actually the most extreme racism (racist comments) I’ve heard is Intra-Asia racism notably anti Indian and anti south east Asian.

  72. RMBWhat Says:

    It’s good and all to be PC. But we will see what really happens when the real shit hit the fun. I’m sorry, I don’t have much faith in the human race.

    I’m not racist. But then again I know what the reality is. Whenever you have groups, you are going to have these kinds of “groupness.” It’s just reality. There is always going to be some kind of racial conflict. There is no way around that. You cannot take away conflict. Because we are talking about human nature, and competition. In a world of limited resources… conflicts will arise.

    It’s how you manage that, and try to be fair, legally. Rest of it is just bullshit.

    I do not hate anyone. But we ain’t living in an utopia either. What I’m getting at is I’m fine with people hating me. I’m fine. As long as the law is fair…

    Dude… wha I’m sayin gis that you just have to see what the individual is like… Most of the time on an individual level there is no racisim… at least 4 me.

  73. Hongkonger Says:

    Tiger Woods’ father, Earl Woods is one quarter American Indian, a quarter Chinese and half black, he is often quoted stressing the importance of Tiger’s black heritage. But his mother, Tida Woods – a quarter Chinese, a quarter white and half Thai – believes Tiger “is more Asian.”

    Again, a person is [accepted] as an Asian if he or she thinks and speaks like a Asian, whether be Thai, Chinese, filippino etc.

  74. GNZ Says:

    OK I stand corrected – goes to show Thai really do like to claim him :)
    Hey, do you know any Chinese people who “claim” him?

  75. Michelle Says:

    Chinasmack has a post relevant to PC-ness posted today. Some comments are relevant to our discussion. http://www.chinasmack.com/videos/caught-guy-playing-audition-funny-expressions/#more-2366

  76. Michelle Says:

    Hongkonger: Sorry to press the point, but I’m not talking about acceptance. What you’re saying is that even if someone is 100% black, if they speak and think like a person from XYZ asian country they will be accepted.

    But the discussion was not about whether the 15/16white person is accepted as American (or other – sorry I keep doing that), but whether or not that person is thought of as black or white. A 100% African born and raised in Asia might be accepted as an Asian, but will not be perceived as someone ethnically asian, right?
    Basically, my question was, “does the 15/16 way of thinking exist in Asia? at what point does someone who has some but not all “asian blood” become “asian first”?

    It’s a question with no real answer, of course, but I’d like to hear what people think.

  77. chinayouren Says:

    To SKC:

    2.> If you label a version of racism as “real racism”, then is there a “fake” subset? And is it okay to practice this alternate subset?

    The “fake” one is made of beliefs and traditions of the common people, who usually haven’t even seen before a person of the other race. Most of the times it is harmless. It is however potentially dangerous, as it can be easily used and manipulated by the powerful to reshape it into “real” political racism. This “fake” racism is cured very simply with education, culture, travel. It requires time and economic conditions, and not an opressive PC mould imported from western countries.

    An example is the spanish basketball team, or the shows I have seen in some chinese villages with some actors painted in black and representing african tribes. Only a very brainwashed Anglo-western can fail to see that there is no evil in these actions.

    3. if “real” and “fake” racism are both unacceptable (and I cannot conceive of any form of racism to be acceptable), then the distinction itself is of no import.

    No, I don’t think “fake” racism is unacceptable in itself. Because, being “fake”, it is not racism. Right?

    4.if PC is a recent Western concoction, then your opening statement (”Racism in China is more about politically incorrect attitudes”) can’t be true, since such a construct hasn’t been around very long, and wasn’t pervasive in China.

    You got me there. Yes, “Racism in China” is too general a concept to define in one phrase. I was meaning to refer only to the common perception of racism that OP wrote about, as in the tennis match with the black player.

    5. “Even worse, the western PC regime follows a very racist logic itself, ensuring in every occasion that racial differences are given the most relevant place in the discussion” – what is your basis for this statement?
    It is not a scientific statement, but it is a feeling I got from observation. An obvious side effect of strict PC enforcement is that every statement is obsessively scrutinized for traces of the evil. Which is a way of keeping this evil always in the air. As if we all by default suspects of racism requiring investigation.

    6.”Eastern peoples would be well advised to stay away from these rules” – couldn’t agree more. If, on the one hand, you claim that a PC framework is in itself racist, then surely you can’t suggest that Chinese people should couch their prejudices in such a construct. I say call a spade a spade. Racism is racism.

    I beg your pardon?
    To call a spade a spade is very bad form, it goes against the very basic principles of PC. Please ammend. LOL!

  78. Xujun Says:

    Michelle:

    Racism does exist in China, but, generally speaking, calling foreigners “lao wai” isn’t racism. If you don’t like to be called “lao wai” and you tell your Chinese friends that, I’m sure they will respect your wish and stop doing it. However that is just a personal preference. “Lao wai” simply means “foreigner,” while Chinese often add “lao” for intimacy. When my American husband lived in China with me, my family members and friends always called him “lao wai.” My mother called him “my lao wai son-in-law,” and he was never offended. He enjoyed the funny intimacy. As for myself, I don’t mind being referred as either American Chinese or Asian Chinese, and I really don’t see the point to be over sensitive about it. IMO, being over sensitive does not help battering racism. Just my two cents.

  79. Steve Says:

    Xujun, my experience echoed your husband’s. To me, laowai was never an insult because it was never intended as an insult, just that I was different, especially when I was away from large cities. I think it’s all in the attitude in which it’s said.

    In Taiwan, they use the phrase “waiguoren” for foreigner. Once when I was coming home from work, I was about to pull into the parking garage to our apartment in Miaoli and was waiting for the garage door to open. Two little kids were walking past and suddenly then turned to look at me. One of them pointed at me and shouted “waiguoren!” with a surprised look on his face. I smiled at him and thought it was really funny. I’d be willing to bet FOARP has had a similar experience, since there are very few foreigners in that city.

    When you live in a place where 99.99% of the people are of the same ethnic heritage, it’s only natural for someone different to be remarked upon. That’s just human nature and nothing to worry about. We used to kid our son’s girlfriend that if she went to China with her red Irish hair, green eyes and ultra light skin, she would draw a crowd.

    The Obama campaign has been interesting in terms of Chinese reaction. Over here, the fact that he is part black is not a big deal among Chinese Americans I know. Since most of them are staunchly Republican, they aren’t voting for him for political reasons. But when my wife talks to friends or family in Taiwan, they are dumbfounded that America could possibly elect a black man for president, like the country would go to hell in a hand basket if that happened. We were both surprised at the reaction.

    Racism in the States has really changed over the years. My uncle is Japanese American, born in one of the internment camps during the war. When he and my aunt married, it was very, very uncommon, even though he was as American as can be. These days, it’s not a big deal at all. If I had met my wife in the 1960s rather than the 1980s, it would also have been a big deal that I was with an Asian lady. Nowadays, it’s not only accepted but considered pretty cool. Times have changed and I’m sure as China incorporates itself into the world, attitudes will also change there. Knowledge and familiarity tend to cure most racism.

  80. Allen Says:

    Thanks to everyone for lot of great comments!

    I just want to clarify myself a little bit about my post.

    Some people may have analyzed my original post as an attempt to justify racism in their culture. That was not my intention. In a society like the U.S., given its history, I probably tend to agree hyper sensitivity to race is probably a good thing.

    I am not defending Chinese who do not show hyper sensitivity in countries like the U.S. Chinese should be more tactful about race when they travel to countries with hyper sensitivity such as the U.S. Those Chinese in the stands should have been much more sensitive. Even in domestic (China) competitions, people should probably show hypersensitivity if we have foreign guests from hypersensitive countries playing or if it is considered an “international venue.”

    I am also not necessarily defending that Chinese should continue on their non-PC ways. As more foreigners move to China, and as the populations in China intermix more, people probably ought to be more tactful about ethnic differences and shed more of their “localism.”

    What I am saying though is that people should try to understand that the fundamental problem with racism is the associated political suppression – not the racially based preferences per se (e.g. if you prefer to marry someone who is your own race, that is ok – that is not “racist”). I think being PC is really only a superficial way to get rid of racism since people will always have biases (as long as they interact more with their “race” than other races – they will have some form of racially based biases).

    I think the more substantive way to “cure” the problem of racism is by focusing on getting rid of the political fallout of racism. Understanding that can liberate a traveler from not to looking for “racism” wherever there appears to be “racial insensitivity.” When one is from a racially hypersensitive country, one should not project one’s hypersensitivity to others in one’s travels.

    Be respectful. Don’t take offense when none was intended. Try not to make a mountain out of a molehill about race: I guess that’s all I am saying.

  81. bt Says:

    @Allen

    Thanks a lot!
    That’s one reason why i find this blog so great!

  82. Steve Says:

    Great comments, Allen!

    I think one reason people get so annoyed about PC is that if someone says something that can be interpreted many different ways, there are people who insist on interpreting it in the most negative way possible, then claiming racism when in fact none exists. When dealing with cultures not our own, it’s even harder to interpret some expressions. The word “devil” in Chinese cosmology has a completely different meaning than it would have in the west. I’ve heard Japanese expressions which when translated directly into English sound very, very insulting but are not considered that way at all in their own culture.

    So I think I’m agreeing with Allen when I say it’s best to attribute the most honorable motives to what you hear and not read too much into them. Woody Allen made fun of hypersensitivity in Annie Hall when he said, “You know, I was having lunch with some guys from NBC, so I said, ‘Did you eat yet or what?’ And Tom Christie said, ‘No, JEW?’ Not ‘Did you?’…JEW eat? JEW? You get it? JEW eat?” It’s one of his most classic bits.

    As far as political fallout from racism, I think that’s more of a way for the elite to hold on to power. When the minority’s political clout increases to the point where it jeopardizes the ability of the elite to hold on to power, institutional racism is the result. One example is currently happening in Thailand, as the elite in Bangkok want to change the constitution so they can overcome the voting power of the poor majority and lock in power amongst themselves. The French prided themselves in how they treated Africans; until so many Algerians moved there that they threatened the government power structure. In the southern USA, politicians suppressed the huge potential African American vote so they could maintain power.

    Isn’t xenophobia and ultra nationalism just another form of racism directed outside rather than inside the country? For me, that is another very dangerous type of racism with political consequences.

  83. FREAK Says:

    What is I see in this post is typical craop. Hypocritcal double standard double think.

    These liberals like SKC RMBWHat who think that they are part of the liberal group… guess what… you are not! You are all stupid faggots. Do you really beleve that they consider you part of them? You can never be them. stupid faggots. The liberals are all laughing at you behind you backs. Stupid chinks.

    you have to look at what the socity is saying on both the conscious and subconscious level. on the conscious level, it hyper sensitivity racial equality. On the subconscious level, it’s is completely something else. It’s still 19th century social Darwinism eugenics agendas… white man’s burden.

    Everyone gets be played in this game. You are all being played.

    And to all the white people, black people, we know your lies. You double think. You say and claim all this stupid stuff… but your actions proves otherwise.. they show your real intentions.

    You are all f—ing racist. [edited by Allen for profanity]

    This world is racist.

    It’s everyone against everyone else… conflict arises out of differenc. try to prove otherwise is pure crap. we don’t believe you anymore. The people that comes on this site are all weirdos bak home. Most of your fellow people are all laughing at you. stupid.

    F— [edited by Allen for profanity] ALL OF YOU. FAKE LIBERALS. SO FAKE. IT IS THE FAKENESS THAT PISSES ME OFF>>> ALL THE OTHER STUFF IS OKAY> BUT THE FAKENESS> My GOD THE FAKNESS OF YOU PEOPLE. ALL OF YOU.

  84. bt Says:

    @Steve

    Well, i am French by myself (gosh, discovered!) and i would like to add something on what you said previously.
    “The French prided themselves in how they treated Africans; until so many Algerians moved there that they threatened the government power structure.”

    I am not so sure about what you want to say.
    If it’s about colonization of Algeria … we are not proud at all about that … it was a pure land grab under the cover of ‘bringing the light’, followed by a terrible war.
    If it’s about the current situation in French suburbs, we are also not proud at all about the situation. And they don’t at all shake the government structure. It is purely a social problem, aggravated by the fact that their religion is different from ‘the mainstream’ and that they can easily been discrimated on the behalf on their name or appearance. And sometimes they are, unfortunately.

    And again, it has also been said by a British guy participating in this forum, please don’t overgeneralize with ‘the West’. It is a lot of different countries, with different histories and feelings …
    I understand that from P.R. China it looks quite similar, but it’s not …

  85. Steve Says:

    Hi bt, thanks for the comment. I was thinking more along the lines of someone like Dexter Gordon, the great tenor sax who lived most of his adult life in Paris because he was treated much better there than in the States. Nina Simone also lived in France to get away from the racism she encountered in the States back then. I wasn’t trying to denigrate France at all, just pointing out that once the population gets beyond a certain threshold it’s common for a certain amount of political fallout, in your case maybe more religious than political. But isn’t the backlash in France towards certain Muslim customs in some ways political?

    I agree with you that it’s bad to overgeneralize the West, which comprises many different cultures as Asia is comprised of many different cultures. Chinese culture is very comfortable for me but to be honest, Japanese culture can really throw me at times.

    I should have said “African Americans” in my original comment, sorry.

    bt~ my wife and I have driven all over France in the past and had a fantastic time. You live in a wonderful country!

  86. bt Says:

    @steve

    Thanks a lot for your comments too.
    Ok, you were reffering to African-Americans jazzmen in the 30′s … just a misunderstanding so. Fine.
    And your post was not offensive at all for me … we are like every country in the world, with its flaws and good things.
    Concerning the Muslims, well, you are right … it becomes highly political if they challenge the very secular form of our republic (totally different from USA on this point). But in fact, few of them really seems to do. If you are living in a poor neighborhood with high unemployement rates, it does make sense to have difficulties to identify yourself to your own country, and you become more prone to concentrate of what does make you different to the other people (etnicity, religion, or whatever …). And it is a vicious circle, as in mirror the society ‘outside’ rejects you more and more.
    As for ‘the West’ … Chinese people often says (very rightly, IMHO) that Westerners doesn’t understand China. And it’s true. But the opposite could be also true, please think about it … and leads to violent misunderstandings (human rights, T1bet, …). The world is not black/white, there is a lot of grey :)

  87. RMBWhat Says:

    FREAK,

    Hey brah, I’m not a liberal. And secondly, I agree with you. However, I don’t think it’s the fault of the people. The elities are the one responsible. They are the ones behind the scene that is creating these conflicts, to drive a wedge between the people, i.e. a divide and conquer technique. Why are they doing this? To maintain control.

  88. Steve Says:

    @bt~ I couldn’t agree more about that vicious cycle; being separated from the predominant culture, growing further apart over time, rejecting each other’s ways, etc. It’s hard to break that cycle since each side becomes more inflexible in its thinking.

    Dexter Gordon was actually in Paris in the 60s and 70s, and Nina Simone lived in Aix-en-Provence from 1992 until her death in 2003, so both were pretty recent.

    Many westerners don’t understand China, and many Chinese don’t understand westerners, but I also think that some westeners understand China better than many Chinese since they can look at the culture more objectively, and some Chinese understand westerners better than we do for the same reason. After all, isn’t Democracy in America by one of your fellow countrymen considered the classic account of America’s strengths and weaknesses? :)

  89. cephaloless Says:

    “yellow” caught my eye in a couple posts as “timid” which is way too mild a description. Yellow means coward, the running away kind. This usage seems to be fading though. Then I got curious about where this meaning of yellow and yellowbellied came from. A quick search indicates the terms does not appear to have originated as an anti-asian slang.

    Now here’s a question. Assume laowai is just a folksy term for foreigner in common usage, does the term even make sense when spoken in new york, LA, paris, … when used in the usual context.

    Maybe theres an element of “laziness of language” in these terms. Instead of americans, french, or even foreigners, “howdie strangers/tex/yankee …”. I don’t mean to imply uneducatedness or anything like that, just trying to find some sort of analogy.

  90. Steve Says:

    cephaloless: I’d say that using laowai in China is fine, since it’s hard to tell what country the person is from. Used in New York where you know they are Americans, it would be a “lazy” usage to me. Anyone who travels overseas should have done their homework and know the difference.

  91. Allen Says:

    @Ted #46,

    I think “Social racism” and “political racism” are too tightly woven together to justify differentiation

    Good point. I think in the U.S. at least, it is often hard to tell where one start and the other begins. But I still think it’s helpful to separate the two at least in concept. It’s possible that just because the two are interwined in certain cultures, it may not be in others.

  92. Hongkonger Says:

    cephaloless Says: ” Yellow means coward, the running away kind. ”

    AH…Now I know why people who turn away from a fight or whatever challenges are called “Chicken” by the antagonizer. Because that’s considered running away. Bob Dylan in, I think it is the Tomstone Blues, where he goes,

    “The sun is not yellow, it’s chicken….”

    Thanks, cephaloless.

  93. TommyBahamas Says:

    RMBWhat: RIGHT ON, you are echoing my buddy’s POV (see post #34) “The elities are the one responsible. They are the ones behind the scene that is creating these conflicts, to drive a wedge between the people, i.e. a divide and conquer technique.”

    Funny thing is, maybe not funny, but sad that, as the late foul mouth G. Carlin said, “Nobody listens, noboday cares.” Democracy needs educated fools, armchair generals, pulpit preachers, big mouth moralists, idealists, what we call. 坏书生. The more the better. People who are informed merely enough to be hypersensitive, quick to cast stones, ettique bound. You know your dime a dozen anal retentive, legalistic judgemental snobs.

    Thanks FREAK for your post. Some of us and/or our alter anal retentive egos need an occasional kick in the butt to loosen our constipated BS.

  94. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Freak:
    “This world is racist.” – I think I can agree with that statement. But try as I might, couldn’t find much more there. Maybe next time.

  95. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen #80:
    “Try not to make a mountain out of a molehill about race” – good advice. But neither should we make a molehill out of a mountain, when the situation arises.

  96. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Chinayouren #77:
    “Because, being “fake”, it is not racism. Right?” – my mistake in carelessly and poorly choosing an appropriate “opposite”. So yes, if it’s fake, it’s not racism, so no biggie. But to me, any form of “real” racism deserves equal admonishment.

    “It is not a scientific statement, but it is a feeling I got from observation” – and that’s fine. Lord knows I’m not expecting scientific rigour around here, otherwise this blog would be very sparse indeed. But still, when you’re using superlatives like “every occasion” and “the most relevant place “, you’re asking for scrutiny, even if it’s not in search of evil. And that has absolutely nothing to do with PC. If you say that western PC regimes are based on racist logic, asking for clarification for such a statement is nowhere near accusing you of being racist. And to say that “we all by default suspects of racism requiring investigation” is to whip out the victim card and obfuscate the issue.

  97. Wukailong Says:

    SKC: “I think I can agree with that statement. But try as I might, couldn’t find much more there. Maybe next time.”

    You mean you did not agree with the statement “[y]ou are all stupid faggots”? :)

  98. Wukailong Says:

    One problem I see with the idea that begun this discussion (that China’s racism, being based on simple ignorance or lack of education, isn’t as bad as the US variety) is that it has been used in different forms in other discussions, and the end result is always the same: it’s impossible to say anything critical about China. Environmental problems and bad air? Western media. Racism? Western media and misunderstanding. Views on Japan: Western media exaggerating. Human rights and democracy? Forget about it.

    There is media bias against China and there are problems I think are exaggerated, but for me the turning point came when I heard people said air pollution in Beijing was something the Western media had come up with. Living here for 6 years, I have all respect for criticism against the bad air. Would someone care to come up with special Chinese standards or a discussion about how Chinese tradition does not bother itself with Western inventions like air pollution?

    I guess this is what people thing when they talk about “moral relativism”, but I think it’s more a question of lack of ideals, or just throwing the ideals out with the ones who use them for ulterior motives.

  99. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wukailong:
    man, I tried. And I gazed deeply into my navel. But it just wasn’t in me….maybe next time….

  100. Ted Says:

    @Allen #91: “But I still think it’s helpful to separate [“Social racism” and “political racism”] at least in concept. Just because the two are intertwined in certain cultures, it may not be in others.”

    Agree, I had this same thought as I was reading your post and writing my comment. It’s why I like this blog, it helps me flush out ideas and recognize truths that are difficult or inappropriate to discuss during my day to day. Thanks FM.

  101. Steve Says:

    Wukailong~ did someone really say that air pollution in Beijing was an invention of the western media??? I guess I wasn’t around for that discussion. I mean, the pollution in all major Chinese cities is horrible. I didn’t even think that could be a point of discussion, since every Chinese I know admits it and wishes it would improve. Amazing…

  102. Tommy B. Says:

    “air pollution in Beijing was an invention of the western media”

    ???

    This is how rumours get started….

  103. Wukailong Says:

    Alright, alright, my formulation wasn’t entirely correct. What I meant was that there were statements that the Western media were using air pollution as a tool to pressure China, to the point that the problem itself was belittled. Apologies for rumors started, etc…

    On the nice side, I realize that being outspoken (which isn’t normally my style) gets more responses.

  104. Wukailong Says:

    @Steve: “every Chinese I know admits it and wishes it would improve.”

    In general, ordinary Chinese (like ordinary people from other countries) have sane viewpoints. It’s just that the 愤青 are more vocal. :)

  105. S.K. Cheung Says:

    If one of the legacies of the Olympics is clean air in Beijing, that would be a benevolent development for Chinese people (or at least Beijingers). And by showing it can be done in one city, maybe it will start a trend to try it in others too.

  106. Ted Says:

    Here’s an anecdotal tidbit that’s too good not to post. I just bought “Traitor” starring Don Cheadle off the street but the movie on the DVD turned out to be “The Detonator” with Wesley Snipes. Is this racism…? No. Ignorance…? Maybe a little… Really funny.,..? Absoutely.

    I’m still watching the movie… here’s a taste, “Today was a bad day… I killed four people. My resume reads like a graveyard, and it’s still a work in progress.”

    Blade Trinity rules.

  107. Allen Says:

    @Steve #82,

    As far as political fallout from racism, I think that’s more of a way for the elite to hold on to power. When the minority’s political clout increases to the point where it jeopardizes the ability of the elite to hold on to power, institutional racism is the result.

    That’s a “cynical” take of what I was trying to say – though it is legit. It’s true that to protect their power, the elite often create “institutional racism” to keep their power base. But when I wrote:

    I think the more substantive way to “cure” the problem of racism is by focusing on getting rid of the political fallout of racism.

    I meant it as a solution – not an obstacle. Instead of trying to drill into everyone’s head to determine whether people are “racist” (a la cultural revolution “group think”), we should focus on solving political, economic, and/or social oppression. By “political fallout” – I was really saying that we should focus on social justice, rather than the superficiality of being PC, or psychoanalysis, which often result in one unhelpfully projecting one’s cultural and historical background onto others…

  108. Steve Rose Says:

    Not entirely related – but why do US people consider Barack Obama a black man, an African American, but in fact he is 50% white and 50% black.

  109. Allen Says:

    @Steve Rose #108,

    I don’t know, but people with as little as 1/16 black can be considered black (according to a recent NPR program).

    One theory is that this is simply a result of white chauvinism. If white is considered superior, and black inferior, then getting 1/16 of one’s genes soiled makes one still imperfect – hence black.

    But there are other potential explanations. It could be that over time, the blacks, being in the minority, cannot realistically to keep its bloodline purely black. Hence to keep its identity as “black,” they have to consider someone of mixed ancestry black. Whites, on the other being in the majority, feel less impetus to do so because it has a much bigger population to start out with…

    There are still other explanations. People born of color are often treated as people of color. So maybe it has nothing to do with genes – just with social experience. As racism is reduced in America, perhaps more people of mixed ancestry will be treated as “white” – then people of mixed ancestry can be “liberated” from their “black” ancestry.

    I’m sure there are other reasons…

  110. FOARP Says:
    “In Taiwan, they use the phrase “waiguoren” for foreigner. Once when I was coming home from work, I was about to pull into the parking garage to our apartment in Miaoli and was waiting for the garage door to open. Two little kids were walking past and suddenly then turned to look at me. One of them pointed at me and shouted “waiguoren!” with a surprised look on his face. I smiled at him and thought it was really funny. I’d be willing to bet FOARP has had a similar experience, since there are very few foreigners in that city.”

    Yup, and I would always put on a smile on my face and call them “Taiwanren” right back – always good for a laugh! What kids say shouldn’t bother anyone, and to be frank I never found the whole “Hello laowai!” thing on the mainland much more than simply annoying. Guys who want to pick a fight with you simply because you’re white/black/foreign-looking are a bit different, and I met a few of these on the mainland – however, alcohol was involved in most of these incidents. Others were less forgivable, like when some random guy on a train called my girlfriend of the time a whore for going with a foreign, or the couple of times that I was refused service by taxi drivers because I was a ‘laowai’. These kind of incidents still get me a bit angry when I think about them, but it’s been more than a year since I was in China, and they were hardly the biggest or most important thing about my time there. The majority of Chinese I met were friendly and happy to meet someone from another country.

    Did I also meet foreigners in China who held racist attitudes towards the locals? Yes – they didn’t walk around shouting insults but I knew who they were and I knew what they thought. Some of these attitudes were fairly petty and hard to distinguish from the usual frictions of living in a country whose culture you do not understand and whose language you do not speak, but some were less so. I suppose the worst thing was the way some expats would talk down China and Chinese culture in loud English, thus pissing off any Chinese person within hearing distance who could speak even a few words of English, since it does not require any great level of skill to know when people are saying bad things about something. The expat scene in a lot of the far-east is pretty tight-knit – you’re pretty much guaranteed to run into the same people over and over – so I never told most of these people to shut up. I guess I should have.

  111. Steve Says:

    @Allen #107: I agree with you that getting rid of the political fallout can overcome racism. But I believe the impetus must come from the people and not the government. The government will only get involved in a positive way when politicians can use the issue to get elected. Of course there are some exceptions to this; politicians who actually have pure motives but they will never form a majority, in my view. In my experience in the States, when I was a kid there was a lot of racism (this was the early 60s) but by the late 60s, races were spending time together, getting to know each other and the attitudes were changing. For them to really improve, it usually takes generation or two to die off. That’s why in this year’s US election, race is a non factor for people under 40 but matters more and more (both positively and negatively) the older you go. So I guess Interaction + Time = Adequate Harmony :)

    @Steve Rose #108: My oldest son is 3/8 American Indian from two different tribes. He doesn’t look or act Indian, doesn’t know any Indians here in San Diego, but technically he can register as an Indian under the law. It’s not just a black thing. Obama spent his childhood in the white culture, and has spent his adulthood in the black culture. I think once he married, he chose to identify more with his black side. There used to be substantially more benefits from being a minority but there are still some, and many schools will encourage their students to register as minorities so they can get extra funding. It’s actually pretty complicated. Incidentally, Obama isn’t ½ white and ½ black. His predominant ancestry is actually Thai but he also has Chinese, black, white and American Indian.

    A rather low percentage of blacks in the US are pure black. Most have mixed blood and some have very little black. When I was a kid, other blacks would call a light skinned black “high yellow” as an insult. Where the “yellow” came from was beyond me.

    @FOARP #110: Things must have changed a lot since I was in China. No one ever tried to start a fight with me because I was laowai; no one ever refused me service anywhere I ever went, no one insulted my wife when we were there together, or said anything to my female collegues if we were out in public. Some of my friends living in Shanghai said it got downright dangerous to be laowai this past summer, along with assorted visa hassles, so many of them left China as a result.

    I saw a cartoon once where this guy is working at a fast food place in Canada, and two local girls point at him and say “Loser!” Next panel, he’s in China with a beautiful Chinese girl on his arm and feels like he’s some kind of stud. Next panel, two western girls see him, point at him and say “Loser!” I’d say the vast majority of foreigners I met were basically losers who could not make it in their own culture so they were teaching English in China or Taiwan, acting like they were so important, looking down on everyone there and only hanging with other loser western English teachers. I can say this because the contributors to this blog are pretty sharp people who don’t fit that category, but I’m sure the other expats here would agree with me.

    Unlike you, I didn’t work or hang with other expats so I didn’t care what they thought of me and let them know they were assholes. I have no patience for that sort of thing.

  112. TommyBahamas Says:

    Steve, #111

    Great post~! Opens my eyes to a few things and confirms some of my suspicions.
    I grew up with everyone telling me to learn from the “classless, opem-minded” west, which is very different from the then Red China’s propaganda. Then, I found out that this class discrimination business is the same in all society.

    Do the upper-class / rich look down on the lower poorer class? Yes. Is it 100% that way? I’d like to think not. Do the rich exploit the poor and the poor are always jealous of those better off than them? Yes/no. Again the scale is very tilted. How about agism? Do you feel sorry for a 60 year old working at say, KFC? But at the same time considers ” losers ” those in their late 20s who are still working at the sales counter at KFC? And if these “losers” decided to up and go to some foreign country perchance that they be treated better, are they still really losers? So, according to the author of cartoon you read, a loser is a loser until what happens? My partial answer to my own question would be, when the “loser” shows self-respect by treating others who treat them well with RESPECT.

    How bad is sexism, racism, etc in the 21st century? Well, it all depends on where we are. Other than the well known and obvious, reversed sexism is getting more prominent.

    “Incidentally, Obama isn’t ½ white and ½ black. His predominant ancestry is actually Thai but he also has Chinese, black, white and American Indian. ”

    Really? That’s incredibly similar to the multiple heritage make up of Tiger Woods!

    (See # 73) HKer: Tiger Woods’ father, Earl Woods is one quarter American Indian, a quarter Chinese and half black, he is often quoted stressing the importance of Tiger’s black heritage. But his mother, Tida Woods – a quarter Chinese, a quarter white and half Thai – believes Tiger “is more Asian.”

  113. jack Says:

    According to Wikipedia, “politically correct” is used almost exclusively in a pejorative sense,while “politically incorrect” is commonly used as an implicitly positive self-description. Is that right?

  114. Allen Says:

    @jack #113,

    Not really. Depends on who you talk to. In the 1990′s being politically correct was the rage and fashion. Then there was a back lash against it in the late 90′s early 2000′s – which did sully part of its original appeal.

    Still today, I think a lot of people are proud to be “politically correct.”

  115. jack Says:

    Why do you single out racism? I think all forms of discrimination, racial,sex or religious ones, are equally vicious and devastating. In the name of the divine, people committed untold atrocities.

    Racism is a very complex and sensitive matter in countries where crimes like slavery or genocide have been carried out against other races.However,it was never about race in the first place. It is always about power and greed.Race is only a subterfuge to justify those perpetrators’ enormities. As the rationale goes: those inferior races are not worth being treated as equals to the civilized races, thus it would not be immoral to treat them just the way we treat animals.

    I think it is hypocritical to single out racism. However, is this how it works? Single something out and tag a evil label on it, so our conscience can be clear. Is that hilarious?
    .

  116. Steve Says:

    Aaarrrggghh!! I screwed up! Obama is half white and half black. I had Tiger Woods on my mind! :(

  117. Allen Says:

    @jack #115,

    Well said. If I got one inch closer to the truth, you got two.

  118. Jerry Says:

    While I have never been to da lu, I think your supposition sounds plausible. But racism is probably so entangled that it is difficult to discern between political and social racism.

    I have a question regarding Venus Williams in Hong Kong. Is it political, social or just plain racism.

    —————-

    African Americans have been called some despicable terms, which I will not deal with here. Since I was a kid, I remember Negro, Black, Afro-American and African American, the most common term used now. The etymology of Negro: The word black in Latin is niger, in Spanish and Portugese it is negro; noir/e in French (negre is a discontinued word because it is consider offensive or as the French say, injurieux.

    Before I was born, there was the NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. African Americans were called Negros. There were the Negro Baseball Leagues, in which Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays, Cool Papa Bell, Larry Doby and Buck O’Neill played.

    When I was a teenager, I remember the Black Panthers and “Black is Beautiful”. Now African American seems the accepted term.

