Lou Jing: Racism Gone Wild?
However, upon entering this competition, she was shocked to find rude racial epithets hurled against her on the Chinese blogosphere. Was she really Chinese? Quite a few people felt she was not. They condemned her for her skin color and her mother’s infidelity. Many comments were blatantly racist.
I first became aware of this story when James Fallows mentioned it in his Atlantic blog. He wrote, “To be clear about the context: this is not a “blame China” episode but rather one of many illustrations of the differences in day by day social realities and perceived versus ignored sources of tension in particular societies. That’s all to say about it for now.” I want to explore those tensions further.
The Singapore Straits Times wrote this article which goes into greater detail about the competition itself, her family story and what she has had to deal with once her story became known. They wrote:
Their story seems to have struck a nerve among many Chinese netizens. They expressed indignation that Madam Lou had committed adultery, ‘an act all the more disgraceful as it was done with someone from another race’.
‘She is from the concentration camp of shameless women reserved for foreigners,’ said one hateful posting on Chinese Web portal kdnet.net.
On popular website tianya.com, a netizen named dunkez wrote that ‘Ms Lou’s mother obviously thought she could get out of China by flirting with a black man, but it turned out that she was left with nothing but a black kid’.
Another called both mother and daughter ‘morons’, saying the younger one had inherited the genes of vanity and felt no shame in publicising her background.
After weeks of silence, Ms Lou, who did not make it to the final 12 in the talent show, released a public statement last weekend saying she ‘reserves all rights to sue anyone who insults the colour of her skin’.
Commenting on the issue, city blog Shanghaiist.com noted: ‘Perhaps because of China’s status as a mostly mono-cultural giant that is only just opening up to the world, the topic of racism in this country is always a landmine-infested war zone.’
Over at the China Hush website, they reported other comments:
“Ever since Lou Jing made it to the top five in Shanghai district of the competition, Netizens never stopped debating over her, as she further advanced in the competition, netizens’ voices were more and more extreme. As early as August 10th a netizen named “宅男爸爸” wrote a post with the title “Posting a boring post, is it possible Lou Jing’s father is Obama?” on KDS. In this post, he endlessly mocked, made fun of Lou Jing. Soon after, more and more netizens jumped on the bandwagon of “cursing Lou Jing”. (This post is now deleted)
On August 28th, netizens’ debate over Lou Jing’s controversy grew more intensely. A netizen named “朕爱天下” posted a post with the title “Lou Jing’s American Black Father and Shanghai Mother”, attracted over 100,000 views. Many netizens viciously insulted Lou Jing’s mother in the post comments, of course others were outraged by the racist and ignorant comments, fighting back to protect Lou Jing and her mother. Below are some selected comments.
Shanghai people’s value plunges.
A bastard, brought her out to show off because of the foreigner descent.
The girl is ok, her mom is a whore, married and still mess around with black guy, maybe it’s the great “love”, it’s a pity the black guy was just playing her, Chinese girls please have some self-respect.
Her mother still has the face to go on stage, she is shameless, and this kind of thing is definitely scandals you should keep in the family. She still dares to go on stage, maybe she does not feel ashamed, instead feels proud.
Is this the legend of the bastard? And an unwanted bastard, Her mother is a shameless woman, pregnant by a black guy, and then abandoned, was it good when he was pleasing you? Still obsessed with him after several decades? Not feel ashamed, even go on TV to look, looking for what? Looking for lost big XX? Looking for climax never had again? Shameless! Why are Shanghai women always the target of criticism? It’s because of shameless bitch like her!
Dragon TV please help this bastard find her family. Let the black father with a big XX hurry back, address this old woman’s needs!
Black Dad, come back soon! Someone cannot forget your big XX.
This woman has no sense of shame, married and you cheat, give birth to a black kid so there is no way to hide, if wasn’t for that her husband will have to raise their children. Cheap is the word, in order to run with a foreigner, even do with black people.
There are countless comments like above with only a few neutral comments, but mainly saying it’s not the girls fault…
Why all people in here are like this? What kind of world is this!!!!
Her mother, I don’t know. But everyone is discriminate against blacks? If her father is white, what will you say then?
People, please be kind, girl herself is not wrong. Why can’t she go on TV? F* that, I cannot help but to curse. I think even she is a little dark, but very cute~
You guys are a group of twisted people.
Lou Jing wrote a post “I am Lou Jing from ‘Oriental Angels’, I am making an announcement here” on KDS on August 30th
1. My father is an American, not African
2. I am a native Shanghainese
3. Parents’ fault I should not be responsible for, I am innocent!
4. Solemnly Protest against acts of racial discrimination by some of you, my skin color should not be the target of attacks! I will retain the right to take legal actions!
And from the previously mentioned Shanghaiist, another article about this girl with the following excerpts:
“In this one, Lou Jing raps about herself (yes). Throughout most of the video, she’s called “our chocolate girl Lou Jing,” though the female presenter mixes it up at some point, saying she’s a “black pearl.” Black Pearl Lou Jing confronts her modeling shoot, which the presenters said made her look like Halle Berry.
In very Chinese good girl fashion, she demurely offers a “85” when they ask her to rate herself.
