Skip to comments.Seeing the dragon of racial prejudice: The Chinese bias against African-Americans
Posted on 02/23/2012 10:58:01 AM PST by presidio9
Though Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer-winning columnist for The Washington Post, is a serious and highly sophisticated man, I was disappointed by a recent column in which he compared the United States and China.
In eloquent terms, Robinson asserted that the Chinese, right now, look more unsentimentally at their problems and are not bluffing the world about taking them on, no matter how large, intimidating and deeply dug in by custom they might be.
Robinson suggests the Chinese seem to be addressing their most important natural resource, which is their population, as we are not as proven by the depressingly shallow nature of American political arguments.
Fair enough, as far as it goes.
But Robinson does not mention something about China something that an honest assessment of its strengths and weaknesses should not ignore.
For at least 20 years, I have heard stories from Americans who speak Mandarin, have traveled to the Asian country and have tales about Chinese bigotry against black Americans and Africans.
Yet this reality is barely whispered in our diverse media circus.
I have no doubt there are thousands upon thousands of decent Chinese and Chinese-Americans who, having known the sting of prejudice themselves, harbor no ill will toward African-Americans. But lets not deny a stubborn cultural problem when it is staring us in the face.
Here are examples of what I have been told.
One Irish-American friend fell in love with Chinese culture and learned Mandarin. Often in New Yorks Chinatown, he heard this answer when Chinese New Yorkers were asked by those from the mainland what New York was like: Fine. But too many black people.
A friend who does business in China and travels there at least six times a year was questioned by a Chinese cab driver who claimed that Chinese people were amazed that George W. Bush had chosen Condoleezza Rice to represent America to the world.
Why? Because she is black, quite an embarrassment; it dishonors your country, was the cab drivers answer.
Another frequent business traveler to China was recently in a Hong Kong bar with college-educated, upper class, very successful men who were supposedly well-educated.
After a few drinks, one said to him upon seeing a black person on the bars television, They need to wash more. That is why people do not like them. When it was explained that black people are not that color because they are not clean, there was a nodding silence followed a bit later by, I still think they need to wash more.
These are just stray anecdotes, you say? Well, I invite and hope to encounter some defenders of Chinese adherence to transcendent humanitarian beliefs.
I actually expect to hear nothing other than accusations of supposed black American paranoia.
Robinson and others are right when they call out the dog whistles of disguised racial bitterness by Republican candidates trying slyly to draw the votes of Southern rednecks. Racism is real in America, and it frequently hides in code words.
But lets be clear: A broad admiration for certain facets of Chinese culture ought not conceal the fact that bad racial attitudes there may be at least as pervasive as they are in the United States.
There are those who would have us assess individuals not as being human types, but as being examples of what were told to genetically expect from a given ethnic group.
That is an impulse that all of us across skin tones, ethnic cultures and political systems must continually expose and fight.
You'd be angry too, if 150 years after the Civil War it was still impossible for a black man to escape from a crappy neighborhood like Fort Greene, and grow up to become a world famous director and producer who... Oh wait. Never mind.
I get a kick out of Spike, but how angry can you be, when you can afford to pay $500,000 for a pair of courside season Knicks tickets? Even when they suck because there are no Asian Americans on the team.
My favorite thing about "Do the Right Thing" was Kim Bassinger suggesting during her Oscar speech that racism was behind that movie not winning best picture that year. The winner was "Driving Miss Daisy."
Crouch's bigotry about supposed "rednecks" is, of course, okay.
One might also point out that the US is one of the most racially tolerant societies on earth, and that other countries and ethnicities are far more racist against blacks than we are. No just the Chinese, but most other Asians, the Russians, most Europeans, and especially Arabs, all look down on blacks and consider them inferior in many ways. Crouch and Robinson are both parochial to think otherwise.
You should notice I’ve written “many,” not “all.” And I live in a village where most of the people are Native, too. I’ve just expressed my experience with these sorts of things. People here are comfortable enough with me in the room to let all sorts of opinions be spoken that would curdle milk. I would hazard a guess that my experiences are influenced by the fact that most of my adult life has been spent in the media and academia, where liberal intolerance is normative in many settings.
My observation is that American culture gives a pass to racism from some people while accusing others of the same thing even in its absence. Imagine the racism from Rev. Wright and think about a similar preacher expressing the same attitudes about African-Americans. Or Whoppi Goldberg. Or any number of rappers. And, yes, people are people, and groups aren’t individuals; there is Alan West and Thomas Sowell, too.