    —————-

    I would advise those who go to the US not to use the term “black devil” or “black demon” or worse. Especially if you are in cities like Compton, CA (where Venus and Serena grew up) or areas like Harlem in NYC, Watts in LA, CA, Chicago, IL’s South Side or East Oakland in Oakland, CA. Dissing African Americans in their neighborhoods could be dangerous to your health or result in a very shortened life. They do not take kindly to being dissed.

    —————-

    @FOARP #1

    I agree with FOARP in #1; black demon is denigrating. The word “denigrate’s” etymological root is the Latin denigrare, which means to blacken.

    —————-

    @DS #5

    I think feminism, B’nai Brith and the American Psychological Association
    had a lot to do with the PC movement, too.

    —————-

    @Xenu #12

    I suspect xenophobia or fear of strangers to play a role in Chinese “racism”. How much I don’t know. But let’s not make excuses. Does xenophobia = racism? If not equivalent, then I think they are closely related.

    —————-

    @S.K. Cheung #12

    Like FOARP says, more of the us versus them business again. As I’ve said before, prejudging an individual based on that individual’s race is racism. Saying that it’s due to a lack of refinement, education, multicultural exposure, whatever, may explain it, but shouldn’t excuse it. …

    After all, familiarity breeds contempt, and I would think, given the chance, Chinese are capable of all that Americans are, good and bad.

    Well said. Excuse-making is not desirable and, IMHO, a subtle denial of reality. Somehow, when I hear excuse-making, rationalization or justification, my mind drifts back to Himmler’s speech at Poznan about “good Jews”. Makes me shudder! Justification for racism makes my spine stiffen.

    We could have a similar chat about the KKK. The only thing that may not apply is exposure. Obviously, we know that the KKK was cruel, murderous and rabid. We just don’t know what reactions Chinese people would have when similarly exposed to blacks. And I do not wish to speculate.

    BTW, I have a friend from Kerala, India. His skin is darker than most American “blacks”. His features are distinctly Indian. But he suffers from discrimination and racism in the US. Hmmmm…

    —————-

    @Netizen K #15

    “This post is really not rigerous.” Perhaps. Nonetheless, I believe it is good to look at this subject and reflect on ourselves, both as a society and personal. Whether or not this is academically rigorous.

    BTW, I have an anecdote about a friend, T, who lives in the Bay Area, and is married to a woman from Hanoi, H. She is very educated, got her BA and MBA in Switzerland. T has a very successful internet business. T and H met in Hanoi, where H had a very successful real estate career. They have 3 girls; one 8 years and twins who are 3. T and I were chatting on Monday. T mentioned to me that H is a racist; he has called her on this. She makes hideous remarks about Cambodians, Chinese, Muslims and African Americans. She just makes her remark in Vietnamese. T is concerned that his daughters will be influenced and polluted by H’s racism and remarks. This may be anecdotal, but it is real. I am not applying this to all Vietnamese. I am just saying that T is faced with a serious issue which affects his family, both primary and extended.

    —————-

    @Xenu #12

    I believe that xenophobia is a component of racism. I don’t believe you can dissect the issue so finely.

    —————-

    @Allen #20

    Do you really believe that there is something intrinsic in democracies that help to heal ethnic wounds?

    If so – why hasn’t it done so in Malaysia, France, Italy, England, or even the U.S.? Why is a democratic Iraq so torn by sectarian violence?

    Well said.

    Democracy is a framework, a structure, if you will. Democracy can be strengthened or corrupted. It improves or it degenerates. It can be vigilantly promoted or can be taken for granted. Many of the original signers of our US constitution and their supporters had slaves. They did not believe in women’s rights or suffrage.

    —————-
    @Steve Rose #21

    “And the best part is, racism is never a problem in China.” I think your statement meretricious. Racism does not spontaneously create itself when you meet a foreigner or a stranger. It lurks in the psyche, in the depths of the irrational. I see elements of racism in strident strains of Chinese nationalism, just as I see it in strident strains of American nationalism. To me, hate is hate.

    —————-

    @TommyBahamas #29
    @Michelle #32

    “I am finding that there is this new faction finding 老外 (laowai) offensive.” Interesting comment, Tommy. The word foreigner, in and of itself, is not offensive to me. It is a statement of fact. It probably has some contextual use which could be offensive, but you can do the same contextually with some English words.

    “You people” can be used in a very condescending manner. I don’t necessarily think that is racist. But certainly designed to irritate.

    —————-

    @S.K. Cheung #30, 35, 36, 38
    @TommyBahamas #29, 37
    @JL #33

    Well said, SK (#30, 36) and JL (#33).

    “However, even if such a metric were devised, and you somehow concluded that nation x is less racist than nation y, I’d still be loathe to say that nation x should take much pride in such a finding.” That’s like somebody from New Jersey telling somebody from NYC, “Hey we have a rat problem in Jersey just like you do in NYC. But our rats are smaller than yours.” Wow, that’s an improvement.

    White is a color, but differs slightly. White is a combination of a set of complements, sets of such or all colors/wavelengths.

    Tommy (#37), there is no problem in calling Venus black, so long as that is what she prefers. “But I think, when using colour to define someone, it assumes that that individual is indeed best defined by such; and I’m not sure if that assumption is correct, in many cases.” I agree with SK. (#38). It is probably better to ask than assume. And take the highest road possible when in doubt.

  119. Allen Says:

    @Jerry,

    I have a question regarding Venus Williams in Hong Kong. Is it political, social or just plain racism.

    In HK, to my knowledge, there has never been the type of politically oppression carried out in the name of race as in the West – so I don’t think racist attitude in HK is political racism. Hope that clears things up…

  120. Jerry Says:

    @Allen, #119
    @jack

    Perhaps. But the remarks which you describe sound pretty hateful to me. Like I said in #118, “Hate is hate.” And that backs up jack’s statement in #115, “I think all forms of discrimination, racial,sex or religious ones, are equally vicious and devastating. In the name of the divine, people committed untold atrocities.” I would add classism, too.

    And why did HK pass an anti-racism bill in the last few months? I remember reading that in the SCMP when I was over there in July.

    I may be a little sensitive on this since I am Jewish. But, that’s me.

  121. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen and Jerry:
    “Hate is hate.” – exactly. To me, if the conversation doesn’t start there, may as well stop talking.

    “I don’t think racist attitude in HK is political racism” – and to me, that makes no difference. Whether the racism is political, satirical, jovial, rhetorical, fanatical, medicinal, medieval…I could come up with way more, but I think you catch my drift…the bottom line to me is that it’s deplorable, and should be repudiated as such. Then later, after it’s been sufficiently renounced, you can, as Jerry says, compare the size of rats.

  122. Allen Says:

    @Jerry,

    I may be a little sensitive on this since I am Jewish. But, that’s me.

    I understand. Given your historical perspective, you definitely have all right to be hyper sensitive. But that is also precisely my point. You understand the pain of political oppression in the name of race (class, gender, or whatever other classification you like). I am asking people to focus on avoiding all political oppressions – but at the same token to be not so hypersensitive where no oppression is there to be seen.

    Like I said in #118, “Hate is hate.”

    Of course. But what if I tell you that certain things you took as hate was not hate? What if your hypersensitivity get you to blindly take insult when none was intended?

    And why did HK pass an anti-racism bill in the last few months? I remember reading that in the SCMP when I was over there in July.

    If a society decides hypersensitivity leads to a more peaceful and harmonious society, please by all means do so.

    I understand many were going to misunderstand me when I started this post. Please see #80. I just want people to not be so blinded by their history to impute ill will when there is none. That’s all…

  123. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung #121
    @Allen #122

    #121,

    Precisely, SK. Thanks.

    The rat analogy is an actual story which happened to me at the Newark Airport. I was walking around the airport before a flight. I noticed little squirrels running in between the bushes. They weren’t squirrels. They were rats. So I went to the check-in counter to let them know that they had rats running around. They informed that they knew and it was ok. Rats in NYC are larger. This picture flashed in my cynical, Monte Pythonesque brain, “You guys are missing a market opportunity. You could have a big billboard sign on the freeway near Jersey City. The sign would say, ‘Come to Jersey. Our rats are smaller here.’” They laughed and shrugged their shoulders. ::chuckle::

    —————-

    #122

    Perhaps. But what concerned me more than “black demon” was “as well as another unprintable epithet”. Perhaps the “N” word? An “unprintable epithet” does not sound like a term of endearment to me. Maybe there is a subset of “unprintable epithets” which are actually friendly colloquialisms. ::Tongue in cheek:: If so, please let me know.

    I was not there. It just sounded hateful to me. Actually, I am not taking insult. Just notice. If I took insult at every slight, I would have little time for anything else. You will have to enlighten me as to the intent of the speakers in HK. For me, “the jury is still out”. All puns intended. :D

    Just curious. What do you think about the strident nationalism which occasionally arises in China and the US? Or the anti-Tibet protest in New Zealand (which RUMman has described in previous posts) by Chinese people in which some Chinese people got very violent?

    Regarding the HK anti-racism law and hypersensitivity, how would you characterize the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Hyper-sensitivity? Over-reaction? Now that may be an unfair comparison. And I really don’t know much about politics or racism in HK. But HK passed a law just because it was a slow day and it sounded like a good idea? Hmmm. … Anecdotally speaking, I know a woman, M, who is from HK, lives in HK and has an English “white” grandmother. She has experienced mistreatment at the hands of “pure” Chinese while in HK. Especially on the job by some colleagues and managers. And she does not seem to like the “pure” Chinese.

  124. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen:
    “But what if I tell you that certain things you took as hate was not hate?” – now you’re moving away from simply considering the sentiment, but also having to evaluate “intent”. So essentially, you’re saying that the sentiment is ok if the intent was not malicious. And that to me is a slippery slope. For a person’s intent can only truly be known by that person and the deity to which he speaks on bended knee (which to me is an 8 oz medium rare filet mignon, but I digress…sorry Jerry, are you sure you wanna be a vegetarian?)
    It’s like manslaughter and second degree murder (let’s leave out first degree, since adding premeditation would further complicate matters….like, did you exercise racism, do so intentionally, and with malice aforethought…).
    That being said, involving “intent” gives anyone a plausible degree of deniability. And that to me is just an out for excusing the sentiment. Which is why, to me, the focus is the sentiment. And also why said sentiment, even when dressed up in fancy clothes, is fundamentally objectionable.

  125. Allen Says:

    @SKC #124 – Regarding “intent,” let me indulge Jerry a bit. I was speaking to Jerry on his terms – and I believe if you read the whole of what I wrote, you will understand what I mean.

    @Jerry, if you prefer to be hypersensitive, please do not let me stop you. My primary focus – from the beginning – is to shift our focus from racist attitude (which like boundaries of free speech, can be defined very differently in different societies) to political oppression – objectively defined.

    As for the “N” word – I’ll leave that for the American people to decide. For now, I – living in America – will refrain from using it – since I myself am not black, and my using it will be misinterpreted. In the future, the society may tolerate or even welcome such a word. But whether I use the “N” word, or “African American” or “Black American,” I will always use it without hatred or any hint of political ideology.

    Finally regarding your question “how would you characterize the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Hyper-sensitivity? Over-reaction?” I am a little disappointed you asked. If you do take the time to read and understand my posts, you will understand that I believe the Civil Rights movement as well as the PC movement are proper responses to political oppression that had unfortunately taken place in the U.S….

  126. FOARP Says:

    @Steve – I believe the cartoon strip was “Charisma Man” from Japanzine, and it’s pretty damn funny, check it out here:

    http://timesonline.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/charisma_man_strip_1.jpg

    And here’s the post it came from:

    http://timesonline.typepad.com/times_tokyo_weblog/2006/12/watashi_wa_char.html

  127. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung #124

    Thanks, SK. You said it well. Yes, it is the slippery slope of “plausible deniability”.

    “… the deity to which he speaks on bended knee (which to me is an 8 oz medium rare filet mignon, but I digress…sorry Jerry, are you sure you wanna be a vegetarian?)“ ::LOL:: Ah yes, bovinomorphism (I just made that up); God as an 8 oz medium rare filet mignon. How meatatarian of you. :D Yes, it is tempting now that you mention it. Though, if we are to shape-shift God, I would prefer the Muppets to anthropologic or bovine forms. Much funnier and they make more sense to me. :)

    BTW, I am not a dyed-in-the-wool, rabid vegetarian. In Vietnam, I delight in 3 exceptions: pho bo, nuoc mam and muc. Pho bo is the best beef noodle soup in the world. Nuoc mam, as made by Vietnamese, is the best fish sauce in the world. Muc is squid; the Vietnamese know how to prepare muc like nobody else. No filet mignon. Sorry.

    That being said, involving “intent” gives anyone a plausible degree of deniability. And that to me is just an out for excusing the sentiment. Which is why, to me, the focus is the sentiment. And also why said sentiment, even when dressed up in fancy clothes, is fundamentally objectionable.

    Excuses and rationalizations have led to a lot of deaths and misery.

  128. Jerry Says:

    @Allen #125

    Allen, call me hypersensitive if that makes you happy. I have been called picky, insensitive, whatever.

    But you are honest.

    My primary focus – from the beginning – is to shift our focus from racist attitude (which like boundaries of free speech, can be defined very differently in different societies) to political oppression – objectively defined.

    To me, your use of the term, “hypersensitive”, seems rather peremptory and dismissive. You admit to wanting “to shift our focus from racist attitude … to political oppression – objectively defined.” How sanitary of you. Let us dispense with the root of political oppression, racism, hatred, fear and other psychic wounds, and let us just objectively define that which is political repression. Nice little box, all neatly wrapped. I just shake my head. To me it is so clear the path from racism, hatred, fear and other psychic wounds to political repression.

    I don’t believe that political oppression suddenly appears out of nothingness. There are underlying hatreds, fears and other psychic wounds which provide a fertile ground for its birth. They provide impetus, energy and motivation. Allen, do you think that somebody wakes up one day and says, “I think I am going to institute (Insert your favorite political oppression here). I don’t have anything better to do.” Do you think that somebody wakes up and says, completely out of the blue,

    “I am Pol Pot. I think I will kill 1.5 million Cambodians.” or
    “I am Adolph Hitler. I think I will kill 6 million Jews and other inferior parts of the German gene pool. Then we can be Übermensch, the Master Race.” or
    “I am a right-wing Hutu. I think I will kill 800,000 Tutsis and moderate (weak) Hutus.” or
    “I am Ferdinand II. I think I will start the Spanish Inquisition.” or
    “I am Joseph Stalin. I am going to wreak havoc on my enemies.” or
    “We are 6 middle-class, educated Confederate veterans from Tennessee. We are going to form the KKK. We are going to show those uppity N’s who is in charge, murder them, lynch them, burn down their houses and make their lives a living hell.” or
    “I am an American and “Manifest Destiny” is mine. I am going to wreak havoc on any Indian who gets in my way, no matter how many I kill or how many lives I ruin.” or
    “I am an Israeli. This is my country. I will wreak havoc on or kill any Arab or Palestinian who gets in my way. We will put them in ghettos and make their lives miserable”

    So you think that the attitudes, hatreds, fears, etc. which propel these and many other political oppressions came out of the middle of nowhere?

    “In the future, the society may tolerate or even welcome such a word. But whether I use the “N” word, or “African American” or “Black American,” I will always use it without hatred or any hint of political ideology.” How convenient. Another excuse to ignore hate speech. Sorry, I don’t buy it. One caveat: please don’t say the “N” word in East Oakland, Watts or Compton. They will shoot first and ask questions later. They assume intent, they assume malice. They will cut no slack.

    I told you that my comparison with the Civil Rights Act “may be an unfair comparison”. I was stretching to make a point.

    Final points. Do you ever wonder why the Germans are so opposed to Neo-Nazism? Speaking of the Civil Rights movement and one of its leaders, do you ever wonder why John Lewis is all over McCain’s butt about the hatred generated at recent McCain/Palin rallies? Ever wonder why Israel, Israel-Firsters and AIPAC crawl all over even the slightest whiff of anti-Semitism. Are they over-reacting? Could be? But they know the consequences of ignoring the signs. They have suffered greatly and they are going to “nip it in the bud”.

    You discuss what you want. I will discuss what I want. That seems to be the norm here, anyway, at FM. And we will agree to disagree.

  129. Oli Says:

    @Allen 125
    @Jerry 123

    China, HK and the rest of Asia has already voluntarily imported many aspects of Western culture, do we have to accept Western sensibilities towards racial political correctness too even if Chinese lack the equivalent of the White man’s burden and the historical experience in which that burden is rooted? Why do the Chinese people need to swallow that kind of guilty when they have nothing to be guilty of? A Ghanain friend told me once that when an Asian person insults him he is pretty sure its not always about his skin colour, but when a white man insults him he always has a nagging suspicion that it is about his skin colour.

    As for why the HK Legistlature passed the anti-discrimination act, who knows. Maybe its to forestall the seeping in of the Western idea of racial superiority along with all the other aspects of Western culture.

    As for your half HK Chinese friend M, people get into friction for all sort of reasons (hell, just look at me and FOARP), but especially on the job and race may not even come into it. However, if it was about race, maybe because it’s a holdout from the colonial days when many Eurasians being the illegitimate children of European traders and their local mistresses, thereby straddling both Chinese and European cultures and spoke both languages, held favourable positions in the European trading houses causing much resentment in both communities.

    Speaking from experience of having lived in HK for a few years and from having a HK grandmother, I know HK people to be a very cynical, realistic and rambunctious bunch of people, who are not easily given over to sentimentality and will only respect those who can dish it out as good as they receive, irrespective whether its a racist insult or not. Personally I think it has something to do with so many people being crammed into such a small place and the intense competition of the society there. While in HK I have seen plenty of scenes where HK Chinese and Indians or Pakistanis trade insults on the street including racist digs, often in fluent Cantonese on the non-Chinese side. Two days later I would see the same guys reading the newspaper and pointing stories out to each other.

    Now, RUMman’s paranoid posting about nationalist Chinese student protesting in New Zealand and other countries and his fear of Chinese students organising themselves in a foreign country really made me laugh. I kept wondering, how exactly are these students different from the violent protests of pass G8 summits or meetings of the WTO, environmentalist demonstrations or from European football hooligans causing havoc in another country. Is it because they are Chinese? Or is it because they are perceived as supporting a supposedly Communist/authoritarian government, when in fact they are supporting “China”?

    I also have to laugh about RUMman and FOARP’s fear of people organising themselves in a foreign country. People have been doing so all the time throughout history. From defeated Japanese nobles who escaped to Korea or China to regroup, to French nobles fleeing to England to plot against the French revolutionaries, to the days when Karl Marx was in London writing Das Kapital, when Russian Jews escape to China to organise their later escape to the West, to the Falun Gong in the US and the Dalai Lama in India. Sometimes such organisation are peaceful, sometimes they are not. Big deal. The only difference to me it seems is whether they fit into some individual’s Weltanshaung or not.

    In fact rather than to be feared, I think such demonstrations ought to be applauded and encouraged since these Chinese students are taking the first step towards an awareness of a civil society and the freedom of expression, irrespective of their cuase. Maybe today they are protesting for China or even for the Chinese government, but tomorrow they may equally protest against the same Chinese government, who knows. So as usual, it seems that people only want things on their own terms, well tough the world doesn’t always work out that way.

  130. Jerry Says:

    @chinayouren #43

    I have a friend, L, who is a Korean-American born in Seoul. Her husband, P, is Spanish. They live in Seattle, WA. L has spent a lot of time in Spain. L wrote a letter to a friend of mine, HY, who wants me to go to Spain with her. L wrote to HY that Spain is a very racist country, especially towards Asians. L and P both call Spain racist.

    I would advise no PC rules, just human decency and discussion, which is an evolving process. This applies to East and West and points in between.

    “Racism in China is more about politically incorrect attitudes than anything else.” I disagree. You can see my comments about racism in China in #118.

    —————-

    @GNZ #45

    “It seems to me being politically incorrect is a subset of racism.” I consider PC as a convenient cover. We have no chance to solve racism if we cover it up or hide it. We need to discuss and be open.

    So maybe you can say that I believe that PC is a lexicon of denial.

    —————-

    @Ted #46

    “I think “Social racism” and “political racism” are too tightly woven together to justify differentiation.” Hear, hear!

    —————-

    @Hongkonger #53

    “I didn’t know that yellow = timid”. Yes, timid people are called “yellow” or told that they have a “yellow stripe running down the middle of their back” in the US. It is meant derogatorily.

    ‘And to call native Americans, “Indians,”’. I actually know native Americans who prefer the term, “Indian”. What they and I don’t like are the sports team names, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins, etc. Stanford changed their name from Indians to Cardinal. Atlanta Braves actually have a modernized “war chant” and tomahawks used to rouse the crowd and team.

    —————-

    @GNZ #60

    Racism, or for that matter culture itself, is very definitely something that can be controlled via social engineering or via control of the language or the sort of reactions that are associated with PCness.

    Based on American history, I don’t think so. But I am going to give your wording some more thought.

    Basically, you can’t change a person’s heart by fiat, PC, or social engineering. You can encourage them, for sure. You can provide good examples. You can talk honestly about it. Encouragement, good examples, leadership and honest discussion are a good start. Persistence and patience pay.

    I wish that the above would work quickly. Unfortunately, it seems to take reflection and generations to accomplish. But they are a good start.

    “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

    —————-

    @S.K. Cheung #61

    Well, thanks for bringing up mulattos(one white, one black parent), Quadroons (1/4 black), Octoroons (1/8), Quintroons (1/16) and Hexadecaroons (1/32). What an amazing European and American concept. I was waiting to see when somebody was going to bring this up. You are the winner, SK. :D

    —————-

    @Stinky Tofu #64

    You have a point, CDF. Thanks for the info.

    —————-

    @RMBWhat #72

    Good points, RMB.

    —————-

    @FREAK #83

    Wow, that was educational. The world has racism. Lots of it. You bet. We all have prejudices, filters and biases. Not everyone is necessarily a racist. And PC is an attempt to cover up the uglier side of us.

    Eugenics, FREAK, hmmm… (Stop thinking like that, Jerry) :D

    FREAK, your post shows why we need open, honest, respectful discussions (I do not mean PC). Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. ::LOL::

  131. Steve Says:

    @FOARP #126: Thanks for those links. The cartoon I saw was a takeoff of this one, but set in China; with exactly the same storyline. Nothing like blatant plagiarism, I guess.

    I gotta send this link to my best friend in Japan; she’ll get a kick out of it. She had it the other way back in the 70s when she went to university in the States; she was the mysterious petite exotic oriental girl back then, and one of very few Japanese women to be educated over here. When she returned to Japan, she couldn’t tell anyone that she had lived in the States or they would have thought she was “contaminated” and somehow not pure Japanese. All the women who had studied in America keep in touch to this day, almost like an alumni club, regardless of where they studied. How times have changed…

  132. Allen Says:

    @Jerry #128,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    Yes – I agree with you that political movements usually do have to arise from social undercurrents. After all, Hitler could not have masterminded the holocaust without a long undercurrent of antisemitism in Europe.

    But consider another type of political movement such as nationalism. Nationalism, like any other political movements, must also arise from social undercurrents. Without a love of country shared by the people, political leaders cannot sweep up feelings of nationalism when the country is in danger.

    We all know however that people’s love of country have been abused by leaders in the past. Does that mean love of country is necessarily bad? I think not… (similar logic for religion…)

    Going back to racism (classism, sexism, whatever else you want), I just think it shallow to be PC. People will always have racial preferences because people will always form subgroups that they identify better with.

    Being PC is an aspect of Western culture evolved to deal with its political exploitation of peoples on account of race (or whatever else you want). It is probably a very good development. But please don’t impose what you consider a God-sent “rule” for a certain historical context onto another.

    I will agree with you that even given the above, China shouldn’t be blind to the history of the West – including its associated experience with political domination in the name of religion, race, class, etc. Being cognizant will only help China build a more stable and harmonious society.

    One more thing – I think besides political domination, another aspect of racism is respect. It’s possible that people who have never explicitly dominated each other in the past will nevertheless live in disharmony if certain of their attitudes toward each other is disrespectful.

    Respect is definitely something every people should cultivate – both at the individual level and at the social group level. My original post failed to address that aspect of social disharmony, for which I apologize…

    My purpose was to focus people on what is the core evils of racism away from the associated “fixes” (I sincerely don’t believe being PC will prevent future racial, class conflicts) that are alleged to fix those evils.

  133. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Oli #129:
    “In fact rather than to be feared, I think such demonstrations ought to be applauded and encouraged since these Chinese students are taking the first step towards an awareness of a civil society and the freedom of expression, irrespective of their cuase. Maybe today they are protesting for China or even for the Chinese government, but tomorrow they may equally protest against the same Chinese government, who knows. So as usual, it seems that people only want things on their own terms, well tough the world doesn’t always work out that way.” – well said. Completely agree that while you support the right to protest, you can’t cherry pick the content of such protests. So I say those would-be pro-China and pro-Tibet or pro-whatever protesters (and anti-whatever protesters for that matter) should protest away.

    “As for why the HK Legistlature passed the anti-discrimination act, who knows. Maybe its to forestall the seeping in of the Western idea of racial superiority along with all the other aspects of Western culture.” – to me, society passes laws to advocate something “good”, or to deter something “bad”, or to prevent the progression of something potentially bad that appears to be imminent. So either discrimination in HK already occurs, or is felt to likely occur in the imminent future. Either way, it seems HKers (and by extension Chinese) certainly have the capacity for such. Which is why I can’t comprehend any assertion to the contrary. Which is also why I said in #13: “given the chance, Chinese are capable of all that Americans are, good and bad.”

  134. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen #132:
    “My purpose was to focus people on what is the core evils of racism away from the associated “fixes” (I sincerely don’t believe being PC will prevent future racial, class conflicts) that are alleged to fix those evils.” – that’s easy. The core evil of racism is to judge someone by the colour of their skin, rather than by the content of their character (and hopefully that statement should need no reference). And PC was never a fix; PC is just the facade of people who have the moral weakness to harbour racist thoughts, but lack the stones to actually say it.
    So yes, of course it is shallow if you’re simply PC on the exterior, but racist within. And I don’t know what the solution for the core problem is; but I do know that denial won’t be part of said solution.

    “People will always have racial preferences because people will always form subgroups that they identify better with.” – that’s not racism. People have all manner of preferences. I like meat and Mars bars; Jerry, maybe not so much. And humans are social creatures; we fulfill our social needs in part by associating with peer groups. And peers share common traits…one such trait may be race. But you don’t hang out with someone of your race by assuming that he’s a nice guy; hopefully, you find out he’s a nice guy first, then choose to associate with him. Racism is choosing NOT to associate with someone based on their race alone. There’s a huge difference.

  135. Allen Says:

    @SKC #134,
    You said,

    The core evil of racism is to judge someone by the colour of their skin, rather than by the content of their character (and hopefully that statement should need no reference).

    Kind of running out of steam … but I will have to disagree (even though people will misinterpret what I mean).

    I disagree because of what you also wrote:

    “People will always have racial preferences because people will always form subgroups that they identify better with.” – that’s not racism. People have all manner of preferences.

    So – reading both your statements, I take it you have to agree with me: racially based preferences per se are ok (at least in theory). Problem occurs because we use the preferences as an excuse to oppress. So, according to my logic, we need to focus on the problems (oppression) – not the excuses (preferences)…

    P.S. If I don’t respond along this line again, it’s not because your comments are not worth my answering, it’s just that I’m running out of steam. And trust me, you and I really agree with each other in terms of how to be a good citizen in the West. You and I just disagree on how the norms of being good citizens here in the West translates to other parts of the world… ;-)

  136. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen:
    hey, you’re not disagreeing with me, you’re disagreeing with MLK :-) Better you than me on that one.

    “racially based preferences per se are ok (at least in theory)”- well, I didn’t say they’re necessarily ok, just that to me that’s not racism. But if IT is being used as an excuse to oppress, then IT, plus what it is purportedly excusing, are both problems. And if that doesn’t translate well in parts of the world, then to me, those parts of the world have some soul-searching to do.

  137. Allen Says:

    hey, you’re not disagreeing with me, you’re disagreeing with MLK :-) Better you than me on that one.

    I am going to go hide now. Don’t want to have rocks, or worse, hurling through my window soon…

  138. S.K. Cheung Says:

    LOL, that’s a good one.

  139. Hongkonger Says:

    @SKC,

    ” For a person’s intent can only truly be known by that person and the deity to which he speaks on bended knee (which to me is an 8 oz medium rare filet mignon, but I digress…sorry Jerry, are you sure you wanna be a vegetarian?)”

    SKC, so you speak / pray to your steak before you cut it up? My late Dad talked to his orchids. He theory was that the human breath and caring voice were good for the plants. As a matter of fact, my Dad talked to his fish and birds, too, not to mention our dog. But as for food, I think he only spoke to my mother about that. (Chuckle)

    @Jerry, I actually know native Americans who prefer the term, “Indian”

    Now, that is news to me. Thanks for letting me know.
    From what I’ve heard/read, it was deemed not kosher or un-PC to use the term ‘Red Indian / Injun,’ so they came up with Native American,which has always sounded to me a bit condescending, like they are still a primitive people. Of all people , they should be called Americans, period. Yet here we are, arguing if a black, white, yellow American should be or shouldn’t be addressed with their ethnic prefix. I’m sorry, this is what we call, “钻牛角尖, 鸡蛋里挑骨头, or in HK we would say in Cantonese: 正一法国大餐,多 ‘九’ 鱼”Maybe someone here can do a better job than me in translating these common chinese sayings.

    “One caveat: please don’t say the “N” word in East Oakland, Watts or Compton. They will shoot first and ask questions later. They assume intent, they assume malice. They will cut no slack.” LOL~Yeah, with the kind of expat arrogance in certain sectors of South East Asia, it is a surprise that not more of these snobs that Steve and FOARP mentioned didn’t have their asses kicked, and faces kung-fu’d in by the locals. Just kidding. But my American friend who got into a chicken and duck argument (neither understood each other) with a local cyclist who cut him off on his bike, at one point said in English, “You touch a white Laowei, you are going to jail.” I simply crinched and was glad the other guy had no idea what BS my friend was sprouting.

    I agree with Allen #135….most of us really agree … OH, and here’s more from a Canadian/American sibling working in HK:

    http://joycelau1.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!

    Is it politcal racism, I think not. Not since the elite ruling Brits left, anyway, and hence the anti-racist legislation. As to blatant in-your-face social racial discrimination, most unfortunately and sadly, I’d have to concede.

  140. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer:
    well, I don’t pray to my steak…I don’t pray to anyone or anything, for that matter. And the only religion I belief in is the “sleeping” religion…that might only make sense in Cantonese. But I might say to my grade A beef: sweet beejeezus, you’re good!

    Historically, I think referring to Aboriginals/First Nations/Native Americans as Indian was just geographical ignorance. Explorers set sail westward from Europe, and figured the first land they’d hit would be the Indian subcontinent. Little did they know that there was a whole other land mass out there. So when they hit land and saw people, they figured these must be Indians, when of course they were nowhere close. As an aside, never understood why people are called East Indians, since those are the true Indians, no ESWN about it.

  141. Oli Says:

    @Hongkonger

    Loosely translated:

    钻牛角尖 – Turning on the tip of a bull’s horn – How many angels can dance on a pin head

    鸡蛋里挑骨头 – Picking at bones in a chicken egg – Seeing things that aren’t there

    正一法国大餐 – One big fat nine course French meal – i.e. its always one thing after another (I like this one)

    多 ‘九’ 鱼 – Literally: One extra (nine – colloquialism for a piece?) fish – This must be a new one and I have no idea what it means

  142. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Oli:
    the last one, the “extra fish” i believe is the phrase for superfluous or unnecessary. The “nine”, I believe, is the gentile version of an, ahem, expletive (or at least a homonym for same).