And this video is the part that first got the netizens all into a huff. Video and transcript after the jump.
Female Presenter: Lou Jing, you ought to be a mixed-blood (hun xue er), why is your Chinese so good?
LJ: Because my mother’s Shanghainese and I grew up in Shanghai. Presenter: Lou Jing, is it your dad that is Shanghainese or your mom?
LJ: My mother.
P: Your mother is Shanghainese. Then what’s your dad?
LJ: Haha… not Shanghainese… He’s American.
Male Presenter: Our Lou Jing, until she was 16, she never knew her dad was American. She always thought her dad was from Shanghai, right?
LJ: Haha, yes.
MP: About Lou Jing’s story, let’s listen to what her mother has to say.
20-year-old Lou Jing grew up in a single parent household. Her father was an African American. He didn’t know that Lou Jing’s mother had become pregnant and because of other reasons, left the country to go back to America. From that point on, without any other options, Lou Jing’s mother raised Lou Jing on her own.
LJ’s mom: I was in Shanghai and had to raise a child. At that time, my mother came over to help us. I had to go out of town to work alot… to Jiangsu… Lou Jing would stay at home by herself.
This way, LJ slowly grew up. Then at seven, she suddenly asked her mother “Mom, who’s my father?”
LJ’s mom: “My father?” I didn’t answer, immediately started crying. From then on, Lou Jing never asked again.
From then on, Lou Jing never again asked about her mother’s affairs.
The rest of the video has most of the presenters and judges asking questions about whether Lou Jing wondered about her dad, whether she wanted to meet him and so on – she gets visibly emotional and says some touching bits about how she didn’t want to hurt her mother by asking too many questions and how her mother raised her well anyway. It then cuts to Lou Jing singing. Unfortunately, she seems to suffer from the same thing that plagues a surprising amount of the contestants on these shows – offkeyitis.”
And finally, China Smack got into the act with various readers comments:
- Her mom really knows how to enjoy herself
- Even going on television…what is this show trying to promote? Extra-marital affairs…?
- This mother is really horny.
- Her mother’s skin is pretty thick. At the time finding foreigners was indeed a fad, but you still can’t pick blacks!
- Ugh. Yellow people and black people mixed together is very gross…only black skin, not yellow skin, chocolate skin… Not even knowing this common knowledge, ruining a child’s life.
- There are still a lot of this kind of women that would get involved with blacks~ Her old mother at the time had courage, probably also did not know what color would she would give birth to, white, yellow, all possible, right…?
- She does not have it easy either. She’s still better than those men and women these days who treat abortion like a trivial matter. Moreover, her mother was not married. If the men in this post are all so enthusiastic about attacking her, then you guys better take care of your own lives.
- Numb! This bitch still has the audacity to appear on television! I don’t know what to say! One cannot be shameless to this kind of level!
- Black people actually have a pretty high standing internationally, many famous fashion models and stars are all married to black people. However in China, this kind of thing is a little embarrassing/shameful.
- I think this mother is still very great/admirable. Willing to face her own mistakes, I ask how many TF here would dare to face [such mistakes]. A single mother able to bring up a daughter is already very difficult/impressive, much less one with a different skin color, the difficulties are imaginable.
Everyone has the ability to analyze what is right, what is wrong. Everyone think about it, don’t be so immature, opening your mouth to hurl abuse without thinking. Be a bit more understanding with other people.
- I think Lou Jing should not be condemned, she herself did nothing wrong, and if her father was an American white person, she probably would not be discriminated against. In the end, it is still racism.
- Obama’s little sister.
Similarities: Male black dog x different skin colored woman.
Differences: Black x White = Obama, Black x Yellow = Luo Jing.
So as you can see, the opinions vary all over the place but there’s no denying many of the comments are very racist. However, many of the comments are also positive and understanding.
My personal view of this is that there are two kinds of racism, one based on ignorance and one based on hatred. I believe what we see here is racism based on ignorance. It was no different than when I was very young; the different races in America were so segregated that there was very little interaction with each other so opinions were based on myth and exaggeration. Once the races started to mingle in the ’60s, the culture rapidly changed. People who were formerly racist lost that trait as they gained knowledge, friendship and understanding of other races besides themselves. They lost the racism of ignorance and replaced it with the tolerance gained by understanding.
However, there is another kind of racism that isn’t so easy to forgive, the racism that exists in the face of interaction, knowledge and understanding. That is simply blatant bigotry. I don’t believe that is what we are dealing with here.
Most Chinese have had little to no interaction with other races, with the possible exception of a few Caucasians. The racism they exhibit is the racism of ignorance. How is this cured? By discussion, common sense, examples and eventually knowledge, friendship and understanding. This is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. However, though many of the above comments are very ignorant and cruel, there are also comments that show tolerance, understanding and an open mind. Until people talk about issues, nothing will happen to change perceptions.
Maybe this is China’s equivalent of the late ’50s/early’60s in the USA? Because China is 90% Han, the change will probably take longer but as Chinese people travel more, meet different cultures and become more worldly and sophisticated, I expect that their culture will also develop to the point that racism isn’t tolerated in respectable circles. It just takes time…
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