The good news in my multiracial classroom is that practically all of my students from all background actually live by the philosophy of treating people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. For example, every kid was disgusted when they were shown a letter from the state of Alaska restricting a scholarship to Native kids. Their immediate reaction was that affirmative action like that was racist. Many of the kids like their ancestry, but it’s not a reason to segregate themselves. Now that might be just an artifact of Alaskan culture, but it’s what I see.
My last observation is that the bigots of color I’ve met are also the old dinosaurs of the left. The world will a better place when we see their final column in the obit section.
Hope that clarifies things from up here at the treeline.
I amazed Chinese Americans haven’t been brainwashed to the degree other Americans have if what you say is true.
Assuming you had those black friends, you'd get to know their friends and realize that a lot of what you were feeling was based on misunderstanding. You don't behave the same way with people you know as you do with strangers, and neither do black people. FWIW, black people tend to reserve their higest level of bigotry and mistrust for members of their own race.
That being said, I agree that older black people tend to be more suspicious of race. Unfortunately, since they lived through segregation they get a pass.
My daughter has travelled to China on business, numerous times, to a part of China that most visitors don’t get to see.
On one of her trips, she was taken to another city that she had not been to before. What she saw there, shocked and puzzled her. The city was teeming with Black people. The Chinese man, who she was working with, said that the residents of the city were fed up with the Blacks that had been brought into their city because they didn’t work and they committed a lot of crime, which was virtually non-existent in their city before the Blacks came.
My daughter, said to the man, “Where did they come from? The Chinese man shrugged and said, “Africa.” My daughter said that she knew that they were African, but where in Africa did they come from and why are they here. The Chinese man said that no one knew.
“Spike is a skilled film-maker.”
So was Leni Riefenstahl.
No. No one gets a pass. If they hold me to a standard, they should be held to the same standard. No exceptions. I don't care what has happened to them.
>>>I forgot that you were from Alaska. Tell you what: I’ll avoid making broad generalizations about Eskimos if you do the same with African Americans. You can quantify your point with the word “many” if you like. If you feel the need to share it with the world, it still comes across as your basic opinion on black people in general. That being said, I agree that older black people tend to be more suspicious of race. Unfortunately, since they lived through segregation they get a pass.<<<<
Fair enough, especially with the point about segregation. Be well wherever you are.
You know this how?
My youngest brother and his wife took a trip to China last year. They’ve traveled extensively, and they said the Chinese were absolutely the rudest people they’ve ever met. They also said China, beyond the confines of the tourist routes, is exceptionally dirty. My brother’s wife, who is black, was standing in line in some food place waiting to make an order when a Chinese women walked in and literally pushed her out of the way to get ahead of her. There were other incidents like that, and they were happy to leave the country. They then went on to Japan and had nothing but glowing things to say about that country and the people. I guess nobodys perfect. I’m sure there are plenty of polite Chinese nationals, but after my brother and wife’s experience, my wife and I do not plan on visiting China anytime soon.
>>They then went on to Japan and had nothing but glowing things to say about that country and the people. I guess nobodys perfect. Im sure there are plenty of polite Chinese nationals, but after my brother and wifes experience, my wife and I do not plan on visiting China anytime soon.
The Japanese are racist against blacks too, they just have sense to keep their mouths shut.
>>My best friend, who is Vietnamese, tried to marry a Japanese girl, but her family wouldnt let him. He was gaijin, you see.
More like he was a wuss. All it takes is a two witness’ signatures at a local ward office. I’m married to a Japanese women myself, and her parents were Buddhist statue carvers, lol. But I love ‘em.
You miss the point... a tribe is a Mob.. and the leaders are mobsters..
Well, tribes often form mobs, but a tribe is basically a kinship group. Lawyers even have their own language, one hard for outsiders to understand. All these code words, you know.
The Japanese tend to be very conscious of small differences. People of Korean descent who came to Japan a hundred years ago are generally not welcome.
>>The Japanese tend to be very conscious of small differences. People of Korean descent who came to Japan a hundred years ago are generally not welcome.
From what I’ve seen...the whole zainichi racism think isn’t that big in Japan anymore.
Wait..! You haven’t ever been taken to the Koban..?!
I’ve been taken there like THREE TIMES...! ahhahaha...!
But I’m serious, yeah. But there is the really funny part —being able to speak Japanese made them MORE suspicious of me..!!
“Ah. OVERSTAYER, huh...?!” hahahaha!! Yep.