  143. Hongkonger Says:

    @SKC,

    Oh yes, The “sleeping” religion, or a member of the First Sunday Bedist (Baptist).
    For those who may be confused, the phonetics of the second character for sleep 睡觉and for Religion宗教 is “Gao,” in Cantonese. Same sound different characters, though. So, for those who have no Zong-Gao (religion) believe in Fen-Gao (Sleep) In this case, with the play of word-sound / homonymn, becomes the Gao of Fen, or the religion of sleep or the sleeping religion.

    “East Indians, since those are the true Indians, no ESWN about it.”

    Yeah, isn’t that a relatively recent 多 ‘九’ 鱼 , term, as if the term American Indian is not enough to distinguish the original from the mistaken Indians.

    THANKS Oli, for the translations:法国大餐 多 ‘九’ 鱼. perhaps could also be understood as “Much Ado about nothing,” no?

    Yes, SKC #142, regarding 九 is correct. It is an expletive, (the complete character has the character door over it) i.e. the gentile version of wang, rod, pole, sword, lizard, snake or schlong in Yiddish…I am so so tempted to go on, but I think I’d better zip it up.

  144. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To HKer #143:
    ah yes, the “door”…very useful character in the Cantonese lexicon.
    In my younger days, the “seven” door, the “west” door, and the “able” door, as well as your “nine” door, were staples of my vocabulary, often used in conjunction with the infamous “small” door, of course. Thankfully, I’m older now, and have different enthusiasms.

  145. Hongkonger Says:

    SKC…LOL…. Ok, enough “doors” that shut in the faces of fellow earthlings. Let’s kick back and “feel’ the love from the souls of these two generations of GREAT crooners and heart-string pluckers…check it out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f816HjURyVc&feature=related

  146. Jerry Says:

    @Allen
    @S.K. Cheung
    @Hongkonger
    @Oli

    Allen, Oli, SK and HKer, thanks for the discussion. I think I will tune out for a bit. I am feeling lazy.

    SK, I have heard it said before, “Peace out.” To you I say, “Meat out. Mars out. Zay gezunt. Mazel tov. L’chaim.”

    SK and HKer (#142, 143, 144). Schlong, shvantz, putz, schmuck, schmek, schmekel. They all work. I will leave the gentile ones to you. God we have a lot of names. :D

    Allen, #132. Some of the most fascinating work on Hitler was done by Alice Miller, a famous Swiss psychoanalyst. In “For Your Own Good”, she has an amazing treatise on Adolf Hitler, and his cruel, paranoid father, Alois (who may have been Jewish). She takes on Jung and Freud, a Jew, in “Thou Shalt Not Be Aware”. Her treatises and books on child abuse are very thought-provoking, riveting and painful.

  147. TommyBahamas Says:

    Any comment on James Fallows’ observations?

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200811/chinese-progress

  148. Allen Says:

    I hope my conversation with SKC, Jerry that ended with phrases like “I am running out of steam” and “I am lazy” don’t turn people off. I think it’s important to vigorously articulate and discuss, but for the three of us at least, I think we have come to a point where we are really at a point looking across a chasm of different values, perspectives, fears, and hopes.

    It reminds of an evidence class I took in law school. Two cases stood out in my mind. One involved a homicide case where the victim was white and the perpetrator was black, another involved a rape case that arose from a “casual date.” Both cases were close, and the evidence involved contradictory assertions.

    It was amazing that see how sharply in the murder case, the class was divided along racial lines and how sharply in the rape case the class was divided along gender lines.

    This was a core law class in a top Ivy school: we were all applying alleged “strict” standards of evidential law…. I’m not talking about people running on emotions. Yet we were divided by our experiences, fears, and hopes…

    In that class, I learned how our fears, backgrounds, and outlooks can affect how we view evidence, by unconsciously assigning different burdens of proof for different statements and by using past anecdotal experiences to subconsciously weed and weigh the plausibility of various “factual” assertions.

    I am glad Jerry ended with suggestions for books about Hitler that he thought was good. I think in his own way, he has come to see the same of where we are.

    I think this is one thing great about FM. We can all vigorously discuss where we need, but where we really hit a wall, we but can still invite others into our world without demanding that the other must change.

    thanks Jerry….

  149. Steve Says:

    @Oli #141: Thanks for those translations and everyone else for the later clarifications. I love Chinese expressions!

    About the word “Indian”, in my experience I’ve found that the more pure an American Indian is, the less likely he’ll refer to him/herself as either an Indian or Native American. They will refer to themselves by their particular tribe, i.e. Cherokee, Jicarilla Apache, Kiowa, etc., and make fun of other tribes, especially ones that border their native lands. The less pure the Indian, the more likely to hear either Indian or Native American. In fact, Native American is more a political term since I’ve never heard normal Indians use it in regular conversation when referring to themselves. The only context I’ve heard is when they talk about “Native American religion”.

    Incidentally, there are huge differences between Indians in terms of appearance, culture, custom and language, especially when comparing eastern and western tribes.

  150. Oli Says:

    @HKer, SKC, Steve, Jerry – Always a pleasure.

    @SKC

    “the last one, the “extra fish” i believe is the phrase for superfluous or unnecessary. The “nine”, I believe, is the gentile version of an, ahem, expletive (or at least a homonym for same).”

    @HKer

    “Yes, SKC #142, regarding 九 is correct. It is an expletive, (the complete character has the character door over it) i.e. the gentile version of wang, rod, pole, sword, lizard, snake or schlong in Yiddish…I am so so tempted to go on, but I think I’d better zip it up.”

    Hmmm, either I am more innocent than I thought or I was keeping better company when I was in HK than I am now on this forum…. ;)

    I am learning something new everyday….

  151. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Oli:
    “I was keeping better company when I was in HK than I am now on this forum…. ;)” – I’m afraid so. You know what they say about the internet…you get all kinds. But I’ve reformed…honest….

  152. Hongkonger Says:

    Hey, How is talking about Wang Chun, the close-combat form of martial art, made famous by Bruce Lee, be less than ok? Or it be uncouth to expound on how once upon a time kings ruled with the rod of iron to keep ones flag on the pole over their conquered land? Certainly, to live & to die by the sword was an ancient noble profession worthy of discussion. Finally, the advise to be swift like a lizard and sly like a snake in the battlefields of life is in no way shallow talk, is it? ;-)
    As for schlong, that’s just Yiddish for “so long, till we meet again,” I believe.;-)

  153. JXie Says:

    On a slightly tangential note, I’ve been legitimately wondering: if Barack Obama were to be elected, would the US be the first major power to have elected/selected a leader who could claim primary identity with a group which had been oppressed/enslaved/colonized by that same government or nation?

    No, it wouldn’t. I can’t believe as a historian you even asked that question. Septimius Severus, the Roman Emperor around 200AD was an African. There were many minority 宰相 in Tang, most of whom were 鲜卑人. One of the two 受命辅政, after Hanwu Emperor died, was 金日蝉, who was a Hun prince.

  154. davesgonechina Says:

    I think of it this way:

    Racism asserts one races superiority over another, and that biological “race” determines abilities and characteristics. Like the guy who said Obama couldn’t be a good president cuz black people can’t run Africa. He’s suggesting that other races do better at running a country, and that blackness imbues both Obama and all Africans with inferior governing skills.

    By this definition, I wouldn’t say there’s a huge amount of racism in China, except in my experience when it comes to Uighurs. And that isn’t just one way either.

    Racial discrimination is whenever you treat one person differently from another in any regard simply because of their race. In China, I’d say there are many occasions I’ve seen when white people got positive discrimination and black people got negative discrimination. Oh yeah, yellow people sometimes don’t get treated as well as white people either.

    Racial discrimination is something that is all over China, and frankly the world. But discrimination in general is common in China for all manner of attributes: physical appearance, age, gender, province of origin, Mainlander, Taiwanese, Hongker, etc. etc. I think the lack of political correctness here is partly due to a lack of enforced laws against such behavior. In the U.S. people don’t mention age, gender or ethnicity on their resumes, and an employer can be sued vigorously for hiring and firing on those criteria. The U.S. government has enacted laws to try and place John Rawls “Veil of Ignorance” over such practices and evaluate ability without regard to these characteristics. The Chinese government, and its officials, continue those practices themselves.

    Everyday in my neighborhood, there’s always some teenagers who stare as I walk past, elbowing each other to check out the “laowai”. Now “laowai” is not a derogatory term here, and these are just some ignorant kids who find my different appearance compelling. It’s not racism. But it is discrimination. I am made into the Other. No matter how many years I live here or become part of my local community, it is a little painful every time it happens because it makes me feel I don’t belong. But I know I’m not the only one. I know that people from neighboring provinces and even neighboring cities often get “othered” too – I happen to live in a fairly parochial town.

    @Jeremiah: “On a slightly tangential note, I’ve been legitimately wondering: if Barack Obama were to be elected, would the US be the first major power to have elected/selected a leader who could claim primary identity with a group which had been oppressed/enslaved/colonized by that same government or nation? That is to say: Are we likely to soon see a Chinese prime minister in Malaysia, etc. etc.”

    Evo Morales of Bolivia, he’s of indigeneous descent (Aymara).

  155. DOR Says:

    “the term 黑鬼 appears to have been incorporated into daily language and currently carries no derogatory connotation.”

    Whether or not a term is offensive is not for the one uttering the phrase to decide, but for the one hearing it.

    .

    “People should note that the basis of Chineseness as a political entity in the modern era (since the beginning of the Republic (and later the People’s Republic)) has always been based on a multicultural identity.”

    Multicultural identity? Time to get back to school, sir.

    .

    Your view of racism in Asia is far too apologetic.
    “Racism as an ideology” ? Get real.
    Asians are very racist.

    .

  156. GNZ Says:

    Jerry,
    I think your position on PC is a result of you being PC. Its rather PC American style to see this as just tens of millions of people each making personal choices, but it doesn’t make much logical sense.
    People’s beliefs are a complex sum of their experiences – if you are smart enough you can definitely tweak that environment so as to control their beliefs. Whether you SHOULD do that (or whether you have the skills to do it in a particular situation) is another question.

    I’d say that PC has been hugely sucessful in regard to racism and without it places like Thailand would still have slavery (I use that example because it was more or less stated as the reason for giving up slavery) and quite probably everywhere else.

    “If you can’t make the horse drink it means you aren’t a very good horse trainer.”

  157. GNZ Says:

    Jeremiah,
    depends on what one means by a major power – but Kocheril Raman Narayanan of India?
    I think you’d need a pretty tight definition to accuse the US of being the first to do pretty much anything progressive.

  158. Jerry Says:

    @GNZ #156

    I think your position on PC is a result of you being PC. Its rather PC American style to see this as just tens of millions of people each making personal choices, but it doesn’t make much logical sense.

    My, how presumptive! But it is a typical response. I comment on PC and PiC and you say I am being PC. So banal. So easy to dismiss. “Logical sense” to whom?

    No way am I for slavery or oppression. Wherever. I will speak out against slavery and oppression, not because of the need to be PC, but because I am against slavery and oppression. I will support laws which make it illegal; that is not PC. That is a realization that hatred is a slippery slope. We must nip it in the bud wherever we find it, before it gets directed at me and my family. Call me a pragmatist. Perhaps we are operating under different interpretations/definitions of PC.

    I think that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a great step forward. But, in and of itself, it did not solve the problem of racism. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was a great step forward. Again, it did not solve the problem of racism. In fact, neither ended slavery. It just changed the paradigm. Physical slavery, as defined in the pre-bellum South, is virtually non-existent in the US. Nonetheless, poverty and near-poverty currently abound in the African-American and Hispanic communities. Poverty is economic slavery, economic oppression. Slavery and oppression are many-headed hydras.

    I’d say that PC has been hugely sucessful in regard to racism and without it places like Thailand would still have slavery (I use that example because it was more or less stated as the reason for giving up slavery) and quite probably everywhere else.

    If there is poverty in Thailand, which there is, then there exists economic slavery and economic oppression. IMHO, Thailand seems hardly the land of peace and bliss. How do you define hugely? How do you define PC in this instance? Or are we talking about propaganda here?

    What I fear is that people assume that you can talk about the problem, pass a law(s), insist that people not use racist/pro-slavery/oppressive/whatever speech and the problem magically disappears. The pro-active measures are just the start. Vigilance and open, honest discussion are needed to get rid of the vestiges of slavery, racism and oppression. Vigilance and open, honest discussion for generations.

    In my own experience, anti-semitism still exists despite all the efforts by many to make it a thing of the past. My people are ever-vigilant. That is one reason why we have not returned to the days of the past in which we suffered much. Think bigotry is over? Look at McCain/Palin rallies. Think Nazism is over despite many valiant efforts, both by the German government and the German people? Neo-Nazism lives in Deutschland. Andreas Carl Strassmeir, a German neo-Nazi, was one of the co-conspirators (at Elohim City in Oklahoma) who helped Timothy McVeigh blow up the Murrah Federal Building in OKC. 168 people died. Strassmeir, who is a German citizen, is the son of Guenter Strassmeir, Chief of Staff to former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

    Some thoughts about “People’s beliefs are a complex sum of their experiences – if you are smart enough you can definitely tweak that environment so as to control their beliefs.” Good luck. What happens when you relent on tweaking/controlling the environment? Does it require perpetual vigilance? How do you know that you have changed/controlled their beliefs, or do they merely parrot what you want them to say? Or is this “control” of which you speak just one giant, fairy-tale like illusion? And I still see PC as a cover. It may be necessary as a temporary, allopathic remedy/mitigation. But it will not solve the problem in the long-term.

    “If you can’t make the horse drink it means you aren’t a very good horse trainer.” Good luck with some of the horses I have encountered. :) And I thought I was a control freak.

  159. Allen Says:

    @Jerry,

    Nonetheless, poverty and near-poverty currently abound in the African-American and Hispanic communities. Poverty is economic slavery, economic oppression. Slavery and oppression are many-headed hydras.

    I would say economic slavery and oppression is color blind. Many people of many races around the world suffer under it. I understand where you are coming from (economic slavery and oppression in the U.S. as vestige of formal slavery, people of race correlate with lower incomes, etc.), but I personally rather we tackle the enormous challenges of modern economic slavery and oppression without bringing “race” explicitly into the picture…

  160. GNZ Says:

    I think PC and propaganda are charged terms – but that we don’t get anywhere by arguing that a certain thing is actually a less charged term like ‘persuasion’ or ‘ideological progress’ – that is just simple word games. So if the definition is “propaganda is bad persuasion” you have a definition that is shared in theory but probably not shared on many actual examples and so any debate on that basis will probably not make any progress.

    As to the definition
    “That is a realization that hatred is a slippery slope. We must nip it in the bud wherever we find it”

    To me this is the definition of PC – PC is all about seeing certain behaviors as slippery slopes and thus trying to nip them in the bud. just like how we might instinctively jump on a Chinese person who refers to a tennis player as a black devil even if there is no immediate harm.

    ” Poverty is economic slavery, economic oppression.”

    this is a different topic – but the problem is equal distribution of wealth is an unstable state and needs a lot of propping up. The question is whether you are willing to pay the price for the results that you want.

    “What I fear is that people assume that you can talk about the problem, pass a law(s), insist that people not use racist/pro-slavery/oppressive/whatever speech and the problem magically disappears.”

    there is actually evidence that this occurs. can’t remember the exact study but there is a degree to which people consider a position legitimate because society has formally made it legitimate in law – the study asked the same question before and after a law was passed.

    “Vigilance and open, honest discussion are needed to get rid of the vestiges of slavery, racism and oppression.”

    I’m not saying this is true, but what if the result of open honest discussion IS racism or oppression? open debate cannot always result in the best social outcomes – that would just be a amazing coincidence. After-all if you remove government entirely you end up with situations like Somalia.

    “What happens when you relent on tweaking/controlling the environment?”

    the community is already on the path you sent it towards – unless that path is an unstable one. For example with Mohammad spreading Islam, he made some rules, spread them with whatever means he had available and now a billion odd people still follow those rules after more than 1000 years – that was a stable path.

    “Good luck with some of the horses I have encountered.”

    Well, as it happens, I’m not a great horse trainer….

    as to being control freak, there is a difference between can and should. Maybe your horse doesn’t need water, or maybe he does.

  161. Steve Says:

    There have been many very interesting, thought provoking comments on this thread so far. I’m content to read and think about what I’ve read, and don’t have a comment per se. However, can I make a suggestion? Would it be possible to stay away from the expression “economic slavery”? I ask this for two reasons.

    1) There are still actual slaves in this world, people whose lives are bought and sold as chattel. I’d rather keep the strongest meaning of the word alive so people don’t forget about their plight. Most of today’s slaves are women and children, and much of it is for the purpose of sex. The people who are involved with slavery don’t care about human rights, they only care about how much money or control they have with whom they buy or sell. This is just one of many sites that are concerned with this issue: http://www.iabolish.org/slavery_today/primer/index.html

    2) The African Americans I know would strongly object to comparing someone whose economic circumstance isn’t very good and who is being exploited, with their cultural experience of being bought and sold without their consent, beaten for any reason by their master, worked in the fields seven days a week without pay, women used sexually by their owners, and who could be murdered without penalty. They enjoyed no human rights and were considered subhuman.

    There are other words that can be used. If it is racial or ethnic, we can say “apartheid” or “racism”, if it is abuse of the poor, we can use “economic oppression” or “exploitation”. “Vestiges of slavery” is a good term, but only as it applies to people of today whose ancestors were actually enslaved.

    This might sound like I’m being PC, but in a way I think it might be the opposite of PC. It’s abhorrent that there are still real slaves anywhere in this world, so I’d prefer to keep a bright light shining on that issue and not dilute it in any way. Thanks!

  162. bobby Says:

    To even imply that the Chinese are not racist but rather politically incorrect is quite laughable.

    I’m currently teaching in Guilin and will supply examples from only yesterday. In class, playing an admittedly lame debating game about ‘which celebrity should we throw from a sinking boat’, I suggested Yao Ming because of the weight of such a man. Students howled their protest because he was ‘a Chinese’ (with no hint of humour) and nearly all agreed that foreigners should be first to go.

    In the evening I went for dinner with some colleagues, and we passed a Xinjiang man selling kebabs on the street. I commented they were usually delicious and one teacher warned ‘you should not buy from or associate with such people’. At dinner there was a conversation about where people would most like to visit…with the usual ‘I would never go to Japan, they are all too evil’ line.

    I walked home with a teacher who I had considered to be the most open-minded. His drunken conversation was peppered with the following:

    - Korean people were low and their country could and should be colonized by China.
    - Braveheart was his favourite film because it taught you to stand up and be strong and invade your enemies (eh?! this was related to his Korea opinions)
    - All Americans are bastards (this one was random)
    - All southern people are uncultured (he is a northerner) because their ancestors were not nurtured by the great Yellow River.
    - Southern people always ‘go dutch’ which is proof of the above.
    - Tibetans are no better than animals.

    All of this man’s rant was spoken with malice. I don’t mean the above to be a fair sampling of Chinese people…but this was all in one day (though admittedly a bad one). Some of the views expressed are of course worse than others, but the combined effect left me exasperated, and upon returning home I discoverd this post which has surely worsened my condition.

    To commenters above that blame ignorance and education, these views are all expressed by either university students or their teachers.

    Maybe the situation is far better on the East Coast.

    I completely agree with Mr Cheung, if you want to find a better label for what this is Allen…I suggest Chinese Racism. Yes it differs from that in the West, but it is surely equally as repellant.

  163. Allen Says:

    @bobby #162,

    I completely agree with Mr Cheung, if you want to find a better label for what this is Allen…I suggest Chinese Racism. Yes it differs from that in the West, but it is surely equally as repellant.

    I agree with you to the extent that we should judge “Chinese racism” as a distinct phenomenon – distinct and separate from the historical and political context associated with race in the West.

    As for Chinese racism being equally repellent – you are definitely entitled to that opinion. Even I cringe as I read through your post above. My thoughts were: do they really believe what they say, do they know how they are seen by foreigners, do they know they could be causing social disharmony, etc., etc.

    But I don’t find it equally repellent because I don’t find the pain caused by slavery, genocide, colonialism, etc. (carried out by the West in the last few centuries in the name of race) is comparable to what is going on in China today.

    In the end, we may really agree on the bottom line. While “Chinese racism” have not arisen from the same violent and oppressive political and historical context as in the West, China ought to leverage off the experience of the West to become more sophisticated, more tolerant, more open minded than she is today (this will inevitably happen).

    Given our radically different history, I think it would be more helpful (and accurate) for Westerners to talk to Chinese about “Chinese racism” in terms of respect and achieving social harmony – and less in rhetoric shaped by past colonialists, slave owners, or perhaps even Hitler…

  164. Nobody Says:

    bobby,

    So sorry you have to put up with the above mentioned repellant “Chinese Racism.”

    If the teacher whom you considered to be the most open-minded to be spewing all those rancid garbage from his mouth, I think perhaps it is time for you to run.

    As for ” these views are all expressed by either university students or their teachers,” I am sure you will also agree, at the same time, with this declaration made by someone who was a known intellectual,” I was born intelligent, but education ruined me.”

    This “All southern people are uncultured, ” business, as you know, was in fact a common Confuscian belief at the time when traders were considered to be among the lowest of the social classes. Our ancestors may not have been “nurtured by the great Yellow River,” but we’ve traversed the South China sea, even the Pacific Ocean, and are now better acclimatized to the present international weather conditions.

  165. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Been hanging out and just reading comments for a bit…got a little tired of seeing my own name. But Allen, (“But I don’t find it equally repellent because I don’t find the pain caused by slavery, genocide, colonialism…”) really? Is the historical pain you describe really a prerequisite for finding “racism” of any cultural source to be repugnant? To me, the historical baggage may convey a unique aroma, but while it might add spice, it does not fundamentally alter nor improve the repulsive taste of the underlying concept. So while Chinese racism might be different from western racism, it’s still racism. And racism tastes gross, whether you just yanked it out of the East River (ie NYC), or the Yellow one(y’all know where that one is).

    “In the end, we may really agree on the bottom line…China ought to leverage off the experience of the West to become more sophisticated, more tolerant, more open minded than she is today (this will inevitably happen).” – that I can agree with, and as for the brackets, let’s hope so (in the same way that I tell my accountant about the markets, for which I’m also hopeful)

  166. TommyBahamas Says:

    Hollywood is great with caricaturizing cultural quirks. I dunno when this National Lampoon and spoof genre begun, but I love them: Airplane, Load Weapon, Naked gun, Scary movie series et al. Adam Sandler’s most recent “Zohan,” is so funny too. Sandler is Jewish isn’t he? Is that how he is safe from anti-Semitic implications ? This is a genuine question.

    I wonder if such movie genre exists in Chinese culture?

    There must be. There was this very popular book entitled “The ugly chinese people,” by a Chinese author. I know a lot of the time, many of the Chinese people I know, including my own Chinese clan are naturally self critical. But why is it that Chinese people today are seen by foreigners as either suffering from inferiorty complex or at the other extreme, inflicted with yellow supremism?

    I am really scratching my head here. I mean I meet and relate to people on a personal level, one to one, White , black, yellow, it is all fine. I look around, white , black, yellow get along with each other fine. But bring in politics, nationality, ideology, and suddenly, colors and nationalities suddenly becomes volatile issues. Something is very wrong with the picture or more like the pictures – Perhaps one is genuine and the other is a very bad copy. Are we arguing and fighting over the artistic value of the fake copy here? Is there even any artistic value to speak of – i.e. of the fake copy at all?

  167. Wukailong Says:

    @TommyBahamas: “I know a lot of the time, many of the Chinese people I know, including my own Chinese clan are naturally self critical. But why is it that Chinese people today are seen by foreigners as either suffering from inferiorty complex or at the other extreme, inflicted with yellow supremism?”

    Well, Heidegger said somewhere that alienation is in fact not a feeling of being separated from oneself, but rather excessive self-interest. I’m not saying Chinese suffer from that more than anyone else, just that there is a political discourse in modern China that is too full of itself, and shows itself both as inferiority complex and supremacism. ;)

    As for the seemingly perennial question whether Chinese racism is less repugnant than the Western variety because of historical roots, I think the questions is not unwarranted, but there are at least two points:

    * I read a UN report (I think it was) about racism in Japan, and it said that while Japanese racism is different in that it is not built on hate as much as exclusion, it is racism and people are affected negatively by it. It also spoke about the need to focus on all countries.

    * Racism as a problem will be more seriously dealt with when there is a national discourse that does so. Right now the question is not on the Chinese radar, and I think some racial slurs that would cause more of a stir in the West could just pass in China. So I think there is something to the idea that Chinese are just not politically correct, but that’s also because there is very little interest in the question, and that might be a problem.

  168. GNZ Says:

    @Allen,
    “become more sophisticated, more tolerant, more open minded than she is today (this will inevitably happen)”

    Why?

    Personally I expect that won’t happen (depending on what you mean by those terms, of course). I can however see why the opposite might occur. For example:
    * Chinese success as an economy will reinforce a favorable self image and a unfavorable image of those who are less sucessful.
    * China will come out of the shadow of countries that place a lot of pressure on them to talk PC talk.
    * Knee jerk opposition to competing ideals shaped by increasing friction between jostling superpowers (note for example the anti communist movement in the US in relation to the USSR) and very little internal opposition to the alternative.

  169. Jeffy Lew Says:

    You know, what pisses me off is the idea of some sellout Chinese bitch who married a white man lecturing real, actual, Chinese people on racism. Where does she get off? If I was at the stand, I would tell her to shut her trap and keep her white-worshiping BS out of my country. That bitch thinks that just because she married a white man, she is holier-than-thou and has the right to lecture the “ignorant, racist Chinese” in their own country.

    “Politically Correct” is a white man’s term used to assuage guilt over slavery. Why should Chinese people bear the same guilt over black slavery?

    Bottom line: The Chinese can be racist if they want. We can hate blacks if we want. We can hate whites if we want. Don’t like it? Too bad. Go back to America and [expletives removed by Allen] and patting yourself on the back for being oh so open minded.

  170. Allen Says:

    @168 GNZ,

    @Allen,
    “become more sophisticated, more tolerant, more open minded than she is today (this will inevitably happen)”

    Why?

    Personally I expect that won’t happen

    I personally think it will happen as a part of the natural process of China further opening up to the world … and accepting of world culture – including (in China’s own terms) Western sensibilities…

  171. FOARP Says:

    @Admin – Can’t you do something about the foul language in #169?

  172. Allen Says:

    @FOARP #171, the worst of the expletives has been removed.

  173. GNZ Says:

    Allen,
    The thing is I think it isn’t the “world culture” – it’s a specific culture and that has no special claim to the world any more than the knee-jerk dislike of government in America and by human rights organizations or the libertarian capitalism meme the rights based approach or any of those other ideals are fundamental.

    Jeffy’s position is an example of how people may respond to this sort of situation.

    I try to remind people that so that we might actually have the debate on this sort of thing as opposed to just assuming it will sort itself out naturaly because there is some sort of correlation between all things good and development. I am aware that this is a little on dangerous ground in that that argument may promote friction between idealists of the current “world culture” and other communities.

  174. FOARP Says:

    @Allen – Cheers. Glad to see FM is still keeping up its standards.

  175. angelachan22 Says:

    洋鬼子 (western demons) and 鬼佬 (foreign devils)? not really true. if you know Chinese, should now 鬼 not necessary means demons or devil. we called young soldiers 小鬼 in Eighth Route Army, it doesn’t mean ‘young devils), In contrary, it’s affectionate calling. 洋鬼子 (western demons) and 鬼佬 (foreign devils) are two neutral words in Chinese, demon and devil are obviously have derogatory meaning in English:)

  176. Li Qiang Says:

    Are there too much differences between racism and political incorrectiveness?

    The former is more honest, the latter is a sham.

    What I can see in the the West is just the hidden racism under the skin of political incorrectiness.

    I reject both.

  177. Jerry Says:

    @Jeffy Lew #169
    @Allen
    @GNZ #173

    Jeffy, Jeffy, Jeffy. Thank you for providing us with an excellent example of one Chinese person’s (I would presume) hatred and rabid vitriol. Thanks for graciously dumping this in our lap. BTW, I am the last one who would ask you to be PC. I want to know my enemy and the source of potential problems. PC would hide from me the fact that you are my enemy; although I think I could sense/smell it from a mile away. Thanks for confirming your status; I appreciate your honesty. It is just that I feel so sorry for you because your bitterness, hatred and rancor are toxic and will eat you alive. And if that is your choice, so be it. Enjoy your misery and wallowing.

    —————-

    GNZ and Allen, this is an example of why most Jews are pragmatists, not PCers. This kind of diatribe is not pleasant and is reminiscent of previous hatred to which we have been subjected. Nonetheless, we would rather know that it is so, than bliss out in some ignorant fashion. Straightforward and direct is our style. As I said earlier in #130, “PC is a lexicon of denial”. We know that if we let this spin out of control by ignoring it or being unaware, perilous consequences can follow. PC is an impediment to awareness. I don’t want to surpress the facts and reality; I want to know them.

    In a similar vein, the run-up to the Olympics provided me with a view of some rabid, unthinking, Chinese nationalism. There was an element of blind hatred which concerns me, but does not surprise me. While blind nationalism is hardly the sole property of some Chinese, we are talking now about the Chinese. I noted the youth of most of the rabid protestors. Poisoned young minds and hearts are not a good portent/omen for the future; let’s hope it is just temporary, youthful indiscretion and stupidity. Awareness of hatred is key. It is a situation which bears watching.

    —————-

    #173

    I try to remind people that so that we might actually have the debate on this sort of thing as opposed to just assuming it will sort itself out naturally because there is some sort of correlation between all things good and development. I am aware that this is a little on dangerous ground in that that argument may promote friction between idealists of the current “world culture” and other communities.

    Good idea, GNZ. Let’s debate. Don’t worry about the ideologues and rubbing them the wrong way. To me the ideologues are the enemy of a better future; to ideologues (idiot-logues :D), ideology and their dogma are more important than the people involved. Ideologues, generally, are close-minded and anachronistic; they are stuck. We can deal with them. Fie on them.

    —————-

    Jeffy, again thanks for your honesty. Nonetheless, I might warn you with an old aphorism, “It is better to have people think you a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it to everyone.” But, then again, this is Fool’s Mountain. :D

  178. Jerry Says:

    @Allen, #159
    @GNZ #160
    @Steve #161

    #159

    “I would say economic slavery and oppression is color blind.” Of course it is. I was just following through on and citing the example of African-Americans (to which I added Hispanics); they are just examples. If you will note in #158, I also discussed Thailand. I oppose slavery, hatred and oppression wherever. Including China and the US.

    —————-

    #160

    “That is a realization that hatred is a slippery slope. We must nip it in the bud wherever we find it.” Perhaps I should have been more explanatory. Awareness of hatred is key. Sometimes you take action, sometimes you don’t. But never ignore it. It just bears watching. Awareness itself sometimes nips it in the bud. PC and over-reaction merely mask hatred.

    I’m not saying this is true, but what if the result of open honest discussion IS racism or oppression? open debate cannot always result in the best social outcomes – that would just be a amazing coincidence. After-all if you remove government entirely you end up with situations like Somalia.

    My comment was taken out of context. Life requires a whole bag of “tricks”. Open, honest discussion, patience, awareness, vigilance, laws, sometimes military force, intervention, allopathic remedies, etc. are all part of the game. Just remember that laws and PC speech can mask hatred and racism. It has in the US.

    there is actually evidence that this occurs. can’t remember the exact study but there is a degree to which people consider a position legitimate because society has formally made it legitimate in law – the study asked the same question before and after a law was passed.

    Citations please. What and where are we talking about? What percentage of society goes along with the spirit of the law? How do they determine this percentage? Otherwise, this is just your opinion. Please state it as such. And opinions are ok. “the study asked the same question before and after a law was passed.” To me this sounds like a poll. Do people always state what they truly feel? I don’t think so. I would be inclined to say “not very often at all”, unless talking with people they trust.

    the community is already on the path you sent it towards – unless that path is an unstable one. For example with Mohammad spreading Islam, he made some rules, spread them with whatever means he had available and now a billion odd people still follow those rules after more than 1000 years – that was a stable path.

    DISCLAIMER: I am friends with numerous Muslims. I respect Islam.

    You prove my point about vigilance. All paths, ideas, good words can be corrupted. Numerous Muslims have suffered hatred, oppression, slavery and poverty (yes, even by the hands of Jews in Israel and the US). This is fertile ground for those who wish to strike back at their oppressors. You might call these people terrorists; I think the term pejorative and emotionally charged. Groups like Al-Qaida, and groups in Sri Lanka, USA, Thailand, the Middle East, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Iran, etc. misuse and corrupt the Koran for their own spiteful, hateful purposes. They use Mohammed and the Koran as cudgels to strike back.

    My Muslim friends are so appalled and disgusted at their own people killing others, using Islam as a shield. My Iranian/Persian friends think that Ahmadenijad is often a nut case. But we also know that the American media mischaracterizes and mistranslates him. Life is complex.

    —————-

    #161

    There are still actual slaves in this world, people whose lives are bought and sold as chattel. I’d rather keep the strongest meaning of the word alive so people don’t forget about their plight.

    Steve, I call it as I see it. I am not trying to co-opt the word “slavery”. I am not minimizing physical slavery. Physical slavery still exists in the US. It is just not as pervasive. My point is that just because you handle physical slavery, vestiges remain. Again, I call it as I see it.

    The African Americans I know would strongly object to comparing someone whose economic circumstance isn’t very good and who is being exploited, with their cultural experience of being bought and sold without their consent, beaten for any reason by their master, worked in the fields seven days a week without pay, women used sexually by their owners, and who could be murdered without penalty. They enjoyed no human rights and were considered subhuman.

    Well, with the African Americans I know, I would have to say, “Au contraire, monsieur.” We freely concur that the job is not done yet. We are thrilled that physical slavery is nearly a thing of the past in the US.

    There are other words that can be used. If it is racial or ethnic, we can say “apartheid” or “racism”, if it is abuse of the poor, we can use “economic oppression” or “exploitation”. “Vestiges of slavery” is a good term, but only as it applies to people of today whose ancestors were actually enslaved.

    Feel free to use whatever terms you wish.

    This might sound like I’m being PC, but in a way I think it might be the opposite of PC. It’s abhorrent that there are still real slaves anywhere in this world, so I’d prefer to keep a bright light shining on that issue and not dilute it in any way. Thanks!

    Steve, I respectfully disagree. I do not believe that the term “economic slavery” dilutes the term “slavery”. In fact, the term adds a dimension to “slavery” and provides a cautionary tale. Thanks.

  179. Jerry Says:

    @Li Qiang, #176

    “What I can see in the the West is just the hidden racism under the skin of political incorrectiness.”

    Several comments.

    It is not good to generalize too much. I love Bill Maher and his shows, “Politically Incorrect” and “Real Time with Bill Maher”. He is amazingly PiC. I don’t think he is a racist. Then there is Mel Brooks, whose movies (among others), “The Producers” and “Blazing Saddles” are amazing examples of political incorrect, Jewish schtick. I love those movies. And Mel is not racist. Both of them are Jewish. In fact, both of them use their PiC humor to expose the insanity of stereotypes, hatred and racism. I mean, come on, Zero Mostel producing a play, “Springtime for Hitler” and Cleavon Little as the African American sheriff of Ridge Rock.

    To give you an idea about Mel Brooks, I quote from Roger Ebert’s 1974 review of Blazing Saddles:

    There are some people who can literally get away with anything — say anything, do anything — and people will let them. Other people attempt a mildly dirty joke and bring total silence down on a party. Mel Brooks is not only a member of the first group, he is its lifetime president. At its best, his comedy operates in areas so far removed from taste that (to coin his own expression) it rises below vulgarity.

    Enough said about Bill and Mel. Zie ga zink, haimisher mensches! :) :D LMAO

    And, let’s not leave China out of this discussion. What I see in those who display rabid Chinese nationalism and “Chinese superiority” are evidence and signs of hatred. I also see feelings of inferiority and probably self-hatred.

  180. Steve Says:

    Jerry~ hey.. no problem. That’s why I asked it as a question, and your explanation works for me.

    Blazing Saddles is on my list of top 5 movies of all time. I remember watching an interview once with Carl Reiner on Dick Cavett’s old talk show. Cavett was talking about Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows and the list of writers he had; guys like Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, and of course Carl Reiner. Cavett said it must have been incredible being in a writer’s meeting with all those unbelievable comics in the same room. Carl Reiner said, “No, all we did was sit around listening to Mel and cracking up. That guy was hilarious!!! ”

    My son’s all time favourite movie is “The History of the World: Part I”. It’s good to be the king… :)

  181. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #180

    Thanks, Steve.

    Yeah, a room with Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, and Carl Reiner. Wow, that is my idea of Nirvana. And then if you add Sheldon Leonard, Mort Sahl, Shelley Berman and one gentile, Bob Newhart, it’s circuit overload and the “Big Bang” all rolled up into one. :D

    You know, I know of the History of the World, I just have never watched it.

  182. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To #169:
    Jeffy gots issues…

  183. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Li Qiang #176:
    “What I can see in the the West is just the hidden racism under the skin of political incorrectiness.

    I reject both.” –

    -and so you should. But don’t forget to also reject similar scourges in existence in other cultures, including our own.

  184. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To angelachan22 @ #175:
    if you wanted a neutral term, instead of “western demon”, you could also use “west person”, and there wouldn’t have to be any misunderstanding.

  185. Steve Says:

    Jerry, you gotta watch History of the World! Trust me on this… afterwards you’ll be walking around muttering “it’s good to be the king!”

    How about “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”? After seeing Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride, I knew I’d like anything he did. He’s a great Robin! Robin’s sidekick was a Moor named Ah-choo, which was worth a joke or two. It reminded me of when I first started dating my wife. I asked her if she had a nickname. She said, “Some friends call me ‘A-chu’.” Nope, that didn’t work. Any others? “Well, there’s also Chu-Chu”. I stuck with Chu. :)

  186. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung #182, 183, 184

    #182

    You think so, SK? ::LMAO:: It is better to know than not know. We knew that the Tsar was dangerous. And we just wanted the Tsar to leave us alone. I will reword our old Russian Jewish prayer, “May God keep Jeffy … far, far from here.” Jeffy, you are one of “God’s” (whatever that means) children. We just don’t necessarily want to have dinner with you.

    —————-

    #183

    Great point!

    —————-

    #184

    That’s just too easy! ::LOL:: It is so much more fun to make excuses. You are just no fun! :D SK, I bet your daughters tell you that, too. ;)

  187. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    never saw the other movie you mentioned, but Princess Bride was awesome.

    To Jerry:
    they think I’m the biggest stiff on the block when I tell them to turn off the computer or TV. But tomorrow, they’ll think “i’m all that” when I take them and their gal pals to High School Musical 3.

  188. Jaymwine Says:

    I am a black African living in Beijing and though for the most part I find Chinese friendly or indifferent a few things lead me to believe that there is some kind of deep (albeit subtle) racism (social or otherwise) in Chinese society.

    Recently I was getting into the building where I work and this guy grabbed me by the sleeve and asked me what I was doing entering the building. He wasnt even security, just a guy who had come to have breakfast at the restaurant in the building. I felt i didnt owe him an explanation so I just said “ting bu dong” and continued walking. Thats when he went really nuts. He pulled me back and started screaming at me asking what I was doing in China if i didnt understand the language and other things to the effect that I should go back where I came from. At this point I felt like shoving him away but I didnt know who he was and he could easily have framed some assault charge if he had fallen or something. Anyway, I got away and walk fast into the building very mad.

    The altercation was bad enoug but what really got me mad was that the gateman, a man I have passed every morning for the past 5 months, just stood there smoking a cigarette and smiling like it was all funny. I am sure I wouldnt have been stopped if I hadnt been black and the gateman wouldnt have thought it funny had it been somebody else.

    I also discovered that the few Chinese, especially ladies, who are initially willing to become friendly usually do so assuming I am African-American. Many times, but by all means not always, “wo shi feizhouren” quickly cures them of any inclinations towards friendship they might have had. I guess the thinking is if he has to be black, at least let him be American (and all the supposed benefits that come with that).

  189. Jerry Says:

    @Steve #185

    OK, I will watch it next time it shows up. :)

    I liked “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”. It is just that Mel set such a high bar with Blazing Saddles and the Producers. I loved Reiner’s “Princess Bride”. Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Wallace Shawn, Peter Falk, Peter Cook et al, what a tour de force.

    Robin Wright Penn: what a babe! You lucky dog, Sean.

    Ah-Choo, played by the ever-wonderful, Dave Chappelle.

    And how could I have forgotten “Young Frankenstein”. Another comic tour de force. I can never forget the “knockers” line, “Class dismissed”, “What hump?”, “Werewolf, there wolf” and “Abby Normal”. So much great acting: Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Kenneth Mars, et al. And who can forget Marty Feldman’s eyes and the moving hump on his back.

    Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Carol Kane and Anne Bancroft. Such marvelous actresses.

    Mel is amazing. Putting out Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein in the same year. Some directors would kill to have one movie like that in their career. And one day I was at a friend’s house. Sona’s daughter, Amirah, is watching some cartoon on tv. All of a sudden, I hear Mel’s voice. He is playing the voice of a sheep on a show called “Jakers”

    That is a great story about “A-Chu” and “Chu-Chu”. Chu sounds like a good choice. :) My daughter’s name is Melissa. When she was young, I called her Missy Boo-Boo (As in Harry Belafonte’s song, “Mama Look a Boo-Boo”). On her birthday cards I would write, “Miss E. Boo Boo”. Well, since she was born on November 1, the day after Halloween, I shortened it later to “Boo”. Now that she is an orthopedic surgery resident, I call her Dr. Boo. My Chinese friends refer to her as Yisheng Boo! And my Vietnamese friend, Ha, let me know that she is Bac si Boo in Vietnamese. I like Bac si Boo. I am thinking of getting her a name tag which says “Bac si Boo”. So you have Chu and I have Boo. :D

    There is also a song called, “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”, which Louis Jordan made into a big hit in the 40′s.

  190. Bob Says:

    Does anybody else feel Jerry is trolling and ruining this site? What are those irrelevant and nonsensical trifles all about? I suggest he take them to his Palestinian friends.

  191. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Bob:
    not me. I think it’s time for you to take a pill of the chill variety.

  192. Bob Says:

    Cheung, you tell me what his rants about movies and stuff have to do with the topic of this blog post.

  193. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Bob:
    For starters, i don’t think Jerry rants. We’re all adults here, so I don’t think we must all confine ourselves to the topic, only to the topic, and to nothing but the topic. Each of us has a unique perspective, and it doesn’t hurt to elaborate. If that involves a story, a anecdote, an aside, so much the better. And if that’s not your cup of tea, that’s of course your prerogative, but it doesn’t take an inordinate amount of scrolling to get through it. Besides, movies have come up in other threads before; certainly not unique to this one.

  194. GNZ Says:

    you seem to be discounting the study already. Anyway – here is one paper which seems to cover some of the effect although it isn’t the one I remember seeing.
    http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/1/9/7/0/p19704_index.html

    Re: vigilance, seems we don’t actually disagree all that much – you just seem to discount the governments ability to do what you are trusting the vigilant to achieve. I guess that relates to Allen’s point regarding ‘the west’ not attributing nearly enough good to governments.

  195. Jerry Says:

    @Bob #190, 192
    @S.K. Cheung #191, 193

    It’s been so long, Bob. I have missed you. LOL

    Yeah, Bob, there I go, trolling, ranting and ruining this site. I am intentionally irrelevant, off-topic. trivial and trifling. Obviously I must be getting under your skin. (Shame on me! Knock that off, Jerry!) And my Palestinian friends still like me. Oh God (Not George Burns). How I must be wearing out my friends. I am sorry for being so damned human. LMAO

    Bob, as I have told you before, “Do and think as you will. Be my guest.” :D

    And, Bob, thanks for being my “straight man”.

    And my daughter, Boo, could probably prescribe some pills which will make you much happier.

    Thanks, SK! :D

  196. Jerry Says:

    @GNZ #194

    Thanks for the link. I will read it later.

    Here is my take on government. Government is part of my previously described “bag of tricks”. It is not just good enough to pass a law. The government must enforce the law and remain vigilant. Citizens must remain vigilant. A law without enforcement is just a co-option of the issue; it is a hollow law. Government and governmental officials can become complacent or they may just not want to enforce the law from the beginning, “the git-go”. I have seen the latter and former occur in the US. I have also heard about this happening in China, especially laws on corruption, protests and democracy. My take: If the government passes a law, it should vigilantly enforce the law.

    An example of this in China: I sent Allen an article done by MIT scientists (http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/10/02/beijings-new-pollution-control-measures/ #8). The scientists discovered that China is building its new coal-fired plants to the most modern of standards.

    Contrary to what many outsiders believe, the Chinese state has substantially improved its ability to implement and enforce rules on technology standards. It has been slower, however, to develop such abilities for monitoring the day-to-day operations of energy producers.

    Unfortunately, the local officials who run the plants often want to maximize profits, and could care less about pollution. Hence they turn off the “expensive-to-operate smokestack scrubbers or other cleanup technologies”. They also buy the cheapest coal which is also the dirtiest coal to burn. Great intentions, poor follow-through.

    You are right. I am very skeptical, bordering on cynical when it comes to trusting governments.

    I agree with you. Essentially we agree on this.

  197. GNZ Says:

    @Jerry,
    “My take: If the government passes a law, it should vigilantly enforce the law.”

    Yes indeed.

  198. Ted Says:

    Li Qiang: 176#

    Well I can say the magical properties of PCness worked on me and I now have friends from all backgrounds, races, what have you. Feel free to write off my comments, but I think the others on this thread who show offense at racism are genuinely hurt. As for the American/Western brand of PC we have today, if we can find a better framework which teaches people to give others the benefit of the doubt, I’m all for it. My only hope that distaste for the current approach is directed toward the development of a better one rather than the abandonment of everything.

  199. Ted Says:

    As for Jeffy# 169, I think my girlfriend and I sat next to you in a coffee shop. We were reading a book together when she froze, turned bright red and whispered that she wanted to leave. Two days passed before she would tell me what the three, twenty-something business people (two men and one woman) at the next table said. Needless to say, we haven’t been back to the coffee shop.

    I grew up in the American South so I’m accustomed to writing off ignorant statements. I can also distinguish between unfamiliarity/curiosity and disdain/disgust. For me, it’s frustrating when someone is ridiculed by a complete stranger in public and the shameless offender receives no reprimand. I concede that my understanding of Chinese culture is developing and those in the coffee shop may have been censured by their surrounding piers in a manner that wasn’t clear to me.

    It was already stated that, at a macro level bias is eliminated when a disparate group of people are operating with a shared set of interests. Shared interests at a personal level are colorblind as well and, for those who would argue otherwise, I can rest easy that every word you utter is another bar on your own cage.

    Like bobby #161, I can go on and on about my bad experiences, but the good experiences — by far the majority– are what keep me here, interested and happy (sorry Jeffy).

  200. Steve Says:

    @Jaymwine #188: Your comment reminded me of a conversation I had with a guy from Ghana over in Shanghai a few years ago. He hadn’t had your negative experience (I’m not sure if I would have shown your restraint) but he did say that though everyone was polite, it was difficult to make close friends there and he felt isolated. The greater acceptance of African-Americans surprised me. I wonder if it has anything to do with the basketball craze in China these days? Or if they have just categorized blacks as being African-American and see you as a round peg trying to fit in a square hole? I’m not sure what extra benefits come from being African-American.

    A few months before the Olympics when feelings towards all foreigners were getting out of control, a friend of mine (white) living in Shanghai was returning to his apartment when he had a similar experience. Some local guy who didn’t live there started yelling at him, telling him to go home, etc. Now he’s a big ol’ Texan who could have put this guy through the wall but when a guest in someone else’s country, you tend to be pretty conservative when it comes to picking fights. He did tell me that for the only time he’s been in Asia, he felt threatened on a daily basis and the feeling was common to all expats he knew. For a few weeks, they would only go out of their apartments when necessary.

    Has the situation calmed down these days?

  201. Bob Says:

    “A few months before the Olympics when feelings towards all foreigners were getting out of control,” hmm, wouldn’t that happen to be around the time when the pathologically sinophobic Western media were staging their coordinated anti-China march along with Tibetan (exile) rioters?

    Why do you guys always expect Chinese to turn their other cheeks?

  202. Bob Says:

    Years ago, a Japanese colleague of mine told me since 1992 in Japan, the word “freeze” has virtually become a mandatory English lesson for Japanese visitors to the United States.

    One of the must-learn Chinese phrases for non-Chinese visiting China ought to be 礼尚往来. As opposed to “freeze”, it doesn’t really have any unpleasant connotation if you think it positively.

  203. Steve Says:

    Bob, I expect reasonable people to direct blame to where it belongs and not blanket every non-Chinese person living in their country. When a Chinese general threatened to nuke Los Angeles, I didn’t notice any threats directed towards the Chinese living here. Reasonable people realized the comment was made for domestic political reasons and did not reflect on their Chinese neighbors. In your words, they turned the other cheek.

    I also noticed that during the Olympics, the demonstrators who hung the Tibetan signs had all come in for the Olympics. None of them were expats actually living in China at the time. Why would you condemn everyone for the actions of a few? Those few were arrested and deported, so the action was directed at the ones responsible. Your own government didn’t suddenly condemn every foreigner in Beijing at the time. They directed their actions towards the ones responsible. Do you feel their behavior was appropriate, or that they should not have “turned the other cheek” and expelled all foreigners?

    Visas are issued to foreigners at the pleasure of the government. No one is entitled to receiving a visa and a visa can be denied for any or even no reason. Therefore, any foreigner living in your country is there at your own government’s invitation. Why do you feel it is acceptable to verbally or physically attack a person who is there at your government’s request and has not done anything to warrant such an attack?

    I don’t expect only Chinese to turn the other cheek. I expect all civilized societies to turn the other cheek when dealing with the innocent.

  204. Bob Says:

    Steve, PRC is not my government, don’t make baseless assumption. But since it seems you are quite good at perceptions, let’s talk about perceptions. One of the perceptions is the West has long feared a prosperous, strong and unified China, even though China is only minding its own business. The attitude of Western media in general towards China during the Tibet riot and torch relay greatly strengthens that perception. Expats are seen as those who side with their own countries’ ideologically driven media because the biased and overly negative reports on China are acquiesced with. I have no doubt some are very critical of the Western media bias, but those are not perceived as mainstream, unfortunately as you may lament.

    By and large, I’d say Chinese are gracious host, even if they may be partisan during sporting events. Can’t really blame them after they had long been subject to Mao’s Friendship First, Competition Second mantra.

  205. Steve Says:

    Bob, I don’t know how many of my posts you’ve read, but I’ve been very complimentary towards the Chinese people in virtually all of them. My experiences in the country are exactly what you described; they are very gracious hosts. I hadn’t noticed them to be overly partisan in sporting events; no more than any other culture and less than some. I happened to be in People’s Square in Shanghai the night China qualified for its first World Cup. A spontaneous celebration broke out and it was quite an event! The fact that I was western was irrelevant; everyone included me in the celebration.

    Sorry to have labeled you as a Chinese citizen; my bad. Apology offered…

    I think there is a misperception among Chinese that western media outlets are uniformly negative in their coverage of China. I’ve read many that took exception to the way the stories were described in your post. I would agree that the majority were negative, but not all. I’ve posited in the past that a lot of the media bias could have been mitigated if China had allowed western reporters into Lhasa to see for themselves because restrictions create assumptions, almost always negative.

    Why would you think that expats in general walk in line with their media’s perceptions? In my experience it’s exactly the opposite. They are highly critical of reporters who come to China for two weeks, then return home and write idiotic stories about the country. To give you a current example, the Economist from the UK this week did a “Shanghai Journal” piece where their intrepid reporter goes to Shanghai for the first time to check it out. The first day, he spends his time talking about pirated DVDs, LV bags and Rolex watches, along with expat bars containing dancing dwarfs and pole dancing leather clad women. The second day he talks about Uyghurs, how they are mistreated, the drug trade, etc. The third day he lets us know the best restaurant in Shanghai is a Sichuan place, and his other meal is in a North Korean restaurant. If you go to the comments section, you can read several of my replies (under Swamp Rat, my old CB handle from many years ago), all scathing indictments of the reporter and a defense of the people and city. Virtually all the other critical comments were posted by expats currently living in Shanghai, the people you perceive to be in step with their own media. The comments supporting the reporter were from people who hadn’t been to China.

    Why do you think the west has long feared a strong and unified China? The US has been allied with China against the Soviet Union as far back as the Nixon years. The largest initial investors in China were Taiwan and the US which helped China build up its manufacturing base and create jobs, with great benefits for all the people involved. US foreign policy towards China for many years is that a strong China is a good thing, bringing stability to that part of the world. The US policy for the last 25 years is the “one China” policy, so no different than the Chinese government. Are those the actions of a country that wants a weak, disunified China? Could you elaborate on specific instances where the US government has tried to weaken the Chinese government?

    Bob, I was hoping you’d answer the questions I put to you in my last entry. I’d rather have a dialogue with some continuity than switching the subject each time. It’s no problem adding to the discussion, but this one feels like its disconnected from the last.

  206. GNZ Says:

    Bob, don’t forget western media is a loose cannon. It is pretty critical of the USA too – USA is public enemy number 1 in most of the west. A lot of it is just the distrust of governments that Allen refers to and with US media vs Chinese media it is just simple playing to patriotism, i.e. it is quite a big expectation to want the US media to be completely unbiased while every other country, inc. china, is rampantly biased.

  207. TommyBahamas Says:

    “It is better to have people think you a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it to everyone.” But, then again, this is Fool’s Mountain.

    Isn’t there another one that says, “Better be quiet and be thought wise”? Whatever. It would be bad business for FM blog if we all followed that proverb to the letter.

    Speaking of “open your mouth and confirm it,” I acutally have a buddy who is always telling people that he is a genius. It was only after like hearing him repeat that for about a dozen times with different people that I realized that he actually mean it~!
    A tireless talker, yes. Good education, well, maybe. But a genius? BTW, he is the only American I know who thinks Abraham Lyncoln was the worse US President ever. Go figure.

  208. Hongkonger Says:

    Speaking of movies. Wil Smith has gotta be one of my top 10 favorite actors. Smith was superb as Chris Gardner in “The Pursuit Of Happiness.” Are Chinese racist and P i-C? Yes and no. It depends who each person wanna be. Who would you rather be or befriend, the Politically incorrect, extremely lonely, crime-fighting superhero, Hancock, the immortal A#Sh@le, or “I wanna change the world,” mere mortal, Jason Bateman with goddess Charlize Theron as wife?
    It’s all in our mind. Once we’ve decided what’s good and right for ourselves which usually involves others, we just gotta “fake it till we make it.”

  209. Steve Says:

    Hongkonger, that is too easy~ very few can resist Charlize Theron! ;)

  210. FOARP Says:

    @Tommybahamas – Like my university motto had it – “Be still and know”

  211. Jerry Says:

    @TommyBahamas #207
    @FOARP #210

    “It is better to have people think you a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it to everyone.” But, then again, this is Fool’s Mountain. :D

    Hi Tommy. How are you? That is an old expression which I have heard many times and occasionally use. My comment was directed towards Jeffy Lew. Sometimes that expression is appropriate, sometimes it is irrelevant. Proverbs, aphorisms, expressions should never be taken as absolute rules; maybe just as thoughts to ponder. I am glad that we don’t adhere to that expression here at FM.

    You are a much kinder, nicer man than I, Tommy. Your expression, “Better be quiet and be thought wise”, has a lot going for it. Going to have to ponder that for a while.

    Speaking of “open your mouth and confirm it,” I acutally have a buddy who is always telling people that he is a genius. It was only after like hearing him repeat that for about a dozen times with different people that I realized that he actually mean it~!
    A tireless talker, yes. Good education, well, maybe. But a genius? BTW, he is the only American I know who thinks Abraham Lyncoln was the worse US President ever. Go figure.

    I wish I was as smart as he thinks he is. I don’t think Albert Einstein ever referred to himself as a genius. He was a troubled man, especially during and after the Manhattan Project. Everybody is allowed their pick of despised and favorite presidents.

    The word “education” is a loaded word. One of my grandfathers had an 8th grade education and no more. But many people, including myself, considered him to be a brilliant, articulate man. He never went to law school, high school or university. Yet, my dad’s real estate lawyer, Bob, very well-regarded for his knowledge of commercial real estate law, thought very highly of my grandfather. Bob once told me, “Your grandfather has forgotten more real estate law than I will ever know. When I have very tough cases, I call your grandfather.”

    FOARP, so you are British-educated? I like that, “Be still and know”.

  212. Jerry Says:

    @Hongkonger #208

    HKer, I agree that Wil Smith is a very good actor. His portrayal of Chris Gardner was brilliant, real and heart-breaking.

    Who would you rather be or befriend, the Politically incorrect, extremely lonely, crime-fighting superhero, Hancock, the immortal A#Sh@le, or “I wanna change the world,” mere mortal, Jason Bateman with goddess Charlize Theron as wife?

    I assume you are referring to Smith’s portrayal of Hancock. I have only seen trailers. Is it any good?

    It’s all in our mind. Once we’ve decided what’s good and right for ourselves which usually involves others, we just gotta “fake it till we make it.”

    Hmmm … I need to ponder. “Good and right” seem to be evolutionary for me; things seem to change. If the mind includes the heart as well as the brain, …? Hmmm …

  213. Hongkonger Says:

    @Jerry,

    “Hancock. I have only seen trailers. Is it any good?”

    I love it. Two thumbs up for Wil Smith and a mega-*Sccchhhwing* for Charlize Theron, Aow~! (* Wayne’s World *)

  214. RMBWhat Says:

    #199,

    Well said.

    Yeah, I guess the bad out-weights the good, in the end. I mean I can go on and have the biggest chip on my shoulders but who wants to live that way? (And sometimes I feel and act that way, with a chip on my shoulder and all.)

    In the end is all in your mind… It’s how you want to perceive the world that counts. F*** the haters.

    (I mean I’ve had stupid ignorant situations happen to me in my life. However, I don’t want to overstate or dwell on them since I my problems are insignificant compared to a lot of people in this world. I mean a lot of people in the world still live on less than $1 a day… What are my problems compared to that??? Am I starving? No… I have the opportunity to pursue my dreams… to purse things that interests me, stuff that makes me happy… Simply because I was born into it.)

  215. RMBWhat Says:

    I saw Hancock in the theaters. I thought it was above average. Then again I have not been excited about many movies as of late… So You may think it rocked.

    And I also have a problem where a lot of people can recount the details to a movie… TO me after a week or so everything just becomes hazy. Unless the movie was a classic. Must been all the *.* I used to smoke right? NOT!

  216. Ted Says:

    This comes over from ChinaSmack and their article on a recent altercation between Chinese and Japanese students, I could append the author’s information but I didn’t want to give him the attention he’s looking for. Can anyone argue how these comments are any better than the worst we’ve heard elsewhere? This appears to be coming from a university student or a professional. I not focusing on the Japanese relationship, I’m talking about all the minority groups he’s referring to.

    “@—-, don’t worry about foreigners trying to understand our perspectives, in the end, we don’t care for it. The ultimate destruction of the wonu will take some time, Han Wudi did not exterminate the Xiongnu for decades, and it was only his descendants who finally completed his task. Enemies of China in the end only meet one fate, from the Nanman, Dongyi, Xirong, Beidi, to the Xiongnu, Mongols, Manchus, no one speaks of them now, except in history class and museums. We’ll have a grand memorial for the Wonu after the task is completed…”

    I hate to keep dropping little anecdotes but I just don’t see any difference between racism in China and elsewhere in the world.

  217. Jerry Says:

    @Ted #216

    Ted, I have never been to Shanghai or da lu, for that matter. I live in Taipei.

    Regarding the fight, it sounds like elements of unresolved Japanese-Chinese hostility, nationalism, drunk college kids, mob mentality, testosterone poisoning, arrogance, hubris, envy and macho-macho (this is not a totally inclusive list).

    Regarding Sniper, he has a lot of issues and needs a serious chill pill (Thanks, SK). His virulent hostility towards “enemies of China” is troubling. His hateful, racial slurs against the Japanese are troubling. Hopefully he grows out of it. His bitterness and hatred will eat him up alive. He sounds like he is in Jeffy Lew’s league. Like Jeffy, a lot of this is angry, racist, macho chest-beating. His rantings and behavior would be considered ignorant “poor white trash” behavior if he were an American. I generally would not want to be around him, especially if he is armed with a club or a gun or any weapon for that matter.

    Regarding racism in China, this anecdote demonstrates one man’s racism, anger and hatred. And hatred is hatred, whether in China or the US. How this applies in general to the Chinese and racism, I don’t have a clue. During the fight and the subsequent posts, there seem to be some troubling elements of rabid nationalism. (I posted earlier in #177 about nationalism)

    That said, racism and hatred concern me no matter where they occur. I enjoy reading your posts about your encounters in China, Ted.

  218. Wukailong Says:

    I think Allen has a point, but most importantly, I don’t think that some sorts of racism are necessarily worse because of their history; rather, all racism begins with the “innocent”, non-PC variety. That’s the basis on which to pursue colonialism, slavery and all the rest. If you haven’t done so yet, good for you, but you have the basis on which to pursue it, and in the end that’s not better.

    As for PC, it exists in all socities in the form of things that can be said and topics that can’t be discussed. We all know what these are.

  219. Allen Says:

    @Ted #216,

    Interesting quote. In some ways, I should not comment, since I do not know much about the context of the quote nor the circumstances of “Xiongnu” – nor the context in which he is referring to Nanman, Dongyi, Xirong, Beidi, to the Xiongnu, Mongols, Manchus.

    But I’ll take it at its surface and discuss a little.

    First, we need to understand what the poster meant by “enemies of China.” Did he mean enemies against the central gov’t? Against the Chinese way of governance? Against “hans” (“hans” really is not a race, but a result of millenia of race intermixing)?

    Second we need to understand that what the author may be referring is cultural intermixing. I don’t think the author is talking about exterminating (or enslaving or whatever) a people simply because of their race. Chinese have a long history of cultural assimilation. The author may simply be express the Chinese version of the American “melting pot” – which by the way, Americans view as at gold standard against racism.

    Third, it may be possible that we may have to confront my assertion that Chinese have not politically suppressed people in the name of race. If that’s the case, we need to either conduct more research on 1.) how the Chinese people have asserted suppressing people in the name of race; 2.) how that relates to the present; and 3.) whether the Chinese people are or are on its way to suppressing groups of its own citizens in the name of race.

    Finally, I want to simply mention that cultural intermixing per se (I don’t think) is racism. The spread of religion for example is a sort of cultural assimilation. But depending on how it’s done, it may be good or bad. Same goes with western brand of “human rights” or globalism.

    Westerners often speak of Muslim fundamentalist countries – and how they will eventually adopt human rights and democracy in time – that it is the inevitable wave of modernism. That may be true or not.

    But regardless of whether it is or not, the attitude is more related to cultural chauvinism – not racism per se – and I think those two concepts should be separated…

  220. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Ted #216:
    “I just don’t see any difference between racism in China and elsewhere in the world.” – truer words, to me, have never been said.
    Of course, your quote is disturbing. However, as Jerry says, it’s the words of one frothing idiot. The true measure would be how widely shared his sentiments (or sentiments of a similar feather) are shared among Chinese people. My feeling is that it is not as much of an outlier as some around here would have you believe.

  221. RMBWhat Says:

    Well… can the samething be said just about anywhere? The people that come here care somewhat about the topic of China if not full-blown Sinophiles. I would argue that the disproportionate portion of people here are (probably) sane and well-adjusted individuals (me excluded, hehe) without much prejudice or hatred (whoa, definitely not saying I have a lot prejudice and hatred; me excluded in regard to the sane and well-adjusted part). Using your same train of thought on outliers, can we not take in evidence of what goes on the internet, such as Youtube, forums, to suggest nationalistic/racial feelings against the Chinese? In the Youtube case, it’s probably not a good idea because many commenters on Youtube are probably 14 year old EMOs. As for forums… the majority, most of the time, are not forthing with hatred, but merely incorrect P.C.ness-wise. As in, “the damn commies… jobs… trade deficit…,” etc. While a minority project real racist (what I consider) attitudes towards the Chinese. On a personal level, I sometime do feel that there is an underlying, and prevalent current, of anti-Chinese sentiments. Perhaps this is due to me being not as well adjusted as some others here?

    Wait.. what we talking again… oh yeah, whether or not Chinese are racist or just political incorrect (versus some other place)… Well… probably…most likely… yes.

  222. RMBWhat Says:

    Wait… sec… I’m not Jeffy Lew. I don’t have a problem with love…

    I’m DEFINITELY NOT JEFFY LEW.

  223. RMBWhat Says:

    And what is the end result of pages after pages of wasted words… All pointing fingers at other people; none for any self criticism,and self examination. I know, I know, everyone on Fool’s mountain is perfect and god-like.

    It’s preciously why human nature cannot be trusted. Always claiming hubris in others while failing to see any fault in yourself. It’s the fundamental character flaw of the human race.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF2uEtEIYnM

  224. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To RMBWhat:
    I certainly have never explicitly nor implicitly suggested that all westerners are perfect or “god-like”. And as you suggest, just as there are Chinese frothing idiots, there most certainly are western frothing idiots as well. And I think most nations and most peoples are burdened with their share of frothing idiots. Unfortunately, Darwinism sometimes doesn’t work quickly enough. The question, for which I have no answer, is how many standard deviations a frothing idiot, or at least said idiot’s point of view, lies away from the mean, in any given society.
    I also agree that a blog like this is in no way representative of any society, owing to selection bias. As for anti-Chinese sentiment, I honestly can’t say I’ve experienced it as an adult. Perhaps it was there when I was a kid; or perhaps I’ve blocked it out. I’ll have to explore it some more next time I have some couch time…:-)

  225. Nobody Says:

    @SKC,

    ” I honestly can’t say I’ve experienced it as an adult. Perhaps it was there when I was a kid; ”

    I AM very happy to hear that~!
    Did you move to a different neighborhood ? As yunno, location, location, location = social status, safty & class isolation.

    OK, I gotta say, since I got into part-time ESL teaching, I’ve encountered more superficial racial discrimination as well as witnessed more blatant discrimination than ever. But is that the same as racism or just job-related, preconceived ideas and preferences? Here’s a typical scenario in HK/PRC/ROC.
    A UK born Indian, Bsc; a Filippino, English-Major ; a Canadian-Chinese, BA; and a Canadian of Irish decent, Bsc; all got interviewed for this one opening for an English teacher. Who do you think has the best chance of landing the job? You’d think the CBC because he also speaks Mandarin/Cantonese, right? No, not likely.
    HOWEVER, in the local entertainment business, a reasonably good-looking CBC has the best chance. Speaking of which, there are a few sizzling hot overseas-Chinese TV hosts on CCTV.

  226. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung, #220

    “My feeling is that it is not as much of an outlier as some around here would have you believe.”

    I feel the same way.

    Wariness is the lot of my people. We just try to keep our hyperbole, paranoia and frothing in check. :D We have learned over many years how to deal with hatred and racism without being consumed by such. That said, civility is sometimes a very thin veneer.

    The incident to which Ted referred was out at http://www.chinasmack.com/stories/japanese-chinese-students-fight-in-shanghai/. The “frothing idiot” in question was SniperWZ.

    There was one interesting blog entry, amidst the frothing at ChinaSmack, which intrigued me. It touches on China, hate, the Japanese, Jews and Germans. Verrry interesssting.

    “teacher in china”

    I want to say a couple of things here, as this is something me and my colleagues have talked about here in China in the last three years.

    1) You can’t rightly compare the situation with China/Japan to Germany. No public official (much less the prime minister) in Germany is visiting shrines dedicated to SS officers or other people considered by other countries to be war criminals. Yet that’s what happened for several years in Japan when what’s-his-name visited that shrine (too lazy to look stuff up, sorry). That’s obnoxious, plain and simple. Add to that the textbook controversy, and it’s clear that Chinese have a right to be pissed at Japan.

    2) That being said, I have a problem with the teaching of hate. I’ve had personal experience with Chinese teachers and students and it appears that it’s not unusual for students to be taught to hate Japan for what they did. Maybe these are isolated cases by crazed teachers. It’s pretty tough to justify teaching kids to hate. Teaching them not to forget, yes, ok. But not to hate. Intense nationalism and hatred are things that the world needs to hope can go away with each generation, since these are the things that are keeping us all down; we certainly don’t need to be teaching it in school.

    3) I realize that this negates my first point, but I’m going to say it anyway since so many people always want to bring up Germany in any discussion about this topic. Having volunteered in a Jewish private school in the past, I can assure you that Jewish children do not get taught to hate Germany. Rather, they learn about what happened, how terrible it was that humans can act this way towards each other; they try to find some good stories that came out of the bad situation; they try to think of ways in which we can prevent this from ever happening again.

    This is all just personal experience, take what you will from it.

    BTW, I hope you will have (or had) fun with your wee ones at “High School Musical 3”.

  227. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry:
    while sniper-boy clearly misses the mark (unless he was aiming for his foot), “teacher in China” sounds like an individual with whom one could have a reasonable discussion. Hope he/she wanders through these parts at some point.
    HSM 3 has a certain target demographic. Clearly, I fall outside of said demographic. My kids, however, thought it was, like, the best movie ever.

  228. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Nobody:
    “Who do you think has the best chance of landing the job? ” – I’m hoping it’s the one with the most education/training/experience in the capacity of an ESL English teacher.

  229. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung, #220

    “teacher in China” sounds like an individual with whom one could have a reasonable discussion. Hope he/she wanders through these parts at some point.

    Amen, brother! Sounds like he/she has an interesting perspective. Come on down, “teacher in China”.

    What amazes me about sniper-boy, who probably shot off both feet, is his non sequitur in the midst of his frothy, hateful foam. What an interesting science experiment, this boy. At a distance, of course. :D

    Ann, who the f*** made you the expert critic here? …

    (followed later by)

    agree with Ann on this point…

    That just blew me away. Ann travelled all the way from infamy to respect in one blog thread. Wow. I bet you Ann was thrilled. ;)

    HSM 3 has a certain target demographic. Clearly, I fall outside of said demographic. My kids, however, thought it was, like, the best movie ever.

    LOL. Sounds like some of my daughter’s reactions at that age. Not my style, either. But then again, I think of “Gidget”, Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon movies, Elvis Presley movie musicals, The Sound of Music, Grease and Saturday Night Fever, to name just a few. So I take it that you don’t want to participate in a focus group for HSM 4?

    When you say demographics, my mind wanders to the king of Disney branding/marketing, Michael Eisner (Michael is from my tribe, unfortunately). Ugh!! Sorry, Michael, I am not one of your obsequious, fawning sycophants (sicko-phants).

  230. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry,
    LOL! Well, considering that was “senior year”, I’m hoping there won’t be HSM 4, unless they call it “College Rejects” or “Wildcats Who Failed Their Exams”.

  231. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung, #230

    Shows you how out of touch I am with Disney branding and marketing! Shame on me! LOL

    So let’s get to the big issue at hand: are we going to hit the $3 bill on this blog thread?

  232. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry:
    no worries. HSM is not a franchise you should be concerning yourself with anyway. My excuse is I have no choice…between the DVD’s, CD’s, books, karaoke discs…it’s everywhere man…I’m hearing Zac Efron voices(he’s the star, btw)…make it stop…

    Now Bond, and a little later IronMan 2, those are franchises with which you should concern yourself, I would think.

  233. Ted Says:

    @Nobody 225: I’ve had all the same experiences.

    @S.K. Cheung #228: Per my experience, it depends on the school and city, In the major cities competition with other schools and a shortage of teachers can help keep things clean. In smaller towns, preferences can play a much bigger role, especially when a school is the first on the scene. To open an English training center with non-white teachers assures a short-lived business venture (educational background). I had a Singaporean coworker (her English was perfect, no accent) who had her visa canceled when she contested early termination of her contract. According to the head of recruiting for the company, students were complaining about learning from an Asian.

  234. Ted Says:

    @Jerry, Allen, SK Cheung, RMBWhat, et al: Thanks to all for your thoughtful replies.

    @Jerry “I enjoy reading your posts about your encounters in China, Ted. “ I appreciate this and your other comments are insightful and fun to read, a nice combination to shoot for. Regarding my recent posts, I honestly hate writing them. They certainly do not represent the balance of my experiences in China.

    @Allen: Appreciate your thoughts as well, as I said before it’s folks like yourself and others at FM that help me evenly interpret my experiences as I learn the language and culture. I also don’t mean for you to defend every kook I encounter and I make no guesses as to how widely-held such views are. I’m blogging for China too:) It should be understood that hearing or experiencing sentiments like those of the ChinaSmack commenter taints borderline experiences and comments with the same stain. It can become increasingly difficult to distinguish between an uninformed comment and a malicious statement — Over time, I think hypersensitivity (or sensitivity) develops because people just get tired of trying to distinguish between ignorance and hate.

    I purposefully didn’t look into the authors claims about historical treatment of the various groups (wiki’s great but I think people sometimes mistake it as an extension of their own intellect). As you, I think the authors comments don’t require an in-depth historical analysis and an interpretation on the surface can suffice. I see either:

    1) a true understanding of historical events and a frightening desire to perpetuate such activities
    2) an ignorant misinterpretation of historical events and a frightening desire to promote hate
    3) a manipulative misstatement of historical events and a frightening desire to promote hate

    For me all three are losers.

    Re: “we need to either conduct more research on 1.) how the Chinese people have asserted suppressing people in the name of race; 2.) how that relates to the present; and 3.) whether the Chinese people are or are on its way to suppressing groups of its own citizens in the name of race. “ I would love to read that book. I spent a lot of time studying European history in college and wish I could do the same with Chinese history. Alas its off to business school for me and my interest will have to manifest itself in the form of a lifelong hobby.

    I would also like to read a book comparing early Eastern and Western governing philosophies (I’m certain some are out there). I think it is incredibly interesting that while the west has operated under principle “make the world Rome” China operated under the principle “offer a model and the barbarians will elevate themselves and willfully follow you”… If you build it, they will come… I think this was a wonderfully clever way to acknowledge that the world is too big and diverse for one country to conquer while simultaneously asserting dominion. (my interpretation comes from a cultural sketch in the opening of “China’s Entrance into the Family of Nations; The Diplomatic Phase, 1858-1880” by Immanuel C. Y. Hsu) I’m digressing…

    I think Japan is a separate issue and too difficult to address in the racism category and I like “teacher in China”‘s comments as well.

  235. TommyBahamas Says:

    “To open an English training center with non-white teachers assures a short-lived business venture (educational background). I had a Singaporean coworker (her English was perfect, no accent) …students were complaining about learning from an Asian.”

    Your example comes up a lot as I have many friends who are English teachers. It is so very sad and it makes me really angry at times.

    I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I like to mention this every now and then, just so some of my friends could use as an example.

    Almost all my friends who are from Canada, the UK, US, Oz land, Kiwis land, Europeans, ABC, CBC, AUSBC et al, tell me that I am a native-English-Speaker or at least near-native. I have never lived in the “West,” I went to college in South East Asia. And guess what, I have NEVER had a White teacher in my entire pre-college school life. This is why I don’t have an accent. Everyone of my English Language teachers were ALL of Chinese descent. My High school English literature teacher was of Indian descent. They were all perfectly good capable teachers.
    Just as I, and nearly everyone in China consider Mr. Mark Roswell or Da Shan of Canada, a great Chinese teacher.

    http://www.dashan.com/en/index.htm

    Speaking of DaShan (Big Mountain), here’s what you might have to “suffer” or put up with, while in China… :-)

    http://violeteclipse.blogspot.com/2006/11/big-mountain.html

  236. TommyBahamas Says:

    Ops, sorry, I forgot to answer the question: Are the above phenomena Racism or UN-PC-ness?

    Seems more like the latter, to me. Like certain common cultural / social blunders, such as asking someone about ones age, income etc. Except they are not a sign of rudeness within China itself. The onus therefore falls on the visitors of China to not take offence, just as when Mainland Chinese so easily commit faux Pas when traveling outside of China. In Hong Kong littering, smoking in non smoking areas and spitting in public are punishable by law with prison time or HK1,500 (About US$200) fine, for the first offense.

  237. Ted Says:

    uggh, just reread my last comments…

    #233 parenthesis should read (educational background doesn’t factor in)

    #234 “I think this was a wonderfully clever way to acknowledge that the world is too big and diverse for one country to conquer while simultaneously asserting dominion.” wow, that’s a terrible sentence, so I’ll just quote from the book I cited.

    “the Chinese believed that if the barbarians didn’t aspire to a higher life, there was no need to force them to do so.” Hsu then quotes a Han scholar, “The Emperor does not govern barbarians, those who come will not be rejected, those who leave will not be pursued”

    An earlier paragraph states “Since, the test of barbarity was primarily one of cultural standards, barbarians would become Chinese when they advanced to the Chinese level of civilization and conformed to the higher Chinese standards of living… Meticulous care was taken to prevent [barbarian] infiltration into the heartland of China and their mixing with the Chinese populace, acts which threatened to adulterate the established way of life.” This feels familiar… Any thoughts on these quotes? I know I have alot more reading to do:)

  238. Steve Says:

    @Ted: I’ve really enjoyed all your comments. So far, my wife and I haven’t encountered the situation you had in the coffee shop. She wouldn’t have left, though. She would have dressed them down over it, politely but firmly and made them feel like fools. Of course, I would have been standing behind her as her “muscle”. :)

    I read over the comments in the ChinaSMACK post you mentioned. As you described in #234, there tends to be two types of racism; the racism of ignorance (e.g. a Chinese person who lives in a small village with other Chinese and has never met a foreigner so to them it’s almost like meeting an alien from another planet, kind of a fear of the unknown) or the deliberate racism of hatred (Sniper, whose way of elevating himself is to lower others by lumping them into general categories and then condemning the group for the actions of a few; these people are usually cowards who prefer to hide behind an alias on the net) that typically works on repeating a lie over and over until others believe it is true. In the end, racism is just an “us vs. them” attitude, where “us” is always good and “them” is always evil. It’s definitely easier to blame our problems on outside forces rather than looking within, either within our own culture or within ourselves.

    Some have mentioned the teaching situation where a rather incompetent western English teacher is preferred over a very competent Asian. It’s not just English, folks. I have a friend of mine, Taiwanese American with a factory in China, multimillionaire PhD chemist, who said that if he took me into a meeting with a Chinese customer who spoke no English and I recited the Declaration of Independence while he said what he needed to say, the customer would be far more convinced than if he had been there by himself, because I was a white American. When he said this to me, it also reminded me of the time T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) interpreted for Prince Faisal at the Paris Peace Conference after WWI. Faisal was asked to give a speech so he recited from the Koran in Arabic while Lawrence talked about creating independent Arab nations out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire.

    While doing business there, I was typically the only westerner in a room of Chinese and was always put on a pedestal, which honestly made me feel uncomfortable. I’m not sure if “racism” is the correct word for this since it wasn’t negative; might it be “perception”? Maybe in my case it was more like “delusion”, ha ha!

    Incidentally, I have two friends in China, both women, who have never been outside the country and never had a foreign English teacher. If you talked to them on the phone, you would never suspect they were Chinese. For me, pronunciation is more important than extensive vocabulary. These two had both so I’m with TommyBahamas on this one.

    Ted, it’s too late for China. Barbarian media in the form of Hollywood DVD movies has already infiltrated into the heart of China and mixed with the Chinese populace, and is currently adulterating the established way of life there! :)

    Seriously, was this related in any way to keeping the British out of Canton in the mid 19th century? I seem to remember the British wanted to establish a trading post there and felt they were entitled under the Treaty of Nanking but though the Qing government agreed they were entitled, they used the hostility of the Chinese populace towards foreign “barbarians” to keep them out. It was a clever and successful diplomatic ploy, but might not have been accurate in terms of what it described. At the time, the hostility towards foreigners was primarily caused by China’s losing the first Opium War.

    @Jerry: About your daughter’s nickname: Bac si Boo? ~ that’s practically poetic… I love it!

  239. RMBWhat Says:

    LOL… FUnny?

    The problem I have, is when people come out of the woodwork to say stuff like “Most Chinese —-. Oh yeah, blah blah Chinese racist.” That’s no problem. It’s not “nationalistic,” it’s simply a western in China having problems with the “stupid backward” Chinese culture.

    Then you got motherfuckers like me who says “OH some people ‘here’ are racist and nationalistic.” The second I say that it’s I need to look into myself and review why I’m the way I am… I need to go see a therapist. Some other b.s like I’m anti-social or not well adjusted… Whatever… Moral of the story is Westerns are all perfect while the CHinese are ass backwards people of no culture. Nationalist “FenQing” like SniperWZ gets all the blame. Sure he is stupid, I don’t agree with him. But it’s a symmetrical situation… the other side gets no reprimands. Get away with murder. I’m the one that’s frothing with hate… Blame all your problems on me. Sh*t, I’m used to that. Always the scapegoat.

    Really. I’m NOT MAD. I really don’t care about this. I simply want to point out the hypocrisy of it all. I got crap to do today, so later.

    So fu****** hypocritical.

    And lastly, you don’t know me buddy. So don’t try to project you experiences on me. And no, I’m NOT projecting my experiences onto you. I never said anything ABOUT YOU. So there.

    But wait… I guess I am going to talk a little about you. So you goes off on SniperWZ for being afraid of what he may do, on that Chinasmack thread. Shi*, what I’m afraid of is people on there like the “chink calling dude,” or some other come down and shoot my ass.

    What’s more scary is the way the world is going… there is a real possibility that I may get hauled off to some concentration camp. Now that’s real…

  240. RMBWhat Says:

    See, you guys live in a different society than I. What I’ve experienced is that in reality people alike stick together. As a member of a very small minority group, I am disadvantaged. No matter what people like SKC thinks, he has the good life, he is probably surrounded by people like him. He has no fears. (Wait, didn’t he say he was 15/16 white. How can he tell me about oppression??? WHA?)

    For someone like me – really think about it. When the **it hits the fan do you think other people are going to care about me? Mabye… Sure, I want to say that people are good, but I’ve been proven wrong again. But is that the reality? Some you here most definitely doublethink.

    So you don’t think there is not an attitude of perpetual foreigner against the Chinese… Think about it. DON’T LIE TO YOURSELVES. Just be real about it.

    This what pisses me off. Is the people engaging in the perpetuation of this lie… Just be real about it. It’s not some liberal utopia. It’s a cut-throat world. It’s realpolitiks.

    THE SIMPLE FACT is this: We are an small minority.

    Am I going to sit here and complain and do nothing? No. I’m going to combat it. It’s the only way? If I fall in the face of this adversity… so be it. I will get up and try again. I will never quit. I will not do what you want. F*** you I won’t do what you tell me! I will never quit. If I die trying… SO BE IT.

    So label me a LOSER. Fine. I will not do what you tell me. I will not concern myself with the labels you give me. F*** you I won’t do what you tell me.

  241. RMBWhat Says:

    What is human nature? Human nature is about dominance over the entropic flow of the universe. Western thought is mostly about dominance over entropy, while Eastern thought tries to be one with entropy, but has problems because of human nature. This is why life is suffering. Instead of living in the moment and being ego-less, our world is this massive fight against the entropy. We are all on this massive freak-out, spiraling out of control into the abyss. We want to order the entropy… This is a pointless exercise that will ultimately lead us to our doom.

    Human hunter-gathers: very little dominance over entropy.
    Beginning civilization: little dominance of entropy.
    Feudal societies: some dominance of entropy. However bad it is for the common folk but at least it’s sustainable.
    post-Feudal to pre-industrial: beginning of earnest struggle against the flow of entropy.
    industrial: earnest struggling against entropy. Although most people’s live are improving compared to feudal period. Human foolishly think the struggle against entropy is good as it is paying.
    post-industrial: major dominance of entropy. Life for the “first nations” are great. People there are enjoying the full benefits of dominance of entropy. Life elsewhere sucks but is the consequence of the “first nations” vain attempts at controlling entropy (e.g. too many population).

    Now what about the future? One can argue that controlling entropy is good, since this gives us the ability to overcome events such as asteroid strike. But can it prevent something such as the massive release of CO2 into the air by?

    What about free energy. Is it possible to overcome entropy? I doubt this vision of utopian future. Sure, it may be possible, but we probably will destroy ourselves in the process, or become extinct due to some other entropic universal event outside of our control.

    So what if we overcome it? What if we go all the way up to a type III civilization? What then. Would we have defeated entropy then? No. It’s probably impossible for us to overcome the barriers of a type III civilization… What if we can over come it and populate the entire KNOWN universe..,. What? well then… then we would have become the entropy itself… so entropy still wins!

    That still relies on the fact that we can sustain ourselves forever… Will the universe go on forever? Probably not. It may collapse on itself…so says quantum gravity. Can we punch a hole to another dimension? Who knows.

    But don’t you see this is the problem. Always trying to fight… Always trying to not go quietly into the night…

    I don’t like this… because it’s too ego-driven. Which I think will ultimately lead to FREAKING OUT… And spiral us into the abyss…

  242. RMBWhat Says:

    Well.. that’s part of it… Human existence is part of it all… our very existence is the result of entropy. Our ultimate doom is but an entropic exercise… Which I think is awesome…!!! All hail entropy!

    I’ve seen it clearly… The moment… the dendrite reaching out to touch the past and the future, electrifying me with the energy as all of existence melt. This is awesome… When that day comes… when entropy takes me… I shall enjoy it.

  243. Nobody Says:

    RMBWhat: “This is awesome… When that day comes… when entropy takes me… I shall enjoy it.”

    I enjoyed your free flow of thoughts….Entropy is part of the cycle of life and therefore all things live forever. Although most likely will not reincarnate into the same energy or material form. The sand on the beach were once rocks, and before that they were vegetations and before that who knows, could have been an asteriod or a screw in a space ship serving the emperor of another universe.

    Whatever are considered bad also have their places in the universe for the overall good. We’ve taken a lot of things for granted, yet our imagination are limited only by our will. Science wanna prove, the spirit of man wanna experience, hence the lament, “As far as the east is to the west, never the twain shall meet.” But even that may be possible. For every once in an infinity, what is perceived as the east meets what is perceived as the west at the moment when the universe collapses.

    This is a world ruled by philosophy kings, where science is but a branch of a very large branchy tree. And this very large tree is planted in the garden of earth-bound reality next to the river of temporal life that flows from the mountain of energy, that reaches up into the sky of sovereignty, which touches but the atomic fringes of the universe of truth. It is never imbued in human to know and to judge. The rest of earth’s life forms live and exist as such. Why then do we wonder and fear, other then to faithfully follow the biddings of our instincts-to-survive, as a mere species?

    For good and for bad, philosophy turns into religion in order to enhance the power of rulership. All religions are but the derivation of the worship of the perceptible and mystery of heavenly phenomena. i.e. the Sun, the moon, the stars etc. The wonder of nature whether observed in a forest green, in the ocean deep, or high up on a mountain white, we are inevitably striken with awe. Or observed through the lenses of an electron-microscope of the smallest atom to the widescreen reproduction of Panavision cameras of the Grand Canyon, to the projection in Omni-max of the known universe, our knees weaken and our hearts lifted as our bodies are drawn to genuflect and our souls groan, uttering jibberishes, we call prayers. I once saw a girl, and I experienced the same reaction.

    Nevertheless, true LOVE is much less romantic. Its infection gives but a little joy, demands a lot of attention mixed in with plenty of heartaches, and altogether ego-slaying. And, guess what? It is the only driving force that can sustain and keep the world going round and round.

    I am an agnostic because I believe the source of love is way way way beyond the tyrany of any philosophy and religion. I am a simple man with very simple belief.

    By the way, I am a Chinese and proud to be politically incorrect. So, go ahead, mock me. Peace be with y’all :-)

  244. TommyBahamas Says:

    #238 …….Incidentally, I have two friends in China, both women, who have never been outside the country and never had a foreign English teacher. If you talked to them on the phone, you would never suspect they were Chinese. For me, pronunciation is more important than extensive vocabulary. These two had both so I’m with TommyBahamas [#235] on this one

    THANKS Steve~!

    RMBWhat & my buddy, Nobody are probably smoking leaves from the same patch / source…Haha, Just kidding.

  245. Ted Says:

    Steve: I think my girlfriend was just blindsided. We’ve talked about it alot since and all’s well:) Again, I’ve far more good experiences than bad.

    TommyBahamas #236: I think I argee partly with your answer to the question, “Are the above phenomena Racism or UN-PC-ness?”

    I think in every case it starts with ignorance and the end result depends on the event that triggers a person to display their ignorance. With the guy at ChinaSmack it was an incident with some Japanese that stirred some deep set feelings and ignorance tipped toward racism. As I said before, it seems like at some point people just decide not to rationalize anymore. They get tired of trying to understand (that’s certainly true in the workplace).

    With the hiring of foreign teachers I think it starts with ignorance, but allowing the practice to seep into business perpetuates the stereotypes and when the wrong event comes along, the entrenched ignorance swings in a dangerous direction. If China want’s to be a leader on the issue, I think more direction will have to come from the top-down.

    BTW, Re: ChinaSmack article. My roommate is Japanese and every time we cook out he and his friends scream at every bite of food. Drunken BBQ’s are even louder and more fun, although maybe not so for our neighbors:) (I need to upgrade my smileys).

    re: Dashan. I’m a tall, thin, white American who wears glasses so I’m thoroughly familiar with Big Mountain:)

  246. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Ted #233:
    “students were complaining about learning from an Asian” – and unfortunately, I think that says more about the students themselves, then about the company who hires the teachers. The company is running a business, and they need to market a product that their customers want. To me, if i want to learn English, I’d want the person most qualified to teach it to me, no matter if he/she is white/yellow/green. If the students somehow think that “white” is better, then they have much more to learn than just English. The irony is that they’re judging their teacher not by the quality of teaching, but by the colour of his/her skin. For lack of a better word, that’s “auto-racism”. And it’s just as pathetic as any other form.

  247. Ted Says:

    @S.K. #246 Agree. It can get hazy if you think of it in terms of customer preference, just look at the fashion industry. I was just sorry about the way my coworker was treated. If the students knew how sketchy some of these average looking white guys were they’d be begging for an Asian or African teacher. But hey, the market will learn at some point :-)

  248. Miss L Says:

    Hey there, Allen. There are many interesting and easy to read insights within this article and I would like to use part or all of it when I teach my high school history classes sometime in the future, with the source cited, of course. Do you have any qualms about this?

  249. Allen Says:

    @Miss L,

    The point of a blog like this is open discourse. I’m sure no one would mind you using any of their work posted here. In fact … I am sure most would be honored…!

  250. Hongkonger Says:

    http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/10/my_beijing_birthday_now_in_bei.php

    Has anyone seen “My birthday in Beijing”?

    Here’s Howie Synder talking to CNN

    http://www.mybeijingbirthday.com/index1.php#media

  251. Wei Says:

    I don’t think white people are more restrain in term of race words. He just like to think better of himself.
    I am not going to judge American as a whole as racist just because one I meet was being racist. I wish the person that write that would understand that.

  252. bt Says:

    @Wei 251

    Hi Wei,

    Are you new to the forum? If yes, welcome aboard :)
    “I don’t think white people are more restrain in term of race words.” … true, very true. In every language, and some very imaginative!

    “He just like to think better of himself.” … you are entitled to your comments. Is there any problem in dealing with people without taking into account their skin colour? It’s not only Politically Correct (BTW, this PC stuff is much more important in USA than in Europe…might be cos of history), might also be I-don’t-give-a-damn-your-colour-ness.

    “I am not going to judge American as a whole as racist just because one I meet was being racist. I wish the person that write that would understand that.” … true, and I won’t judge 1.5 bilions Chinese for a couple of ‘gweilos’ I hear behind my back.

  253. Wei Says:

    What is politically incorrect?

    I don’t really understand what that mean?

  254. Wukailong Says:

    In my early teens, a close relative once told me that she had seen “a man that was so black he was blue” the other day while shopping.

    Yesterday, as I was taking the subway back home, a heard a group of elementary school students discussing other races, and there was this guy saying “我昨天看到了一个特别黑的黑人!” (yesterday I saw a really black black person!)

    It struck me as quite similar. Racist? No, can’t say that. Less sensitive? Sure.

  255. Wukailong Says:

    Wei: “Politically incorrect” refers to opinions or sayings that are generally considered bad or offensive, like racism. When somebody is accused of being “politically correct” it usually means that they are hiding up problems and prefer to talk nice instead of acknowledging these problems.

    These days, when people call themselves “politically incorrect”, they usually want to pride themselves for daring to go against the mainstream.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_correctness

  256. Allen Says:

    @Wei,

    According to entries made to Urban Dictionary, here are some ideas what “political correctness” might mean to different people. Here is one entry: Political Correctness = Proof that George Orwell was way ahead of his time when he wrote his “1984″ novel. Examples include:

    midget = vertically challenged
    fat = horizontally challenged
    perverted = sexually dysfunctional
    alive = temporarily metabolically abled
    Negro = African American
    Indian = Native American
    Anyone from Central America, South America, or the Carribean = Hispanic
    body odor = nondiscretionary fragrance
    dishonese = ethically disoriented
    gay = different
    wrong = differently logical
    dead = living impaired
    pregnant = parasitically opressed
    fired = laid off
    poor = financially inept
    homeless = residentially flexible
    tall = person of height
    garbage-man = sanitation engineer
    blind = visually challenged

    Check out the link above, there are other ideas…

    As for my take? I think Political Correctness is a kind of pressure to conform. If I have to make an analogy to modern Chinese experience, it’s sort of like Maoist speak that took place during the Cultural Revolution. You have to say things that show you are in line – i.e. patriotic or a good communist, depending on the situation.

    Here in the the West, starting in the late 1980′s, you show you are “in line” by proving that you are an enlightened liberal…

  257. bt Says:

    “pregnant = parasitically opressed” … that’s Alien, not pregnancy, haha :)

  258. barny chan Says:

    It seems that a lot of the responses here follow on from Allen’s misleading comment in the original post: “I believe the author falls into many pitfalls that many Westerners make when it comes to Asian racism.”

    Well, the guy who wrote the TIME (not The Times) story isn’t “Western”. He, and his name’s Zoher Abdoolcarim, is Asian. He was born in Hong Kong, his family are of Indian descent, and he’s fluent in Cantonese. The most cursory google search would have revealed this information which makes me think that the intention to mislead may be deliberate.

    The reality is that Hong Kong is one of the most racist cities on the planet. It’s a place that’s made no progress whatsoever when it comes to racial tolerance. Anybody who isn’t ethnically Chinese can’t get through a single day without racial epithets being muttered in their direction.

  259. Allen Says:

    @barny chan,

    Welcome to Foolsmountain. Thanks for pointing out ZOHER ABDOOLCARIM’s background (see here).

    To be honest, I didn’t bother to check out the background of the author because frankly my point was regarding Western perceptions vs. Eastern perceptions – not perception of individual Westerner vs. Easterner.

    I hope you can distinguish the difference – i.e. an Easterner can harbor Western attitudes and vice versa. After all, wouldn’t you agree that Abdoolcarim writes from a “Western” – not the “racist” “Chinese” or “Hong Kong” – perspective…? ;-)

    Anyways – you sound like the feisty type. Hope you can stick around for a while … so we can have time to debate more substantively.

    I’m off traveling for a few weeks starting tomorrow – so I won’t be able to engage in any type of substantive discussion with you for now.

  260. barny chan Says:

    Allen, thanks for responding.

    I have no difficulty understanding that “an Easterner can harbor Western attitudes and vice versa”. The problem with this thread is that apparently everybody took your original statement that “the author falls into many pitfalls that many Westerners make when it comes to Asian racism” at face value and ran with it to the point where, rather than being an individual with a valid perspective on Hong Kong attitudes, he became a cliche of the dumb monolingual white guy with an Asian mail order bride bumbling his way myopically and judgementally through Chinese culture.

    Surely an acknowledgement of his background would have allowed for a much more nuanced and, therefore, valuable debate.

  261. Allen Says:

    @barny chan #260,

    You wrote:

    [Mr. ABDOOLCARIM] became a cliche of the dumb monolingual white guy with an Asian mail order bride bumbling his way myopically and judgementally through Chinese culture.

    Surely an acknowledgement of his background would have allowed for a much more nuanced and, therefore, valuable debate

    You are right. And the fault is entirely mine.

    To be honest, my point wasn’t about laughing at a dumb foreigner … and based on many of the reactions in the comments, I don’t think people here took it as he was.

    In any case, the article really was just a tool for me to discuss what I really wanted to discuss, namely should racial stereotypes in societies that never went through the trauma of colonial conquest, genocide, and mass slavery be considered racist?

    I don’t think so. My reason is that we make generalizations all the time. People form first impressions based on people’s height, the firmness of their handshakes, how they walk, whether people slouch or not, the style (or quantity, as the case may be) of their hair, smell of cosmetic, sense of humor, how much money they make, etc., etc. All these are trivial and stupid, in my view.

    But to the extent that we do tolerate these, why should we not also tolerate stereotyping based on skin color? The only answer I can find is because of history: racist prejudices have been stoked and manipulated to justify various political ideologies that oppress (i.e. justifying colonialism, slavery, apartheid, genocide, etc.).

    To me, it is important to separate mere stereotyping from what at its root is what makes racism so disgusting and disdainful – i.e. political oppression.

    Anyways … let’s discuss more if you like to after I get back in a few weeks (they are calling for my flight now). I have no hidden ideology or motives to prove – except to argue the idea (right or wrong) that we should not take Chinese racism that indignantly … that Chinese racism should be evaluated against China’s unique history and political context, and is – in my view – in general more associated with ignorance than symptomatic of or indicative of political oppression.

  262. barny chan Says:

    Allen, I look forward to your return and taking the discussion further.

    In the meantime, here’s something to brood on: Abdoolcarim used the Williams incident as a hook to reflect on attitudes to race throughout Asia (not just China), but I believe that Hong Kong has a uniquely disfunctional attitude to race that doesn’t lend itself easily to larger conclusions. The city can never excuse its startlingly high levels of racism with the standard and, to a certain extent, valid Chinese excuse of “ignorance of other races” because families like Abdoolcarim’s have a had a presence there for longer than many of the tycoon families who, effectively, run the city. Hong Kong culture represents the very worst class ridden and xenophobic tendencies of both British colonial and Chinese culture.

  263. maltwhiskman Says:

    Jerry @ 128 has it right.
    Usually devil’s advocates are a bit on the clever side, but Allen has perfected a dumb version. Good job! Don’t go reading a pile of history books and ruin yourself now.

  264. Li Xiang-Wen Says:

    I think you are overreacting. “黑鬼” means black ghost/devil. But Chinese ghosts/devils are not necessarily evil, they are just fearsome and mighty figures. For example, in Journey to the West, Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, is a demon. But he is not a reviled figure, indeed, he’s more of a folk hero and a champion of Buddhism.

    Thus, I am inclined to think that “黑鬼” is more of a sort of colloquialism referring to Serena William’s inhuman strength and agility. For example, Michael Phelps is the devil of the pool; perhaps a similar way to put in English is remarking that somebody must have made a deal with the devil to be that skilled.

  265. Allen Says:

    @barny chan #262,

    I’m back from my trip. If you like to continue our discussions, I’d love to!

    On the other hand, if you want to write a piece of Hong Kong’s “uniquely disfunctional attitude to race” – or any other thing that may be on your mind regarding Hong Kong and/or China, you may simply go to the “Publish” page and enter an entry (I will briefly review and promote it to the main page).

    Alternatively, you may email me a piece (my email is given in the “About” page) – and I can enter it for you. (All things being equal – I prefer you “Publish” it yourself! :-) )

    Best,

    Allen

  266. TonyP4 Says:

    Venus William is not a black devil to me – she is just a monster. :)

    I was less discriminative (not racist) when I was in Hong Kong as most folks I grew up with were the same race. Actually I am more discriminative now for the following reason.

    If I have to be operated by a black physician, I need to ask whether s/he got this position due to the affirmative action. I will not ask if s/he is Asian as I know how hard the Asians study and work. My life depends on it.

    Same if I hire a financial planner. My finance depends on it.

    I would not drive through a ghetto (particularly in a black neighborhood) at night unless I have a bullet-proof car. My life depends on it.

    I do not disallow my children to marry black. However, I want them to ask how many of their close relatives are in prison and/or collecting welfare. Your close relatives and friends influence your life.

    There are many good black citizens including the one elected. However, the majority of the black is far behind the average and even behind the newly arrived immigrants. Their culture (with too many single parent families) and our generous welfare could be their problem.

    You can call me discriminative but not a racist.

  267. Tom Says:

    Barny Chan, “The reality is that [Hong Kong] is one of the most racist cities on the planet.”

    Tsk -Tsk., tsk….”The reality,” did you say? I would love to agree with you but since
    I’ve lived and worked in many countries, I find the above statement to be true/flase with every place, country or culture.

    Hong Kong is not a racist place, some people who lives in Hong Kong are – just as there are plenty of simpletons like Barny Chan anywhere you went with there self righteous indignation and sweeping generalisational crap.

    I am going back to “racist Hong Kong” to hang out with my “racist” HK Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Samoan, American, Canadian, Australian, Philippino and European buddies -I am staying away from the righteous Barny Chans of the world.

  268. TonyP4 Says:

    Hong Kongese are not racist, but have strong class discrimination like many other Chinese cities.

    The children from same social class normally marry each other. For marriages with different classes, they have banquets on different floor. The white collar folks seldom socialize with blue collar folks, and vice versa. They middle class seldom swear with bad language. Children go to different schools except those who pass the primary exam. with flying color. Folks maintain social class status by eating in expensive restaurants and driving fancy cars.

    One reason could be the huge salary difference. A small factory manager could be paid 20 times the lowest one.

  269. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To TonyP4 #266:
    “You can call me discriminative but not a racist.” – well, don’t mean to get all wrapped up in semantics, but if you discriminate on the basis of race, then in my lexicon you are by definition the latter.

    I agree that you can’t characterize an entire city/state/nation as racist (or any other trait, for that matter), because you can’t possibly know that to be true of every individual in that domain.

    But to question a physician’s ability strictly on the basis of his colour, to me, is flawed, and, begging your pardon, racist. Perhaps that physician got into college based on affirmative action. But, correct me if I’m wrong, I didn’t think there was affirmative action as it applies to graduate level programs like medical school. Even if there was, this person still had to pass exams to qualify him/her as a doctor, and then a bunch more to qualify as a surgeon. And there’s certainly no affirmative action when it comes to passing a test. So by virtue of a person having shown the requisite qualifications for becoming a surgeon (ie passing all the required exams), that person is qualified regardless if he/she is white, yellow, brown, black, pink, green. So if you question a black surgeon’s ability for no other reason than his blackness, that’s racist.

    Same goes for your finances. Would you hire an Asian planner for NO OTHER reason than he/she being Asian? I’d much rather a top-shelf financial planner who happens to be black, than an Asian planner who happens to be stupid.

    I live in Canada. We have a much smaller percentage of blacks in our population. But if you drove through one of our “ghetto’s”, it would be similarly wise to lock your doors. See, a ghetto is a ghetto, and a gun is a gun…the colour of your would-be assailant doesn’t really matter.

    As for your child’s choice of mate, I would similarly suggest that you ascertain family backgrounds even if they’re white, Asian, or otherwise. Whites, Asians, and others form part of the prison population too.

    As I’ve said many times before, you don’t need to like every black person (or yellow person, or white person, or blue person). But to presume that you don’t like someone based on nothing but their colour is racist. That to me is black and white.

  270. Jerry Says:

    @TonyP4 #266
    @S.K. Cheung #269

    #266

    Tony, several comments. Just a disclaimer, what follows are anecdotes and opinions. They are not an attempt to prove anything.

    If I have to be operated by a black physician, I need to ask whether s/he got this position due to the affirmative action. I will not ask if s/he is Asian as I know how hard the Asians study and work. My life depends on it. …

    I do not disallow my children to marry black. However, I want them to ask how many of their close relatives are in prison and/or collecting welfare. Your close relatives and friends influence your life.

    My daughter’s boyfriend, Kevin, is black. His parents are from Jamaica. He grew up in NYC. They met in medical school. Kevin went to Yale where he got a BS in biomechanical engineering. He then got an MPH. He is in his 3rd year of medical school. I have no idea whether he was the beneficiary of “affirmative action”.

    Kevin is very intelligent. He works very hard and is very frugal. He is very good to my daughter. I like him a lot. I have never met his parents.

    My daughter had many Asian and Asian-American friends during 4 years at USC and at her medical school. My daughter has told me that a number of the Asian students were very “grade” oriented. What percentage, I don’t know. She has indicated to me that no matter how hard they worked or how high their test scores, she would not trust them as her doctor. She is glad they are proficient and knowledgeable. She just wants her doctor to be, as she described it, “A little bit more human and caring.” Again, this is her opinion. I also have a saying, “I care about how much you know. Nonetheless, I care more about knowing how much you care.”

    Regarding “affirmative action”, what about the Good Old Boys’ Club, otherwise known as “White Affirmative Action”? Our current Prez Shrub (GWB) is a shining example. His dad, GHWB, bought his way through Yale undergraduate and business school. And numerous business ventures, including the Texas Rangers.

    John McCain III was in the lower part of his class at the Naval Academy. I always wonder what part Admiral John McCain, Jr. played in getting his son into and through the Naval Academy and the USN. Yet John III ended up as a US Senator and the GOP nominee for president.

    Do you ever wonder what part Joe Kennedy played in getting his son, John F. Kennedy, into the US Senate and White House?

    Do you ever wonder about “White Privilege”? I do.

    There are many good black citizens including the one elected. However, the majority of the black is far behind the average and even behind the newly arrived immigrants. Their culture (with too many single parent families) and our generous welfare could be their problem.

    I think your explanation of the “problem” is too simplistic for my taste. Slave-owners, when they bought slaves, often ripped apart families. Destruction of the family unit can cause severe problems for generations. This probably contributed to whatever problems certain blacks have even now.

    I have a question for you. If you or your children were in law school at U of Chicago, taking a class on constitutional law, would you have asked Professor Obama (a relatively unknown person at that time) if he was there because of affirmative action? Or would you have asked a white professor if his daddy had bought his way through law school.

    BTW, I have driven through Patterson, NJ, Cincinnati, OH, Cleveland, OH, the Bronx in NYC, Boston, MA, New Orleans, LA, Miami, FL, Los Angeles, CA, the USC campus which is in Watts, East Oakland, CA, San Jose, CA, Chicago, IL and many other American cities with ghettos. I drove both during the day and night. I have never once been shot at.

    You can call me discriminative but not a racist.

    No, I think your attitude is racist, at least IMHO.

    —————-

    #269

    SK, you are alive. I have missed you. Glad to see you back. :)

    You make some very good points.

    Same goes for your finances. Would you hire an Asian planner for NO OTHER reason than he/she being Asian? I’d much rather a top-shelf financial planner who happens to be black, than an Asian planner who happens to be stupid.

    I have heard that there are a number of “intelligent” Jewish investors in Palm Beach, LA and NYC who are very angry with another Jew, Bernie Madoff. It seems that he stole their money. But he is Jewish. He would never do that to another Jew. Never. :D ::LMAO::

    Like my 87 year-old Jewish dad has told me innumerable times, “Never trust anybody!” ::LMAO:: ;)

  271. TonyP4 Says:

    S.K. #269.

    Trying to protect one self with a discrimination against a social group is not a crime or a racist act.

    Affirmative actions lets a lot of unqualified students get into good schools. Equal Opportunities lets some land on good jobs. My dean in the graduate school told us, “Even in our recession, if I can find any black woman with minimum qualification, I have to hire her.” Is his action anti-racist to protect his job by passing a quota? You are talking about a professor’s job in a good college.

    I do not have problem in going thru the white ghetto which is South Boston, but I will never play basketball game there. The shooting even in day time in our black ghetto is frequent.

    Check the percentage of black jail population and the black collecting welfare in any American city. Statistics never lies.

    I hope the black will be better citizen and I sincerely hope our society will help them without throwing money and giving handouts. Judging from the terrible drop out rate, poor passing in basic skill tests, single parent families & high teenagers with babies, they will not be in my generation.

    I should say there are many exceptions including our president elect.

  272. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry:
    glad you too are well. Heard you were looking for me. It’s like I never left, since this thread is still going.

    Ah, Madoff. Seems his time at Nasdaq has taught him well, insofar as skirting regulators….at least for a time. So I guess Ponzi/pyramid schemes don’t just sucker in widows and senile retirees; if players like HSBC can get suckered in, us little guys don’t stand a chance. And whatever happened to due diligence?

    My dad’s line was: “if it’s too good to be true, it’s false” (he doesn’t have time for nuances like “probably”).

  273. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Tony P4 #271:
    “Trying to protect one self with a discrimination against a social group (black and lower society) is not a crime or a racist act.” – it’s not a crime, but insofar as directed towards blacks, it is racist, at least in my book.

    “He is anti-racist to protect his job by passing a quota.” – no one is questioning the reality of affirmative action. But this has nothing to do with your physician example, and hardly justifies it.

    I’m glad you feel at home with the Southies. I know when I ventured there previously, my doors were locked.

    Statistics are what they are. Though I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say they never lie….it’s all in how you massage the numbers. Nonetheless, it’s racist if you take statistics, and apply it to the black person standing next to you in the elevator (or wherever), whom you’ve never met. And that’s been my point, seemingly made ad nauseum. If you are prejudging someone based simply on the colour of their skin, that’s racism.

  274. Allen Says:

    @TonyP4 #271,

    You wrote:

    Check the percentage of black jail population and the rate of collecting welfare in any American cities. Statistics never lie.

    I hope the black will be better citizen and I sincerely hope our society will help them to get out.

    It’s true statistics don’t lie … however the meaning of statistics is always debatable.

    On one level, there is the issue of what factors are controlled for. In the most basic case, it may be that most blacks belong to a lower economic class, have less economic opportunities, live in more downtrodden neighborhoods, etc. The statistics that blacks run into the law at a higher rate than other groups may be simply a reflection of those factors, not whether they are black or white.

    On a second level, there is also the issue of why blacks are in jail at a higher rate. Is the government failing blacks in schools – hence allowing the temptations of crime to reach the black population at a higher rate? Are police targeting blacks? Is the law or application of the law systematically unfair?

    On a third level, the statistics also raise questions regarding societal responsibilities. Are vestiges of slavery still casting a shadow over today’s society? Is social discrimination against blacks still holding blacks back? Are blacks victims of economic slavery?

    Anyways – just want to raise the flag that sometimes the story behind the statistics may raise more important issues than the alleged face of the statistics.

  275. TonyP4 Says:

    #273 and #274

    S.K. & Allen, you guys have good points. I just play the devil advocate. A lot of time expressing the truth is not politically correct. I am no racist, have few contact with black except the great joy with our president elect, but need to protect myself.

    * I bet neither of you would venture to a black ghetto at night. I went to white ghetto many times. Is it racist venturing to white ghetto but not black ghetto?

    * Even the black do not use ‘slavery’ for their own argument. It has been outdated. The black have same opportunity as any one else – ask Obama.

    * Is it racist to separate black in looking for statistics for cancer?

    * Is it racist to discriminate against a group based on what they’ve done via statistics?

  276. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung #269, 272, 273

    Ah, SK, you cut it so clearly! I have missed you, a lot! Yeah, I was looking for you.

    #269

    But to question a physician’s ability strictly on the basis of his colour, to me, is flawed, and, begging your pardon, racist. Perhaps that physician got into college based on affirmative action. But, correct me if I’m wrong, I didn’t think there was affirmative action as it applies to graduate level programs like medical school. Even if there was, this person still had to pass exams to qualify him/her as a doctor, and then a bunch more to qualify as a surgeon. And there’s certainly no affirmative action when it comes to passing a test. So by virtue of a person having shown the requisite qualifications for becoming a surgeon (ie passing all the required exams), that person is qualified regardless if he/she is white, yellow, brown, black, pink, green. So if you question a black surgeon’s ability for no other reason than his blackness, that’s racist.

    Amen, brother. Oops, before I call you brother, I should check out your family first. :D

    Your description of the exams is quite exact. The MCATs, USMLE Boards and USMLE proficiency tests after each rotation in 3rd and 4th years are grueling. And they are race-, color- and gender-neutral. Furthermore, getting into medical school is grueling. For instance, at my daughter’s school (she was on the admission committee for 2 years), there were 6500 applicants for 175 openings. Getting residency matches and doing away-rotations at other schools is also grueling. I will never forget the many phone calls from my daughter during which I “held her hand”, consoled her, and just listened.

    And personally knowing Kevin, a future orthopedic surgeon, who happens to be black, has provided me with insights. He just has one fault (probably related to growing up in the Bronx); he is a Yankees’ fan. Oy vey.

    #272

    I like your dad’s line. I use something similar.

    Yeah, Madoff just ended up being a previously well-respected con man. A con man who conned some people who should have known better. $50,000,000,000, give or take a few billion. Wow. Pretty amazing.

    In addition to HSBC, even some of those brilliant geniuses at some of the hedge funds were taken. Considering Madoff and the Wall Street Financial Meltdown Scandal, we have a full-blown “crisis of confidence”. And no amount of money thrown at Wall Street or elsewhere will resolve that. BTW, the last time I saw an accounting of the scandal out at Bloomberg, The Fed and Treasury are now on the hook for somewhere around $9 to $10 trillion ($9,000,000,000,000 to $10,000,000,000,000). That is some serious money. Oy vey!

    Maybe greed knows no bounds? I think so.

    #273

    “If you are prejudging someone based simply on the colour of their skin, that’s racism.”

    Amen, one more time. SK, you have a way with words. :D

  277. Jerry Says:

    @TonyP4 #275

    Tony, you wrote:

    A lot of time expressing the truth is not politically correct.

    “Truth” is a very slippery thing. I usually couch it with terms such as “in my viewpoint”, “the way I see it” or “in my opinion”. What is empirical truth? To me, it is ok to say your opinion or viewpoint. When you say, “expressing the truth”, I become very skeptical.

    Vestiges of slavery can last for generations, especially when you look at the damage to their families and culture. You wrote, “Even the black do not use ’slavery’ for their own argument.” That is a pretty broad statement, IMHO. Sounds like the “black swan problem” to me. Again, skepticism arises in me when I read that statement.

    “Is it racist to separate black in looking for statistics for cancer?” Not necessarily. For instance, sickle cell anemia seems to be more prevalent in the African American and African populations. Tay-Sachs and Canavan diseases are more prevalent in Ashkenazi Jews. Thalassemia is more prevalent in Mediterranean populations, the Maldives and certain areas in Asia. That said, eugenics is racist, IMHO.

  278. Allen Says:

    @TonyP4 #275,

    No, no … I don’t consider you racist – definitely not in a judgmental way. In fact, I appreciate your candor.

    As for you questions: no I wouldn’t venture out to a black ghetto at night. I also know that for many drugs and diseases, it is better to have certain separate studies based on race (they are not done because it is not yet economical to do such tests).

  279. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung

    BTW, how is the weather in your area? All I know is you are from Canada. I know the weather is pretty bleak, blustery and cold in Detroit and Seattle.

    And when are you ever going to get rid of Harper? Suspending parliament? Wow, he has surely taken some lessons from Cheney. What a bully!

    Oy vey.

  280. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry,

    what can I say, the weather outside is frightful, and while snow can certainly be delightful in the proper context, like beneath a snowboard, there can be too much of a good thing, and it’s getting to that point in my neck o’ woods.

    As for Canadian politics, proroguing (trying saying that fast three times) had generated the most excitement in some time…moreso than the election that preceded it, that’s for sure. As for Harper, I’m hoping Ignatieff has a better shot of unseating him. In the meantime, if anyone has pictures of Harper in bed with a live man or dead woman, now’d be a good time to stick it on YouTube.

  281. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung #280

    Ah, the weather outside may be frightful, even in Seattle, where it has been below 0° C for a week and much the same in Detroit. Only they are more prepared in Detroit for this kind of weather. There are perks to this kind of weather. Remember the new Honda CRV I bought for my daughter for graduation from medical school. Well, I got this email message from her the other day.

    It’s mornings like today that I’m especially grateful for my car. Because even if there are crazy amounts of snow on the ground, I don’t have to worry about getting to work.

    Makes her dad feel pretty good to get a nice little message like that occasionally. And, for Christmas, she sent me Tony Bennett’s and Count Basie Orchestra’s new album, “Swinging Christmas”. Put tears in my eyes and a smile in my heart. :) She knows what her daddy likes. :D

    BTW, it got up to 27° here today in Taipei. Grateful for the small things. Unfortunately, the pollution sucks. We are at 250% of WHO max pollution for PM10 (particulate matter <= 10 µ), 150% of the ozone max, and nearly 300% of max PM2.5 (particulate matter <= 2.5 µ, the most dangerous of PM, because it lodges in your lungs). Hence, I don’t ride outside on days like today; I just use my Lemond Revmaster indoors, watching old TDF DVDs. Vive le Tour!

    You know, I had never heard that term, proroguing, before in my life until I saw it in an article on this mess with Harper. And I had taken 5 years of French and 3 years of Latin. The etymology (pro rogare) is pretty interesting, at least for the semanticist in me. I saw the word and thought of the erstwhile homonym, perogis. Then I thought piroshki and of course, knish and then samosa. Oh, how the mind wanders. I can actually say “proroguing” fast 3 times (It sounds E. European to my tongue).

    Yeah, this sure beats the election. I know nothing about Ignatieff and a little about Dion. Slate compared this to what is going on in Thailand. ::LOL:: This is excitement. Does this mean Dosanjh could someday be PM? Wouldn’t that be something? I like Dosanjh. At least he doesn’t get DUIs in Hawaii.

    Sorry, no pictures of Stephen with a live man or dead woman in bed. Or cows, horses, dogs or pigs for that matter. :D I am sure that somebody could Photoshop that for you. ::LOL::

    BTW, I heard that one of the gondola towers at Whistler had collapsed. Everybody ok?

  282. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry,
    you are an American like few others. You can dabble in centigrade, you can quote metric scale to the (-)6th power, and you exercise!?! I hope you’re riding with your LiveStrong wrist band.
    Your knowledge of Canadian politics is also several SD’s above the mean. You’re probably right up there with Ambassador Wilkins, and even he probably couldn’t name the former and present premiers of an actual Canadian province, let alone their personal experiences with mugshots.

    The gondola collapsed due to “ice-jacking” – learn something new everyday. Might give me pause next time I’m on a lift and it goes bumpety-bump.

  283. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung #282

    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays. It is Christmas morning here in Taipei. It is the 4th day of Hanukkah; it started at sundown on Dec 21.

    Thanks for the compliment. I am just me. Ah yes, dabbling in C°, µ’s, and SDs (σ’s). When I was at MS, computational complexity and performance analysis put me into the world of clock ticks and nanoseconds. I have always been weird. :D ::LOL::

    I used to have a LiveStrong band. I gave a number away to friends and my kids. But, that is Lance’s gig. I was riding yesterday and thought about you and your remarks.

    I am a big fan of Vancouver, BC, and Victoria, too. When my daughter was 19, she was a big fan of the lower drinking age. :) BTW, my daughter is a major-league fan of Robson Street in Vancouver, as are most shopaholics. I remember her shopping 8 years ago, running from shop to shop. She kept saying that Canadian money was practically free, so she had to shop. With my money, of course. :D

    I have many fond memories of Vancouver and Victoria, except for the sewage situation in Victoria. My favorite hotel is the Empress, right out on the Inner Harbor. I love the ferry rides from Sidney to Tsawwassen and meandering by the Gulf Islands. I love Granville Island, Kitsilano, Grouse Mountain, Buchart Gardens, and Stanley Park. I love the Galloping Goose bike trail up to Sooke Harbor. I have not been back to Vancouver since before the big winds knocked down lots of trees in the park. I wonder what it looks like now. BTW, I happened to be in Vancouver when Gordo won, in a landslide, the election over Dosanjh for the BC Premiership. BTW 2, I don’t have fond memories of Glen Clark.

    And how can I forget Vaughn Palmer’s weekly commentaries on KUOW’s Weekday show and KCTS Connects.

    Wishing you the best.

  284. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Jerry,

    Happy Hanukkah. BTW, if you are remotely fond of Adam Sandler, you should check out his Hanukkah song v3.0. I found it quite funny, like the earlier iterations.

    Ah, Victoria. There’s nothing that says you’re going “green” more than pouring raw sewage into the ocean literally out your back door. Somehow, I don’t think Gordo was emphasizing that when he had face time with the Terminator a while back.

    Your daughter should have no trouble indulging in the gratuitous use of our “funny money”, since she’s just a bridge away from WIndsor. She should realize though that our money’s worth a little more than it was 8 years ago. No more 60 cent dollars.

    Didn’t realize Palmer had a show on Seattle TV. That guy gets around.

    Best of the season to you in Taipei.

  285. huhu Says:

    The Middle Kingdom mentality
    At last China’s culture of racism is being contested by Chinese

    Martin Jacques
    Saturday April 16, 2005

    Guardian

    Condoleezza Rice’s recent visit to east Asia concluded in Beijing, where she made clear her opposition to the new anti-secession law and her view that Japan should be a permanent member of the UN security council. With Sino-Japanese relations deteriorating and unification of Taiwan with China regarded as non-negotiable by the Chinese, it is hardly surprising that these remarks did not go down well. But what has not been reported in the western media is the reception Rice was given.
    One way of taking the temperature in China is the internet, a very important indicator of public opinion in a country where more traditional media are tightly controlled. The importance of – and recent upsurge in – nationalism, for example, has found powerful expression on Chinese websites. The internet response to Rice’s visit has been revealing. The racist character of much of it has moved liberals to protest, most significantly Liu Xiaobo, a veteran critic of mass movements in China since Tiananmen, who has written a response on the New Century Net website.

    He says that of 800 messages he has read about her visit, no less than 70 involved racist comments about her colour: of these, only two were relatively moderate; the rest were vicious, describing Rice as a “black ghost”, “black dog”, “black woman” and “black bitch”. One stated, “You are not even like a black ghost, a really low form of life,” and another, “Her brain is even more black than her skin.” One writer said: “I don’t support racism, but this black ghost really makes people angry, the appearance of a little black who has made good.”

    In fact, the reaction is not that surprising. Although it is rarely written about or commented upon, Chinese culture remains deeply racist. For the most part, the Chinese are in denial of their own racism, while white commentators, in their great majority, are either oblivious of it, or simply regard it as unimportant. Intended or unintended, this is an integral part of the white mentality, a product of the fact that whites never experience systemic racism and historically have meted out more than anyone else. Even liberals tend to look the other way.

    There are, of course, exceptions: the best book on Chinese racism, The Discourse of Race in Modern China, is by Frank Dikotter, a British academic. But in the recent – and welcome – avalanche of Chinese coverage, especially the BBC’s China week, for example, you would have been hard-pressed to find any reference to racism, except in the context of Tibet or Xinjiang province. Hong Kong was a British colony for almost 150 years and yet the racist attitude of the Chinese there towards people of darker skin was virtually never remarked upon. Needless to say, the British made no attempt to introduce anti-racist legislation.

    Chinese people commonly believe they are superior to those of darker skin. The attitude towards whites, as Liu points out in his article, is much more complex. They tend to acknowledge the historical achievements of the west, but at the same time resent western hegemony and despise aspects of western culture, many believing that at some point in the future the innate virtue of Chinese civilisation will again assert itself. The Chinese thus tend to display a combination of respect and envy, superiority and inferiority, towards western culture. It is difficult to think of another major culture – with the possible exception of the Japanese – that regards the west with such a sense of inner self-confidence. The fact that Rice is black in a country the Chinese view as essentially white must be profoundly confusing to a people – the Han Chinese – whose perception of their own nation is overwhelmingly monoracial.

    In a country with such a profoundly racist mentality – a product partly of long isolation and partly of a Han Chinese ideology that dates back thousands of years – it is encouraging to see writers contesting these prejudices. Nor is this discussion confined to China itself: recently there was a vigorous argument about Chinese racism among Malaysian Chinese on Malaysiakini, an important Malaysian website.

    The official position of the Chinese Communist party, of course, has always been anti-racist, but there is a world of difference between official attitudes and the deeply held prejudices of a people. The danger of not openly recognising such deeply held prejudices is that they are never seriously contested.

    Britain remains deeply racist, but there is also a culture of anti-racism, which has led, over the decades, to the creation of a body of anti-racist legislation and which has helped to shift attitudes and move the boundaries as to what is acceptable and unacceptable. In contrast, the problem in Hong Kong, for example, is that there is a culture of racism without any countervailing culture of anti-racism. When challenged, they deny that they are racist; the denial is not malevolent, it is a true reflection of their own culture’s complete lack of self-reflection about the subject.

    In an interview for the Guardian last week, a leading Chinese nationalist, Wang Xiaodong, described the attitudes of those who looked to the west and belittled China as “reverse racism”: “In my opinion, this is not very different from Hitler’s racism. The only difference between them and Hitler is that they direct this theory against their own race.” Self-denigration and the extermination of another race are entirely different matters, yet Wang conflates the two and thereby displays a disturbing ignorance concerning what racism actually is.

    China’s isolation, at least until recently, has meant that Chinese racism has been little felt elsewhere, apart from east Asia. But as China’s power and consequent influence grow exponentially, this is bound to change. Chinese attitudes will become increasingly familiar to the world, not least their racism. Of course, it remains true that white racism has had a far greater effect on the world over the past 400 years than any other. Even now, the racist nature of the west’s historical impact is greatly underestimated, reflected in the revival of a view of liberal imperialism as some kind of benevolent civilising mission.

    But nor should Chinese racism – and its concomitant nationalism – be underplayed. For a variety of reasons, it is unlikely to acquire or display the same ambitions of global aggrandisement and conquest that have typified western history, but its effects, uncontrolled and uncontested, could be extremely harmful. Racisms are not all the same; they vary according to the cultures they come from. Chinese racism, a product of the Middle Kingdom mentality, is distinctive and repugnant. It needs to be challenged by the Chinese themselves – and by the rest of the world.

    · Martin Jacques is a visiting fellow at the LSE Asia Research Centre.

    Posted by Phil Peterson on Saturday, April 16, 2005 at 07:59 AM in Race realism

  286. Kaz Jack Says:

    Chinese are racist . Not all but t’s definately there in all its ugliness. We’ve all become accustomed to labeling whites as racists but after living and working in SIngapore and Hong Kong – I was at the receiving end of racism from Chinese bosses who made my life hell ( I am a white woman) and made me feel bad, stupid and useless as a human being simply because I am white..
    sorry but I I went into the job situations with no preconceived ideas and was shocked and horrified by what I came across. I worked for singapores main newspaper the straits times and the level of bigotted racist behaviour and comments against everything non-chinese was astounding and quite disgusting

  287. Allen Says:

    @Kaz,

    To the extent you can – can you describe a little bit about your encounter with Chinese racism? I don’t want to argue. Whatever your experience is your experience. But I also wonder if it’s xenophobia or a sense of cultural superiority that you encountered – rather than racism per se.

  288. Kaz Jack Says:

    Hi Allen –

    In singapore in particular I was treated like I was stupid and inferior – my every move was micro-managed to the point where one of my chinese bosses kept a dossier of my mistakes (forgetting to include anything good i managed to do working under that kind of pressure) – it was like being brain-washed — I began to think that I was no good and even contemplated suicide once or twice – I was threatened with being fired regularly and kept behind and chastised by my boss until the early hours of the morning. I was told I was no good (despite having been successful in my career spanning 20 years with many accolades) and I should give up my career. Being foreigners the thought of being fired was a scary one as it meant being deported as my work visa would be cancelled…

    I grew up believing that we respect people of all races/colours/creed/gender/sexual persuasion.. it was difficult to get my head around being on the receiving end – maybe it can be defined as xenophobia or cultural superiority – but singapore has mny foreigners working there – in fact the place runs and is powered by a lot of foreign money and skills – the govt policy is to attract foreign skills – yet the people on the ground hold racist views – its weird ..
    I dont think its as bad for foreigners who come in taking senior positions but you lay your self open to a lot of abuse if you are under a racist’s power in the workplace

  289. Allen Says:

    @Kaz Jack,

    Seems like you got a jerk as a boss. Besides your work environment, what’s your take of the broader Singapore society?

  290. dai lo Says:

    i am chinese, but raised in usa. i have more foreign friends than chinese. i dont usually get along with chinese people. i am not racist, i just find foreigners more interesting. of my friends, id say im really split. 25% black, 25% white, 25% hispanic, 13% south asian or arab, and about 12% mongoloid. i find blacks to be very interesting people, and seem more genuine and sincere. i feel that whites play by very strict societal rules, and have to watch everything they say and do, and must do things in a strict manner. thats one of the things i dont like about mongoloids either. the reason why i have such a high % of white friends is because of sheer numbers, because america has more whites than others. as a child, i had more mongoloid friends, but i think its because of my parents. if i were to listen to my parents, i would really believe that blacks were evil, and white people are all racist. my parents were very conservative, and traditional people. my dad believed that blacks and hispanics lived off welfare. my mother works in real estate and never rents to anyone except mongoloids. she might rent to a white person under extreme circumstances. they were on the extreme end though. you will find chinese americans to be different and more racist than those in china. i think the chinese americans had to step over a lot of people to get to america in the first place, thats why you wont find the nicest chinese in america. of the chinese, you will find singapore, hong kong, and taiwan to be most racist. theres a saying that goes nice guys finish last. and it didnt happen by coincidence that these 3 chinese “countries” turned out to be the most rich. with that said, there are lots of cool chinese people out there, so we should all give them a chance.

  291. Kaz Jack Says:

    Dai Lo and Allen

    Dai Lo Your insights are really interesting – I lived in SIngapore (see previous post two up) and am now living in Hong Kong ( I also lived in Thailand) – never been to Taiwan though – and I find the chinese very difficult and certainly I definately get the feeling I am being “looked down on” as a white woman. (Is it because I am white or a woman – or do they look down on everyone equally?) … I found the locals are a little easier on white male expats – especially the ones in banking :)
    An incident happened here recently involving a filipino domestic helper (who has lived in Hong Kong for 10 years) who was accosted by the police for holding a bus pass which she had found a year previously
    (and was topping up with her own money). The pass had not been reported missing by anyone and was not registered by anyone (she was initially stopped because the trains station police (chinese officers) mistakenly thought she was using a student card ) She offered up the information that she had found the card –
    to cut the story short, the metropolitan police were called (chinese officers) and she was charged with theft and spent 15 hours in the police station and was denied a lawyer as they claimed she wasnt a HOng Kong resident so was not entitled to one…
    Is that not racism?

    Singapore is an OK place to live, generally crime free, though politically very stifling. Expats are definately made to feel that they are outsiders only there to fulfil a job and then bugger off back to where they came from.
    I am from Australia and I always became very irritated when there was nastiness towards the Asians – and still believe there should be tolerance of other race groups – to be honest – now I can understand the attitude somewhat

  292. Kaz Jack Says:

    “of the chinese, you will find singapore, hong kong, and taiwan to be most racist. theres a saying that goes nice guys finish last. and it didnt happen by coincidence that these 3 chinese “countries” turned out to be the most rich”

    Rich should not be counted by how much money you have in the bank – I found thai people for example, have a certain peace about them despite being dirt poor in some cases, or just regular folk earning a day’s crust fr thier families… many of hte moneyed, grbbing “rich countries, are full of desperately miserable people who have lost their way as human beings …. but that is another subject!!!!!

  293. barny chan Says:

    Kaz, your experience as a white woman in Singapore and HK is all too common. You’ll find no shortage of blank-eyed and amoral white bankers who’ll sing the praises of these desperately dull cities but you’ll struggle to find their female counterparts.

    HK and Singapore are home to the most conservative Chinese communities you’ll find anywhere in the world. These are two places where the standard excuse for Chinese xenophobia – unfamiliarity with other races – just doesn’t stand up. The local populations make no secret of their contempt for other races, and, if you’re not Chinese, you’ll be racially abused on a daily basis. On top of the default racism you’re falling victim to the appalling levels of misogny – most men in this part of the world simply will not take instructions from women in the workplace regardless of their place in the corporate hierarchy. The only consolation you have is that at least you’re not vulnerable to the physical abuse that so many Filipino and Indonesian domestic workers fall victim to.

    It isn’t going to get better, so do yourself a favor and move away as soon as you can from a city where the abiding principles of life are psychotic materialism and ugly racism…

  294. Kaz Jack Says:

    Barny
    Thanks for your message – “pyschotic materialism ” etc – very true – what are your experiences with these two cities? HAve yoou lived there?

  295. barny chan Says:

    Currently living in HK, but counting down the days to escape to New York.

    I came here with my white American partner who was seconded to the Asian HQ of her company. She’s now resigned to having to treat her Chinese male subordinates (fortunately she has no Chinese superiors) as face-obsessed children who need constant reassurance to prevent them falling into terminal sulks. She now barely notices the daily disdain and racist mutterings on the MTR and in taxis – it’s just how it is here. She’s also stopped caring about the fact that people stare at us as if we’re circus freaks (we’re mixed race – I look Chinese but culturally I’m a Brit). Myself, it takes all of my daily self-restraint not to physically assault the third-rate Gucci-clad excuses for manhood that constitute the male population of this vile city.

  296. pug_ster Says:

    @dai lo,

    You know, I am Chinese living in NYC and I have the very opposite opinion than you. When I was a teen, we moved to a neighborhood at the time where there’s little Chinese and me and my family get alot of racist remarks from the people who live here because of our race. Then again, blacks are even more unwelcomed in my neighborhood. Over time, over 20 years more Chinese move into our neighborhood and the racist remarks came to an end, call it gentrification I guess. However, from time to time some Chinese would get killed or beat up and the City doesn’t think that the attacks are biased related. Yes, I get remarks about not trusting blacks and I don’t blame her because I got robbed many times by blacks because I was in the wrong neighborhood. In my job I was passed up for a promotion to a less experienced white co-worker and would tell myself, it happens. I own an small building and one of my white tenants thinks he can push me around balking around on rent because I am Chinese. I am in the process to taking the tenant to court anyways. When one of the tenant left the first thing is that I rented to a Chinese and the tenant always pay on time and never argues me on why they should not pay the rent. Yeah, you can probably call me racist and/or xenophobe. But based on my interactions with the other races, I rather think it is a defense mechanism on how I deal with certain situations.

    @Kaz Jack

    In singapore in particular I was treated like I was stupid and inferior – my every move was micro-managed to the point where one of my chinese bosses kept a dossier of my mistakes (forgetting to include anything good i managed to do working under that kind of pressure) – it was like being brain-washed — I began to think that I was no good and even contemplated suicide once or twice – I was threatened with being fired regularly and kept behind and chastised by my boss until the early hours of the morning…

    I don’t think this culture of being micromanaged and boss keeping a dossier of your mistakes is Chinese culture. Sometimes you have to know your boss personally so that he will have to get on your good side otherwise you will be ‘shitlisted.’ I was a very good worker at my place until my director and forced my boss (my boss’ boss) to get rid of me. At my current job, my boss likes to micromanage me and I have made complaints to my director about it. I felt a great burden off my back when my boss decided to quit and the next boss was not a micromanaged.

    Compared to the US and Western countries, the corporate world in the Asian countries are very stressful and it is a dog eat dog world out there. It is not unusual to work from 9am to 9pm every day for 5 to 6 days a week and you will have to tough it out or look for another job. Fortunately, for most foreigners they have the 2nd option to go back to their home countries where things are less stressful and more familiar. I don’t think it is just in Hong Kong and Singapore in particular, but it happens in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan as well.

    @barney chan,

    Western Countries have mostly dealt with social and political issues of dealing with people of different races while many Asian countries have barely scratched the surface. The Western Countries had to deal with the mass migration of asian populations there while only a trickle amount of them came to the Asian countries. Most of them who come to Asia like you are already highly successful and could probably leave if you have to while many of the Asians who come to the Western Countries are relatively poor and in some cases can’t go back to their home countries.

  297. raventhorn4000 Says:

    Kaz,

    The story about the HK police is not unusual for HK. ID papers are required at all times in HK. Detention in HK could be long, there is no time require for when one can see an attorney. And HK, like UK, Australia, doesn’t have a “exclusion rule” for evidence extracted under police coercion (as in US). And they do occasionally resort to unsavory tactics. But, HK does have a special internal police force for investigating police abuses, which is actually quite good. Taiwan has similar rules about detentions. Police can interrogate you without an attorney present.

    I would also agree with Barney that HK has one of the most Conservative Chinese Communities. Unfortunately, male chauvinism is the down side of traditional Confucian ideology.

    But I would say that Shanghai and some other Chinese cities don’t have this nearly as bad. (Of course, I’m biased, because I’m from Shanghai).

    Part of this is due to Communism in China. Mao famously said “Women of China hold up 1/2 of the sky”. Chinese legislature is required to have a set number of seats for women, and Chinese military has a quota for female generals, many of whom are in combat command.

    *So I would not call it necessarily “racism”.

    I would also note that when Western businesses come into a Chinese town with huge English signs, the local population tend to look up to them with some awe and not fear. Whereas when say a Vietnamese or Chinese shop sets up in US with Asian language signs, the neighbors get upset if there are no English, (and tend to talk about “rats” and “cats” and “dogs” in the Chinese food.)

    I don’t know if that’s necessarily “racism” either, because perhaps there is just general perception that Western products/services are superior in quality. (But isn’t that assumption/perception rather racist in itself? I don’t know.)

  298. barny chan Says:

    pug-ster: “Kaz Jack…I don’t think this culture of being micromanaged and boss keeping a dossier of your mistakes is Chinese culture. Sometimes you have to know your boss personally so that he will have to get on your good side otherwise you will be ’shitlisted.’”

    The problem is that she doesn’t have the opportunity to get to know her boss personally. The corporate male in both Singapore and HK is not in the habit of inviting women to the golf club, karaoke lounge, or massage parlour.

    “Compared to the US and Western countries, the corporate world in the Asian countries are very stressful and it is a dog eat dog world out there. It is not unusual to work from 9am to 9pm every day for 5 to 6 days a week and you will have to tough it out or look for another job.”

    Whilst it’s true that many people work a nominal six day week in this part of the world, it’s a myth that it’s a tougher working environment (at least if you’re male). The level of corporate productivity is much lower than in the west. If it wasn’t, multinationals wouldn’t ship in expat staff (interestingly, often overseas Chinese) at huge expense when there’s a much cheaper pool of local staff. A huge proportion of the local working day in HK is wasted in pointless face saving vacuities.

    “different races…Most of them who come to Asia like you are already highly successful and could probably leave….”

    Actually, within HK the greatest number of foreign workers are Filipino and Indonesian domestic servants, rather than the cliché of the highly paid western banker.

  299. barny chan Says:

    raventhorn4000: “male chauvinism is the down side of traditional Confucian ideology…I would say that Shanghai and some other Chinese cities don’t have this nearly as bad. (Of course, I’m biased, because I’m from Shanghai).”

    You might be biased in favour of Shanghai over HK, but it doesn’t mean you’re wrong…

  300. raventhorn4000 Says:

    I do have to say, the abuse of Filipino and Indonesian domestic servants in HK and Taiwan is a serious problem.

    In Shanghai and Beijing, rich Chinese families typically hire a local Chinese “auntie” to work as a domestic servant, but they don’t bring someone in from another country. They just prefer local hires (or sometimes a Chinese from a nearby province), just because it’s a trust issue. They ask for a lot of personal references to make sure that the employee is a good honest person.

    I don’t know why HK and Taiwan would have so many Filipino and Indonesian domestic servants. I don’t think there is any thing wrong with that, but if they want to bring foreign servants in, they should treat them properly like fellow human beings.

  301. miaka9383 Says:

    @Pug_ster
    I am sorry that you have endure bad experiences. However, lets say if you moved out of NYC and into a different state, would you treat them differently or the same?
    If you would treat them the same without evaluating the situation then you might be a xenophobe. But if you don’t, then you are not.
    I used to think Black people are scary as well, because I have never seen a black person in Taiwan. But when I moved to the poor state of New Mexico, the person who treats me the best were the blacks and the white kids at school. Here in this poor state, it is the white and the hispanics that rob and steals cars. But I won’t treat a person differently based on the race….

    Recommendation about your rental property: A lot of rental property owners out here have strict policies. They have 14 days of grace period with understanding that many people here live pay check to pay check, but after 14 days they get evicted. They have a contract and they follow the contract to the T. Also they do a credit check on you, if you have bad credit, 90% of them won’t rent out to you. Maybe that is how you can avoid bad tenants in the future.

  302. Chloe Says:

    Okay, please forgive me for not reading all the posts yet, because I don’t have time at this moment. I just want to make two comments, and I hope they haven’t already been made.

    First, it seems that many times the Chinese will comment on a foreigner, less because of their race than because of their appearance. The Chinese that I met felt very comfortable saying, for example, that they “didn’t like the way (this or that race) looks.” Young women applying for receptionist jobs were asked to include a photo in their resumes, because it was felt that the woman in the entrance of the company should be pretty. Needless to say, this would never be allowed in the US. I was in China with a friend who is overweight, and people on the street would actually stare after us and laugh at her. Certainly these things are unpleasant, but they are not about race. They are not good, but it’s a distinction that should be made.

    Second, Allen asks: “Why does it seem to me that in the Western eye, ethno-religious (or socio-economic) tensions in the West are always framed through the lens of “civil rights” whereas ethno-religious (or socio-economic) tensions in China are always framed through the lens of nationalism and self-determination?” Could this be because some of the oppressed ethnic/religious/socio-economic groups in China want to have separate nations, while those in the West often want to remain citizens of their respective countries (just treated better)? This is just a thought.

  303. hongkonger Says:

    Chloe Says:The Chinese that I met felt very comfortable saying, for example, that they “didn’t like the way (this or that race) looks.”

    Hm… I’ve lived in Hong Kong for over 25 years and a few years now just across the border in China. When I first moved to HK in 1977, I was treated fine – nobody, except my uncle would occassionally laughed at my poor Cantonese. I made fast friends with locals and expats. This has also been true for me in China so far. I used to know a few overseas chinese who had a hard time adapting because they didn’t speak any Chinese, and were perhaps too Americans for their own good (?) Some tended to be oversensitive – more so than their non-Chinese counterparts – Oh well, each to their own.
    OTH, I know quite a few non-Chinese who have made HK their homes for over 15 years now – some of whom have remained isolated from the local culture, and love the perks of being a little different & aloof; others managed to pick up a bit of Cantonese and get along fine, while a small number of them have kinda gone native, if you will. The point is, Hong Kong is where they all wanted to remain.
    When I first lived in HK, I thought I would leave in a matter of time – the apartments were too small, the rent too high, lifestyle too stressful, the traffic, the polution, blah blah blah. But having visited and worked in different countries, I gradually realized that HK was my home. Tens of thousands of locals who got their foreign passports return to HK, while perhaps as many remained in their new countries. My own brother who was born and grew up in HK left HK for Canada in his mid twenties with no intention of ever returning to live in HK again. Again, each to their own. But then he surprised me last year when he told me that he was concerned about his teenage Canadian born daughter’s future – with regards to what she was talented at (the arts) as opposed to what she should carefully choose to major in (the sciences) because, in his words, “She is afterall a Chinese in a whiteman’s world.” I was taken aback, but then I thought, oh well, I guess this is every good parent’s concern anywhere.
    I’ve come to really enjoy living in China, but I am always looking forward to my home visit – mostly to Yuen Long in the New Territories for my favorite beef brisket noodles, BBQ pork and chicken rice, and / or afternoon dim sum with friends. Or there are expat friends I would hang out with for Indian food and beer in Tsim Sha Tsui or once in a blue moon, western food in LKF or Soho.

    The thing about writing either the negative or positive of a place and its culture is that they tend to come across as more severe than they really are.

  304. Wukailong Says:

    @hongkonger: You live in China? Where? Just curious… ;)

  305. Chloe Says:

    hongkonger, you’re right about written comments coming across as too severe. I actually didn’t mean ANY of my comments as criticism of the people I met in China. Everyone is affected by the physical appearance of others. In the Western world we don’t like to admit the fact, while the Chinese I met were quite comfortable with it.

  306. Hongkonger Says:

    # 304 WKL, I live in Shenzhen. You?

    # 305 Chloe:

    Oh no, I didn’t think you were being critical. I wear XXL clothes (US XL) in China, so I understand the unpleasantness by having people pointing that out too often. The first thing I get whenever I met someone I hadn’t seen for say, six months is, ” You’ve put on weight – again !” This happens everywhere in S.E. Asia – not just China. Then what usually follows is, preceeded with a few chuckles and a pat on my beer belly: “You must be doing very well these days.” Except with good friends and relatives what follows are free advice on slimming diets and health cautions. Then someone would say, “Thank goodness you are tall,” then another may chime in with, ” I like a man with a bit of extra pounds,” etc. I’ve had many young women hit on me by telling me that they like “fat” men. Of course, there are also those who would “out of concern for my well being” try to stop me from enjoying my third beer or nag me for ordering too much meat dishes.
    My young bearded American buddy who when he was an ESL teacher in Zhuhai, about 350 pounds and 6′ 2″ literally had young girls – mostly his (adult) students – ran up to him to hug him and put their faces on his prominent belly. His male colleagues used to get so jealous that they, the supposedly more handsome expats, had to ask to be hugged by pretty young Chinese girls.

  307. Allen Says:

    @Chloe #302,

    You wrote:

    Second, Allen asks: “Why does it seem to me that in the Western eye, ethno-religious (or socio-economic) tensions in the West are always framed through the lens of “civil rights” whereas ethno-religious (or socio-economic) tensions in China are always framed through the lens of nationalism and self-determination?” Could this be because some of the oppressed ethnic/religious/socio-economic groups in China want to have separate nations, while those in the West often want to remain citizens of their respective countries (just treated better)? This is just a thought.

    The question though is still – why?

    There was a black nationalist movement and a black civil rights movement in the U.S. Imagine if the Soviet Union openly supported the black nationalists – and in their wake, all other nationalist movement including all the various nationalist movements that would have arisen from the indiginous peoples of the U.S.

    The U.S. is lucky that types like Martin Luther King who prefers unity rather than acrimonious fragmentation won out. If not – there would be a lot more social instability in the U.S. – and African Americans as a group would be much worse off today.

    Modern China is still in a modern nation building phase. The gov’t is doing its best to create a society where people of all ethnicity and religion can build and create a good standard of living. Unfortunately, there are external forces who want to opportunistically to destabilize China by fueling and exacerbating the contraditions and fissures that naturally arise in a developing society.

    Nevertheless, I keep my hope high that China will do fine. In the mean time, I will do my best to suppot and cheer China on whenever possible ….

  308. Wukailong Says:

    @Hongkonger (#306): I live in Beijing. I don’t know why I got the impression you were in the US.

  309. Chloe Says:

    Re: #307:

    Allen, I was remiss in failing to acknowledge that the Western nations (all nations, really, I’m sure) tend to downplay their own internal strife while pointing the finger at other nations’. Certainly the indigenous Americans — the Indians — have always wanted to remain a separate nation. Their reward, of course, was to be almost destroyed by the European race, and finally be allotted small tracts (“reservations”) of land. And you are most certainly right that Americans would be outraged if other nations recognized and supported separatists here! It’s always amazing to many Americans (ie., not just me) how so many our population accept the obvious double standards in our foreign policies.

    I can’t quite agree with your statement that “the gov’t is doing its best to create a society where people of all ethnicity and religion can build and create a good standard of living.” My own observation in the year I lived there was that, as China departs from Communist principles of equal sharing, it develops very alarming gaps between the “haves” and “have nots.” You’re right, however, that China is still in a building stage, and so maybe it’s only fair to wait and see. Beware, however: If your country isn’t careful, it will end up with even greater economic injustice than the US! (And that’s saying a lot: Remember, we have the biggest disparity between rich and poor than any other Western nation.)

  310. Allen Says:

    @Chloe #309,

    I agree with you that China needs to be alert to creating a society of rich and poor – and even more alert to creating a society of rich and poor divided along racial or religious lines. I truly believe that the CCP wants to create a more prosperous and egalitarian system. Maybe their policy is not getting us to the stated goal – that’s up for debate. But let’s not forget the stated goal of creating united and harmonious society – the antithesis of what I hear from the West…

  311. Chloe Says:

    Yes, well, let us remember that STATED goals and REAL goals often diverge. (This is true of democracies as well as dictatorships.)

  312. Jerry Says:

    @Allen #310, @Chloe #309

    Some anecdotes. Warning: you are probably going to ask, “What does this have to do with anything?” Patience, please!

    => My grandfather, a Russian Jew, came to the US about 100 years ago. My great-grandfather and 2 of his other sons (my great-uncles) decided to stay in Russia. They expected the Messiah to show up soon and rescue them from the hell which Russian Jews suffered under the tsars and their minions. Well, thank god that my grandfather decided to come to the US. My relatives who remained were incarcerated in prison camps in Siberia. As far as I know, the Messiah never showed up and Russian Jews continued to suffer. Not a surprise. God bless you, Grandfather Mike.

    => Paul Robeson, a very famous black man from the first half of last century, was a very talented man, who I admire very much. He was a distinguished athlete, scholar, lawyer, actor and a magnificent basso. He was class valedictorian at Rutgers (Steve’s neck of the woods; Robeson was born in NJ) and got his law degree from Columbia Law School. Pretty charmed life, you might think. Au contraire, Paul was very disillusioned by the suffering imposed on his fellow African-Americans and people of color in the good old USA. Paul took to avidly supporting Russia and the great proletarian dream which Joe Stalin supposedly espoused. He was a brilliant intellectual who was sucker-punched by the murderous thug, Papa Joe Stalin. His own revulsion to the suffering of his own people played a big part in that sucker-punch. So sad! But, hey, German intellectuals allowed themselves to be sucker-punched by Adolf Hitler.

    => I was reading an article by Sam Smith in the Progressive Review. Sam is a very intelligent, grounded, down-to-earth progressive writer. His article is entitled “WHY LIBERALS MISREAD OBAMA “. Here are some excerpts:

    Sam Smith, Progressive Review – During the campaign the Review pointed out a number of uncomfortable facts about Barack Obama, including that he:

    Aggressively opposed impeachment action against Bush

    Had argued that conservatives and Bill Clinton were right to destroy social welfare, (my note, he listed 36 more uncomfortable facts, which I am not including) …

    That’s 38 reasons for starters why liberals might have been uncomfortable with Obama. Instead they treated him as if he had descended from heaven and heavily chastised those who failed to join their crusade.

    Some of this was to be expected; for example, history and ethnic solidarity made black support unsurprising.

    But even with Bill Clinton white liberal arguments on his behalf still had the tone of slightly embarrassed justification. With Obama there was nothing but idolatry.

    Now, with a rapidity that surprised even this cynic, liberals are feeling uncomfortable with, and some even mad at, their instant hero. What went wrong?

    Here are a few hypotheses:

    - With the Clinton election, liberalism shifted from being an ideology to being more a combination of faith and socio-economic demographic that sought identity through favored icons rather than by preferred policies.

    - The dominant white portion of the demographic found in Obama a black with whom they could identify – a handsome, well-spoken Harvard Law School graduate with none of the anger or aggressiveness of someone like Jesse Jackson. Obama was the black they had been waiting for: safe, suave, and soft spoken. They didn’t notice that ethnically Obama was actually only half black and in politics he was all white. …

    Again, what does this have to do with anything? Plenty.

    Stubborn devotion to fantasy!

    All I can say is that my great-grandfather et al were fools. Fooled by a fantasy. Yeah, the Messiah would come and protect the Jews in Russia. Yahweh was finally going to live up to his 2,000+ year promise. Did we get that in writing? :D Not even Notre Dame (or VillaNowhere) could get something like that in writing. If they can’t, what makes us think we could or that Yahweh would deliver? Stupid, stupid, stupid!!

    Robeson worshiped at the altar of Stalin. Foolish, stupid. Both Stalin and American racists were thugs, often murderous thugs. Both Stalin and American racists were wrong.

    American liberals and progressives were so eager to “live the fantasy”, they blindly worshipped all things Obama. Fools.

    Allen and Chloe, I grew up in a loving, wonderful, hard-nosed, eagle-eyed, wary, distrusting, skeptical, cynical, and mildly paranoid Russian-Jewish American family. Many Jews did. And I would not have changed a thing. :D

    Allen, you write, “I truly believe that the CCP wants to create a more prosperous and egalitarian system.” That is simply pure fantasy in my book. It is not going to happen. Slavish devotion to a fantasy does not make a fantasy come true, especially at the hands of an autocratic government and those plutocrats in power. They will stop any move towards an egalitarian system in its tracks.

    If your dream has a chance, it will come about because of the Chinese people. That is highly questionable at this point in time.

    “But let’s not forget the stated goal of creating united and harmonious society – the antithesis of what I hear from the West…” OK Allen, that is your goal, not mine. Sounds like CCP propaganda (or maybe im-propaganda) to me, or should I say, euphemisms. Euphemisms for autocratic, tyrannical, dictatorial, ram-it-down-the-throats type of rule. We are not talking benevolence here. Why does the image of “jack-booted thugs” come to my mind. I am always mindful of the tyrants amongst us and wish them good riddance; or as Brutus said, “Sic semper tyrannis!”

    Give me democracy, freedom and peace. For further reference, you can check out the Declaration of Independence.

    Regarding your “united and harmonious society” and your speech on “The gov’t is doing its best to create a society where people of all ethnicity and religion can build and create a good standard of living”, please convince the Tibetans in Tibet and Uyghurs living in Uyghurstan. Why don’t they have the same right to form their own government and nation like the Croatians, Bosnians, Herzegovinians, Czechs, Slovaks, Irish, Armenians, numerous Africans, the Georgians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Ossetians, numerous residents of the former Soviet Bloc, etc. Hell, America broke away from the Brits during the Revolutionary War. We issued the DOI. And the Brits wanted to damn the French to hell for helping us break away. C’etait magnifique! And god bless Oliver Perry, Andy Jackson, Macomb, MacDonough, Jean Lafitte, et al for establishing the USA as an independent power during the War of 1812.

    Allen, you are very fortunate to be a Taiwanese man living and working in the US. These conversations and discussions are much more academic and less visceral the further removed you are. Living here seems to engender much more immediacy and gut-wrenching when dealing with the events and issues here.

    One last question which puzzles me: Why would anyone or any group want to rule a country with 1.3 billion people? The dynamics must be nightmarish and prone to inducing headaches, rapid aging and heart attacks. I guess I will never be able to wrap my head around that one; it’s just too big. Power and megalomania must be amazingly addictive and stimulating. I am afraid that it would produce monstrous psychopathology and paranoia in the leaders/controllers. And numerous outbreaks of outrageous rationalization, equivocation and euphemizing. LOL

  313. Allen Says:

    @Jerry #312,

    You wrote:

    Give me democracy, freedom and peace. For further reference, you can check out the Declaration of Independence.

    Was there a democracy when the declaration of independence was signed? Was there really freedom? And real peace? You may ask the black slaves. The vast majority of landless immigrants. The Chinese who came without any rights, but worked, bit their lips, and toiled away anyways. The women who did not get suffrage until so late in 20th century. And when the South wanted to secede … was there a call for freedom for slaves in the beginning – why did the call for freeing slaves so come much later…

    I agree with you that there are ideas worth dreaming about … and perhaps fighting for …

    I may be deranged in my view about the CCP – but CCP’s vision as valid as any others. The powerful things about ideals and dreams is that … sometimes – when you work hard at it – they do come true! They may not come immediately, but they may indeed come someday…

    You also wrote:

    One last question which puzzles me: Why would anyone or any group want to rule a country with 1.3 billion people? The dynamics must be nightmarish and prone to inducing headaches, rapid aging and heart attacks. I guess I will never be able to wrap my head around that one; it’s just too big.

    I agree. It ain’t an easy job. As for the “too big” part: China’s been around for some time … I think she can make it.

    As for the rest you wrote, I’ll agree to disagree, and to continue our conversations in other threads … ;-)

  314. Jerry Says:

    @Allen #313

    Thanks for replying, Allen.

    Was there a democracy when the declaration of independence was signed? Was there really freedom? And real peace?

    Hell no. But we are sure better off that we signed the DOI, declared war against British tyranny, and won the Revolutionary and 1812 Wars. Ok, 1812 was a standoff. But it established us as an independent, sovereign state, which the British never contested again. You are better off, too, Allen. You live in the US.

    Is our democracy perfect? Hell no. It is a work in progress. And a whole lot better than China. And as my late Russian Jewish grandfather told me, a whole lot better than Russia. My father and his 2 sisters were first-generation Americans. They grew up in Cincinnati, a German American town. It was not easy! There was much racism. (And the blacks in Cincinnati and Covington were treated horribly. My dad grew up with them.) But still, it was better than Russia.

    I have few illusions about the US. Fairy-tale fantasy is not my style; I come from a very hard-nosed Jewish family. Do we need to treat people better in the US? Have we treated immigrants, women and slaves horribly in the past? You bet! Definitely not perfect, not even close, but a whole lot better than China.

    Just an aside here. One could argue that, under the KMT, Taiwan’s democracy is a work in regress. The Chen Shui-bian trial and verdict is a blow to the heart and soul of this wonderful country with wonderful people. His kangaroo court and trial did not dispense justice. It dispensed politics.

    I do not want to see Chinese tyranny here in Taiwan.

    Enjoy living far, far from away from Taiwan. It is a luxury and privilege. That said, I like it here.

    I don’t think that the CCP is doing a good job running China. They do a good job bullying China. There is a distinct difference.

    My statements stand. I will agree to disagree.

  315. Allen Says:

    @Jerry #314

    Just an aside here. One could argue that, under the KMT, Taiwan’s democracy is a work in regress. The Chen Shui-bian trial and verdict is a blow to the heart and soul of this wonderful country with wonderful people. His kangaroo court and trial did not dispense justice. It dispensed politics.

    Oh boy … I guess you are going to rip me apart in my new post on Chen’s trials…

  316. Raj Says:

    Oh boy … I guess you are going to rip me apart in my new post on Chen’s trials…

    Allen, I don’t know about Jerry, but I’ve tried to do so nicely. :D

  317. Chloe Says:

    IMO, the essential thing is not to argue that one system is more righteous than another, but only to recognize the injustices in whichever system you’re looking at. Since no system is free from injustice, that’s all that really matters.

    I would definitely say that the Chinese people could benefit from analyzing certain democracies around the world, to see how they could improve. But so could the people of the US!

    What I often find frustrating (and, really, quite boring) is the response of so many Americans to any criticism of our system — the classic “Love it or leave it” reply. Having lived in Canada for 20 years, I’ve experienced real differences in the quality of life offered by both countries. But tell an American — even an educated American — that the Canadians are doing better, and you will often received a swift, scornful suggestion that “maybe you should go back to Canada if you love it so much.” This attitude is not likely to result in much social improvement here in the US, is it?

    Some might point to our social freedoms as proof that we do grow and improve as a nation built on humanitarian values. But actually, those values were put in place AT THE START of this nation. They were brilliant, and way ahead of their time. But the citizens of this nation — especially we of the past fifty years — have not defended them. We’ve just assumed they are somehow guaranteed, without any effort on our part. Since 2001, they’ve been dismantled with particular aggression, and the people have not protested.* Currently, the citizens of almost every First World nation enjoy more freedom — and a better general standard of living — than we do here in the “Seat of Democracy.”

    The Chinese people have an excuse for not analyzing other social systems — such information is still largely censored in China. Americans have no such excuse.

    As Thomas Jefferson said, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. We are falling down on the job here in the US. Will the Chinese people do better, with 1) their poor access to information, 2) lousy civil rights, and 3) current pride and delight over China’s meteoric economic rise? I met many Chinese (note: age 30+) who felt deeply betrayed by the “departure” of their nation from the socialist values of sharing the wealth. (I put “departure” in quotation marks because it’s now clear to the world that economic privilege remained alive and well throughout Mao’s reign.) But will these citizens of “The New China” feel the need to agitate for real liberty? Or will they feel, like Americans over the past 50 years, that they’re doing pretty damn well compared to a lot of other people, so why rock the boat?

    The problem, of course, is that while you may be doing “pretty damn well” without civil liberties during the GOOD times, the bad times will always come again. And it’s during the bad times that people realize that civil liberties are much more than a theoretical concept. Injustice is injustice, and must always be resisted.

    *(Actually, millions of us did, but obviously not enough of us, and not forcefully enough.)

  318. Wukailong Says:

    @Chloe: “What I often find frustrating (and, really, quite boring) is the response of so many Americans to any criticism of our system — the classic “Love it or leave it” reply. Having lived in Canada for 20 years, I’ve experienced real differences in the quality of life offered by both countries.”

    This is really common in China too, I can assure you. :) Well, I learned a long time ago that people in most countries do not enjoy criticism from what they consider outsiders, and there are always areas where you need a certain amount of knowledge or “feel” for the place before your criticism will be taken seriously. After living in China for many years I also see the hollowness of some common criticism – for example, that the country must be democratic to be successfully capitalist, or that “there are no human rights.”

    Then there are of course the people who will tolerate absolutely no criticism, and will refer even to thoughtful criticism as “China-bashing.”

    Actually, since the late 90s there’ve been significant research of other political systems from thinktanks linked to the CCP. In the beginning this focused mostly on other communist states that also stayed in power, like Cuba and Vietnam, but this has opened considerably to also study Singapore, Japan and European states with strong parties in power (like various brands of Social Democrats and Labor parties).

    @Jerry: I don’t agree that the CCP is only bullying China. I think that they have been extraordinarily successful the last 30 years. Of course people often forget the mistakes they’ve done too, and some of the supporters are a bit too cocky and believe everything is great, but I wouldn’t underestimate the role the CCP has played over this period.

    One thing I do think is nonsense, though, is the current focus on how Confucianism somehow explains everything that happens in the Chinese political system, and how in the future the country will evolve a unique, authoritarian system. The only thing these debates show, I believe, is that economic clout also gives political clout. How many spoke about the intricacies of Confucianism when Mao was in power? Why was it that Confucianism was being studied so seriously in Singapore in the 80s? It made economic sense, and it was a way of trying to explain the current system with culture.

  319. Allen Says:

    @Wukailong #318,

    You wrote:

    One thing I do think is nonsense, though, is the current focus on how Confucianism somehow explains everything that happens in the Chinese political system, and how in the future the country will evolve a unique, authoritarian system. The only thing these debates show, I believe, is that economic clout also gives political clout. How many spoke about the intricacies of Confucianism when Mao was in power? Why was it that Confucianism was being studied so seriously in Singapore in the 80s? It made economic sense, and it was a way of trying to explain the current system with culture.

    This makes sense to me. Some may say what political system you choose has more to do with economic advantage than anything else.

    I know in the study of law – there is an influential school of scholars called the law and economics school (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_and_economics for quick intro).

    Not only do they use economics to assess whether a law is “good” or “bad,” but they also draw from economics principles to explain why certain laws have staying powers, are enforceable, are effective, etc. – and why others are not.

  320. Chloe Says:

    @Wukailong: “Well, I learned a long time ago that people in most countries do not enjoy criticism from what they consider outsiders, and there are always areas where you need a certain amount of knowledge or “feel” for the place before your criticism will be taken seriously.”

    I should have mentioned that I’m an American. Was born here, and have lived the majority of my life here. Since I vote, pay my taxes, and am in all ways a civic-minded citizen, you might think I have the right — even the obligation — to speak up about my country’s failings. But apparently not so.

  321. Fig Says:

    I think mainland Chinese are racist because I have heard northern Chinese say a lot of nasty stuff about Cantonese people.Like “southern monkeys” or “southern barbarians”.

    I’m pretty hurt because I’m part Cantonese (overseas born) and since I don’t live in China I don’t really understand all these regional prejudice stuff. I get exposed to it though when these new immigrants come over because older migrants tend to be Cantonese.

    Anyway, I think it’s pretty awful so I don’t want to think of myself as Chinese anymore because of these people’s attitude. I’ll rather be a proud member of my host country.

  322. wuming Says:

    @Fig,

    I hate to nitpick, but the prejudice of a northern Chinese against a southern Chinese is not racism, since they are fellow Mongoloids. If a Chinese say bad things about a Caucasoid based solely on the fact that he is a Caucasoid, then that’s racism. I know that the word racism is often used in the way you did, it shouldn’t mean that we just keep sliding on this slippery slop.

  323. Fig Says:

    @wuming
    I know what you mean about Cantonese and Northerners being different races being debatable. However, they actually like to argue that Cantonese people are mixed with southern natives, not pure Han Chinese and are hence genetically inferior, uglier, more stupid etc. I know many full Cantonese people who are very proud of their Chinese heritage overseas and I think it would be awful if they find out about this viewpoint. If that’s not racism, what is? It’s based on perceived genetic and physical differences and eugenic beliefs.

    If you don’t believe me you can try googling it.

  324. Wukailong Says:

    I personally do not debate these things with people who are part of a majority population, because I’ve found that they can hardly understand the issues involved. The good thing about this, though, is that I’ve understood better the need to listen to immigrants in my own home country and hear what their real complaints are, instead of just listening to the mainstream interpretation. In China, it’s either “no problem” or “the West invented it.”

    I agree opinions about Southerners/Northerners are a kind of racism in that it just generalizes people because of their birth place. It’s different from treating people based on their looks, but it is still a kind of racism. In South Africa, to take an extreme example, Koreans and Japanese were treated differently because Japanese had a better deal with the government and could get near-to-white status.

    Jews and Arabs are genetically very close, though look at the racism between them.

  325. Steve Says:

    @ fig: If it makes you feel better, there is not such thing as Han Chinese as a racial construct. Genetically, northern and southern Chinese are quite different though as wuming said, they are both Mongoloid. So as wuming also said, it isn’t really racism but it is prejudice. DNA studies have shown large differences between northern and southern Chinese and when I lived there, it was pretty easy to tell approximately where in China someone’s family was from. The concept of Han Chinese was created to foster a more nationalistic sense of unity.

    Wukailong brings up another good point about Jews and Arabs. They are both Semitic peoples from the same racial stock, yet don’t get along at all. T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) wrote about this in his book “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”. They may be racial cousins, but there exists an enormous amount of prejudice on both sides.

    What you have encountered is a regional bias, not a racial one. It seems West Germans make fun of East Germans, South Koreans make fun of North Koreans and everyone in China makes fun of Shanghainese. :P

  326. wuming Says:

    ” … everyone in China makes fun of Shanghainese”

    I don’t see what’s wrong with being Shanghainese, just because we consider all other Chinese provincial, it does not automatically make us butt of jokes.

    For future references, my mother is from Shanghai and father from Ningpo, … while I am born and raised Beijinger, went to schools in Wuhan, then Ohio, New York and now DC (not all schooling though, … remind me of the John Belushi’s “seven years of college down the drain!”), so think twice before you insult any of these “races”.

  327. Steve Says:

    @ wuming: I spent most of my time in Shanghai (been to Ningbo also, great food there) while in China and most of my Chinese friends are Shanghainese, the majority of those whose families were originally from somewhere in Zhejiang province. There’s nothing wrong with being Shanghainese, which is why I always found it strange to hear people from other parts of China telling me they didn’t like Shanghainese. Since you’ve lived in other parts of China, can you explain to me where this attitude comes from?

  328. Raj Says:

    Since you’ve lived in other parts of China, can you explain to me where this attitude comes from?

    Envy/reverse-snobbery?

  329. Adam Clark Says:

    Black are just seen as ape… so call it as you want the result are the same.

  330. Sum Says:

    Love this EU/American foreigners, Hans this and Hans that, all of the sudden, they’re all expert in Chinese Culture and Chinese History, insisting to pull the Chinese down to THEIR LEVEL…you want to see racism, just go to US, it is so thick there you can cut it with a knife. (They all see Obama as half black but not half white!) I can see how they try to spread their disease and hatred among the 56 Chinese groups, try to stir up trouble here, but thanks to the media and transportation, the Chinese are surely and slowly learning about each other and appreciate our differences. (Our own bickering is family matter) Racism is: to taking a whole civilization and turn them into slavery and then tell them it is for their own good; as of today, EU/America still going around the world shoving down people’s throat with ‘their’ idea of democracy and human right, (again, for our own good…) very generously giving out other people’s land, marking down boundary line for them, break them into little pieces if they can, spreading rumors and slanders about China in their one-sided propaganda media, use China as a scapegoat for their economic problem…etc…
    To all the typical spoil brat, egotistical, ill manner know all visitors, you need to check ‘yourself’ first before you point your fingers at the Host, just because you are so use to those kiss ass pro westerner fools, and when you meet someone dare to dislike and disagree with you, and didn’t put your royal highness ass in a pedestal, and here you are throwing a tantrum and quick to call the Chinese racist…once again, check “yourself”.
    What do Africans and Chinese know about each other? Nothing!!! Who do we encounter first? Yea, the white folks! We are so use to them and when they’re acting outrageously, we accept them as norm. To all visitors, I feel it is “your job” to introduce yourself, your culture, your country, the family that you care about back home, your dream that you want for your family…the Chinese can relate to family, with the understanding, we can break some barriers.
    I personally stand FIRM here to say that the Chinese are not racist, most of them are prejudice from ignorance. We can not change to what we do not know…there is still hope for the Chinese. And, if you are not ignorance but refuse to admit and to change is another story…
    Don’t get me wrong, the Americans that I know are very very generous and loving people, they will be the first one jumping up to help if you are in trouble, but the fact is, if you ask them to live next to a black family, you can see how fast they will say “NO THANKS”.

  331. michael Says:

    “There’s nothing wrong with being Shanghainese, which is why I always found it strange to hear people from other parts of China telling me they didn’t like Shanghainese. Since you’ve lived in other parts of China, can you explain to me where this attitude comes from?”

    So you’ve never got an answer, and yet you find the assertion of, basically, everyone, puzzling?

    Wow. Dude. I feel for you. You gotta get out of town man. Shanghai is a city of spoiled brats. Effectively 99% image and zero depth, personality, culture or charm. Does that cover it? The women think they’re princesses purely because they’re Shanghainese, which makes for the worst kind of woman (snobby, rude, no culture, conceited), the Men… Um.. Are there men in this town? I haven’t seen any. Anyway, yea I’ve been living here for about a year and a half. I used to live down South. I was just back there a few months ago for a ‘reunion’ with some colleagues from my old job. Wow. I miss that place.

    If you’re just spending time in Shanghai, you don’t know anything about China. This place is like Hollywood. Pure flash and zero substance. For a country with an amazing history of several thousand years, you can imagine a trashy place like Shanghai with no culture, way too many expats, and 500 Starbucks, being a bit of an embarassment.

  332. Les Says:

    I don’t even know if people will read this, but here goes. Allen used the word Hypersensitive, now let’s look at that word, HYPERsensitive means OVERLYsensitive. I’m sorry, but to me anything that is hyper, by it’s very definition is wrong and don’t expect me or anyone else to be concerned about you or your countries hypersensitivity, not our fault, or our problem. A classic example of that was Harry Connick Jr’s episode of brain meltdown in Australia over a Red Faces skit that was absolutely harmless and in the process labeled Australians as a pack of racist bastards, maybe he should go to a Geoff Dunham concert with his Sweet Daddy D puppet or Achmed the dead Terrorist, both hilarious skits, but also extremely racist, and throw his hissy fit there in America where people might actually give a damn about what he thinks, but then again it mightn’t raise a whisper there, because middle eastern people aren’t real popular in America right now, are they, in fact I seem to recall a story just after Sept 11 while I was still in the states, about a Sikh gas station attendant being shot by some bloody ignorant redneck because he was wearing a “rag” on his head and the shooter “thought” that the poor guy was a muslim, talk about double standards Harry. I’m sorry but that was just a classic example of a less than stellar performer getting on the PC bandwagon to drum up some publicity. Talking of PC, if there’s one thing I hate it’s when someone starts a conversation about how they feel and within a few words, out comes “now I’m not being racist” or “I’m not being sexist” BUT and on they go. Why does one have to apologise about how one feels???? Not you or me or anyone else will ever stamp out racism or sexism or any other “ism” you can think of, if the politicians get on their band wagon and outlaw it, it will simply go underground, but one thing I do know, I was reading in another post about schools getting more funding for having minorities, the same thing happens here (Australia) people get special treatment, their grades don’t have to be as high, the get special loans etc. etc. etc. Can’t these idiot policy makers figure out that you don’t “cure” racism by being racist, which is what all that crap is, reverse racism and all that manages to do is to piss off the people who don’t benefit, just as it did to the original victims of the racism that is supposed to be being compensated for, that really isn’t rocket science, is it. I was under the impression that to avoid racism you treat EVERYONE the SAME. One more thing, for some reason all the bad shit seems to be aimed at caucasians, while we make excuses for every other race, I was in the United States for 4 years a few years back and some of the worst racists I came across there, were black, go figure. You know, nothing pisses me off more than someone of another race who dresses in clothes made by white men, flies to an airport made and designed by white men in a plane made by white men, then gets in a car made by white men, travels on a road made by white men, to a building made by white men, stands behind a microphone made by white men and then tells the world what assholes white men are, it seems somewhat hypocritical to want all the benefits and innovations that we ALL enjoy that wouldn’t exist without caucasians but not want the caucasian people. call me crazy.
    Curious to see what comments this brings.

  333. Nimrod Says:

    Wukailong wrote:

    * Racism as a problem will be more seriously dealt with when there is a national discourse that does so. Right now the question is not on the Chinese radar, and I think some racial slurs that would cause more of a stir in the West could just pass in China. So I think there is something to the idea that Chinese are just not politically correct, but that’s also because there is very little interest in the question, and that might be a problem.

    +++++
    And I agree with this, but let’s also point out the reason that there is little interest in the question is because there is no precedence to be interested in it, and no guilt complex, no overcompensation. Why are some countries of European colonization exceeedingly sensitive to the question of racism? It is because of things like this:

    http://www.english.illinois.edu/Maps/poets/m_r/rose/tasmania.html

    White convicts regularly hunted Black people for sport, casually shooting, spearing or clubbing the men to death, torturing and raping the women, and roasting Black infants alive. As historian, James Morris, graphically noted:

    “We hear of children kidnapped as pets or servants, of a woman chained up like an animal in a sheperd’s hut, of men castrated to keep them off their own women. In one foray seventy aborigines were killed, the men shot, the women and children dragged from crevices in the rocks to have their brains dashed out. A man called Carrotts, desiring a native woman, decapitated her husband, hung his head around her neck and drove her home to his shack.”

    This was in Tasmania. Now similar treatments of humans have occurred in China, too, notably in the Shang Dynasty, and later as a part of wars, but it’ll be a tough argument to say that the underlying racism is, for a long time, more severe in China than elsewhere. By and large, and by necessity, China has learned to co-exist with many different kinds of people among them in its last few thousand years of history. Places like the US, Australia that are now overly sensitive to these issues have only learned this within the past one generation! With time when they truly get used to the idea of diversity in a deep way, not as some superficial reflex, the political correctness game will come to pass, too. Stereotyping and categorizing based on culture and behavior, however, will remain. That’s just a very basic human trait to understand the world, and there is nothing deeply wrong with that, as long as it is not malicious or sadistic.

  334. Wukailong Says:

    @Nimrod (#324): Wow, I already forgot about that comment. Thanks for bringing it up again!

    Anti-racism is a very new thing, as is feminism. Certainly they have been brought on by extreme things that happened in the past, but you can’t find examples of it in every country where the issue is important. Slavery was hardly the norm outside the US, and colonialism wasn’t the mark of every country that today discusses racism. Perhaps it’s because of the civil rights movement in the US that it reached such prominence even in other countries?

    Did I ever say that Chinese racism was more severe than in any other country? The only things I disagree with are that 1) there is no racism in China and that 2) China has solved all conflicts between different peoples because of its long history.

    I agree that stereotyping will continue to exist, but so will political correctness in various forms and guises. It wasn’t somehow invented in the US. You have sensitive issues everywhere that people use all sorts of different terms to avoid. Why, for example, does China not have capitalism but “socialism in the primary phase” and no longer any “classes” (阶级) but just “social groups” (社会阶层)? ;)

  335. expat Says:

    I am an Indian expat who lived in Singapore. You can get beaten up by Chinese Singaporeans for no reason. Just that they look down upon dark skin is a good enough reason. This guy was kicking my bus seat from behind saying expletives but his friends controlled him.. BTW Some one made a comment minorities are living in harmony in China and Singapore. You do not know the reality. The tibetian issue has a lot of racial element in it so does the uighur.. Han Chinese feel superior to all minorities are they vilify minorities. Only in western countries do they plan the minority card when reality hits them.

  336. No99 Says:

    For each country, I think it is a personal matter. A lot of the work has to be on the grassroots level. I can’t demand someone to be nice to me, on the other hand, nearly one wants that freedom from being physically harm or denied opportunities to live (meaning basic survival points, not necessary freedom to prosper but they do eventually coincide).

    I can say what might work and needs to be done for Hong Kong and maybe Macau, but I don’t think I’m experienced and lived long enough to know what might work or needs to be done in Hangzhou, Lhasa or Urumqi. It’s probably different. Some of the lessons I’ve learn from the fight against racism and other forms of bigotry in the US is that people have to recognize the differences, because it will take different tactics to deal with them.

    Wukailong has a point in racism and national prejudice is something kind of new. Beyond them, what do you all think might be helpful in dealing issues with people who harbor distaste for darker skin tones, lower status of wealth, education, and other non-sense people have with both people outside and inside their “circle”. Anti-Chinese Chinese.

  337. barny chan Says:

    No99 Says: “I can say what might work and needs to be done for Hong Kong and maybe Macau…”

    So what can be done regarding the rampant racism in HK and Macau?

  338. No99 Says:

    Hi barny chan,

    Would you believe me when I say media relations and real international pressure as “one of several” possibilities?

    It’s just suggestions, but if you disagree or don’t take my comment seriously, I don’t mind. I was more of a visitor with family and friends there than an actual resident.

  339. barny chan Says:

    No99, sadly in HK the media is part of the problem. There are frequent racially inflammatory diatribes in the local press.

    International pressure would be great, but it’s hard to see it coming from anywhere that would be taken seriously. The Philippines government regularly protests against the savage treatment meted out to Filipina domestic workers, but the local populace simply doesn’t care. The abuse of South and South East Asians is so commonplace that it would take generations for things to change, and, if anything, the younger generation is more racist than the older generation.

  340. No99 Says:

    Hi Barny,

    Well, if you want some personal account, my uncle faced some issues due to his origin from Vietnam, despite also being ethnically Chinese. This was in the 90s. It might have been due to the later as to why some of his situations were resolved quicker, relatively speaking. He was also dating my aunt at the time, who was a local.

    I’m quite aware of the media and race problems, and the non-sense excuses I’ve heard from people justifying it….both in articulate Cantonese and English. It really is going to take a few generations for attitudes like that to change. You’re right that it is hard for international pressure to pick up any momentum if the locals just don’t care. There is one community you all can try, but judging from the comments on this website, most of the readers here may not like it or take it seriously either.

  341. Rhan Says:

    “So what can be done regarding the rampant racism in HK and Macau?”

    My impression is that HK and Macau Chinese look down on almost everyone including Chinese as long as you are poor or relatively poor. Is that (rampant) racism? Perhaps we may call it arrogance.

  342. No99 Says:

    Well, we can’t really force people to think a certain way. The most we can strive for is decent treatment in public places or public officials, at the very least in dire places like hospitals. I know that’s an handful and is something everyone wants, not just in cases of discrimination.

    A change of attitude is in a lot of cases, a lifelong mission. Some people just criticize without fully being involve in the work, while some also criticize but are taking part in the process, to various degrees.

  343. HongKonger Says:

    Rhan,

    It’s like the saying, “Clothes make the man.” Everybody have the tendency towards profiling. It’s actually an important part of police and detective work. Here’s an excellent episode on social class discrimination:
    Fawlty Towers -A Touch of Class:

    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNjE1MTEzMzY=.html

    BTW, isn’t “looking down on the poor” known as a form of classism, or just bad manners? My Mom, like most parents I know, would tell their children never to laugh, look down on or mock at the handicapped, the infirmed, poor and unfortunate.

    Classism is prejudice and/or discrimination on the basis of social class. It includes individual attitudes and behaviors, systems of policies and practices that are set up to benefit the upper classes at the expense of the lower classes.

    “有钱大嗮啊?(You think you are superior just because you are rich?) Classism can also include attitudes and behaviour of prejudice and discrimination by members of the lower class to members of the higher class.

  344. HKer Says:

    S.K. Cheung and TonyP4 … You guys gonna love this !!!!

    黑社会问“喂~细仔~你边度咖 !”

    “印度”

    Hong Kong funny man – 香港的有趣的人 Vivek Mahbubani

    http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/WRvMuNV6XEY/

    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTY0MzgxNjA=.html

  345. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Hker,
    thanks for those clips. He’s very funny. And he’s got the colloquial Cantonese down to a T, so he may have been telling the truth when he says he’s been schooling in HK since grade school. And his English sounds solid too. Plus he’s a French major?!? I’m always impressed by people who are so multilingual. I loved that “exploding rocks” bit.

  346. HKer Says:

    SKC,

    I am glad you liked them. He was on RTHK English radio 3 this morning . And yes, he speaks English like a well educated westerner. His Cantonese is near-native ! He said on the radio this morning that he came from a very poor Indian family, so they couldn’t afford to send him to expat schools. Vivek said when he was growing up, his father worked the most stereotypical job for an Indian man in HK. then. He was a bank security guard.

    Here’s more about him from Wiki:

    Vivek is a Sindhi of Indian descent and was born and raised in Hong Kong.[3] He graduated from City University of Hong Kong with a degree in creative media in 2005[2] and currently runs his own design firm.

    Vivek is also a successful stand-up comedian in Hong Kong, performing in both English and Cantonese. He is a regular headliner and host at The TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong. In 2007, Vivek won the Cantonese-language category of the competition to find Hong Kong’s funniest person, and was a finalist in the English language category.
    In 2008, Vivek won the English language category of the competition.

    Vivek is the drummer and an original member of Eve of Sin, a Metalcore band based in Hong Kong.

    In 2008, Vivek was hired by Citibank to endorse its mobile financial services in Hong Kong.

    In 2010, Vivek was the official announcer for Hong Kong’s first Mixed Martial Arts event hosted by Legend Fighting Championship.

  347. HKer Says:

    Oh, SKC, I forgot to mention – Vivek says on the radio this morning that he doesn’t cuss or use profanity in his jokes because he says that would be too easy.

    Oh, speaking of racism, political correctness and all that, here’s a good essay that IMHO
    contains some very good and relevant points:

    Sunday Times

    AA Gill looks English, sounds English, but he disowns membership of a tribe he feels is made ugly by its simmering anger

    I hate England by AA Gill
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article584314.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1

  348. HKer Says:

    Is Racism Still Alive in America?
    Of course racism is still alive in America as it is in every country in the world
    July 11, 2010
    For people throughout the world, the election of Barak Obama to the U.S. presidency seemed to signal in a new era, that of the end of racism….. However, some recent, very ominous events cast a worrisome veil over the democratic process in the United States…. a feeling of widespread malaise in the country believed by many to be the result of an incompetent president manipulated by darker forces, an opinion widely shared throughout the world.

    Read on ….

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/04/02-7

  349. Rhan Says:

    Hker,

    I strongly believe HK people perceive that wealth is result of hardworking. And I think they are proud of their “arrogance”. My point is I don’t agree that they are racist, perhaps a better term is they are more “self centric”?

    Sam Hui “先敬羅衣後敬人”有一句@人人無論懶或勤 都要曉得裝下身, see, he still talk about hardworking and laziness.

    Shall we have a new topic “Are Chinese materialistic or simply honest” by looking at the many critical comment towards “非诚勿扰”?

  350. HKer Says:

    Rhan,

    Everybody Loves A Winner And Hates A Loser – It’s universal.

    Take the English for example: (Excerpt from AA Gill I posted above)

    ” Only the English could in all seriousness say: “It’s not whether you win or lose that counts, it’s merely taking part.” If the result is secondary, why bother taking part in the first place? But of course, for the English …”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article584314.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1

    Incidentally, Sam Hui also wrote this:

    Here sung by Taiwan superstar 罗大佑 – 浪子心声

    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTYyMTIyMzAw.html

    难分真与假人面多险诈
    几许有共享荣华檐畔水滴不分差
    无知井里蛙徙望添声价
    空得意目光如麻谁料金屋变败瓦

    命里有时终须有命里无时莫强求

    雷声风雨打何用多惊怕
    心公正白壁无瑕行善积德最乐也
    命里有时终须有命里无时莫强求
    人比海里沙毋用多牵挂

  351. HKer Says:

    Speaking of winners…here’s one Iran born American (at least) bona-fide tri-lingual winner !

    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTU4NjY4MTc2.html

    Iranian – American. Learned Perfect Cantonese when he was 19 from 2 years of volunteer work in Vancouver with helping FOB adapt to North American lifestyle. Then he majored in Mandarin and Accounting in Utah.

  352. No99 Says:

    Although people can never control what goes in another person’s heart, and the most we could do is stop people from physically harming one another…if you all want to truly lessen and hopefully eliminate bigotry, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and soul searching. I’ve thought about it for a while, read, experienced and discuss with many people who have gone through it as well as inflict their prejudices on others. It really is a personal matter for the most part. Not just that, we can’t take the puritan notion to this, the you’re either a racist or not approach. It’s not realistic. No one is safe from those feelings or ideas.

    This may sound religious, but it is true. The most you can be sensitive to others depends on how sensitive is an individual to him/herself.

  353. HKer Says:

    “we can’t take the puritan notion to this, the you’re either a racist or not approach. It’s not realistic. No one is safe from those feelings”

    Right on !

    Just when ya think America has buried the last blatant public bigot; the spotlight and megaphone of truth switches ON ! Ha-ha !

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/23/rachel-maddow-responds-to_n_656910.html?utm_source=chrome

    ” the Shirley Sherrod scandal are exactly what Fox News is all about.”

  354. No99 Says:

    Hi HKer,

    I’ll try to shorten my response. Part of being an individual, and being (or finding) yourself involves the art and science of distinguishing one from others. It’s applicable to a group of people as well, since everyone wants to feel like a sense of belonging, relatively speaking. There’s going to be all sorts of feelings, with both superiority, inferiority, and mundane-ness all meshed up together. It’s also a part of growing up, to face those thoughts inside your head and make sense…to mature into your real self.

    I don’t think anyone, Chinese or not, needs a lot or any reason to feel like they’re better or different than others. Nor is all these “rules” about what they should say or think will do much good (relatively speaking, I mean whether its race or something else, you can’t make fun of someone’s mother in front of the person, if you all understand that analogy). If a society hasn’t had a taste of racism of other places, then it’s going to be hard and inappropriate to push such standards on others. Yes, America and other places have their issues, and sometimes should mind their own business. However, I think Chinese and everyone else could learn something about this topic from others. If not from the examples of others, then at the very least learn from the experiences of the Diaspora.

  355. Honger Says:

    Very well said No99. I will keep mine short too: Know anyone who likes to be praised? Well, OK, some more than others. In any case, what’s the way to get such a person to help or do what you want him to do (for you)? :-)

  356. Tanmay Says:

    One thing that should be considered that this could be problem of exposure to a certain topic than anything else:

    I am not sure how educated about the world the chinese guys saying that were so I cannot talk about them in particular but I’ll give an example to illustrate my point.

    The african-americans have suffered in america a lot because of the skin of their color and hence in that part of the world (and among everyone who is aware of this) referring to them as Black is very rude or racist as the topic puts it.
    To someone from the interior of China who isn’t aware of the American history this would not be the case.

    In the interior of the Indian State of Maharashtra there is a group of nomadic people living in the Jungles who pierce their nose and wear a hoop through it. Legend has it that they were defeated by another tribe and made to wear this hoop as a sign of subjugation. They consider any mention of this hoop as very disrespectful or shall we say racist.
    Now would a person who is not familiar with them know this?
    No!
    Infact looking at the hoop in their nose (it’s pretty big) they would probably comment on it.
    Does this make that person racist?

    Note: This is not a true case but just an imaginary illustration.

  357. PK Says:

    Lost in translation.

    The whole article is based on a wrong translation.

    People don’t call Venus Williams a “black demon” in order to despise her based on race. The better translation is probably more akin to calling Jay-Z “that black dude” to tell your friend who’s who in a concert. There’s nothing wrong in simply identifying a person based on skin color.

    And you know what’s the most annoying part? The over-sensitive author and his wife being self-righteous and tell them to shut up, only because the author himself think it’s politically incorrect based on THEIR thoughts about the words. The authors are the actual racists because they generalize the whole race based on one or a few conversations.

    This whole article is vestigial colonialism all over again.

  358. Jonathan Ryan Tung Says:

    Someone here mentioned that the women from Shanghai amounted to nothing more than spoiled brats. This is a pretty watered down, abridged reflection of the truth but I certainly can understand why one might hold this opinion.

    My father came from Suzhou and my mother from Shanghai. Both of them spent their teen years growing up in HongKong. I personally feel that those combined factors contributed to why my mother and many women of similar backgroud are oftentimes “difficult” to deal with: unreasonable confrontational disposition, a tendency to rationalize backwards and forwards, superiority complex etc.

    There’s an underground saying in Chinese that basically goes like this: Your family is lucky if your son marries a girl from Taiwan (despite the unabashed anti-Taiwanese sentiment in the mainland), but unlucky if he marries a girl from Shanghai. As is the case with many stereotypes, there is a hint of truth there. I have not been able to pin it down entirely, but I think that staunch Confucian ideals already lead to behavioral extremes in a society. When you combine those traditional ideals with the pressures of living in a big city and some elements of modernity, you get the mess that is the current picture in so many Chinese cities–HongKong, Beijing, Shanghai….I just happen to think that Shanghai happens to be the most extreme. The stereotype that Shanghainese men are whipped certainly played out in my family. And though a single instance does not necessarily lend strong support to that theory, my own experiences are rather telling.

    I think something went haywire in the Wu/Shanghai region. It is perfectly acceptable and part of the culture that women are loud, attention mongering, and proud to be gossipy. Since the culture has grown to accept that over several generations, they have made further progress in how far society will allow them to act in ways that most in the west would consider improper if not flat out insufferable.

    As for racism, it is my belief that the concept of racism is institutionalized though perhaps not officially so. There is a tacit understanding within the populace that Han and Anglo-Saxon whites are to be regarded as the dominant race–and few people within the population question it. Modernity is just that: modern. It will take several more generations for such ideas to spread throughout the country; to supplant the conventional way of thinking. My hope is that it comes sooner rather than later.

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