Recently I wrote a post about Racism in China, just before finding out about the Beijing Police Rounding Up and Beating of Black People at Josh’s blog.  Rick also wrote a post dealing with this called Sino Xenophobia? It’s a really sad and unfortunate reality that racism exists in China, especially against black people and Japanese people. How many people in China are racist, and how racist these people are, is open to debate, but racism’s existence in China is a fact.

Knowing this, if you are or if you were black, would you come to live in China?

This is a question from a reader on the Racism in China post (clicking this will take you directly to the comment) named Davon, who said:

This thread has definitely given me pause.

As an African American who has recently decided to teach English in China this, and other posts, make me really wonder if it will be worth learning mandarin, moving to another country. Particularly if one, I am at a severe disadvantage, and two, if I am going to feel like I live in Mississippi circa 1911.

I have a very strong grasp of the English language as well as many other skills that I can contribute including a BS in Public Policy and over 6 years of fund raising experience in Washington, DC and Chicago.

I guess continuing this thread and adding another question to it, Is it a waste of my time to move to China?

I don’t feel very qualified to answer this question in its entirety, but maybe you do, and that’s the why for this additional post.

Some Thoughts about Whether or not to Come to China

But there are several things that would influence this decision if it were me. They include:

  • The teaching position. A job in a middle school or elementary school, or some of the less well known language schools, would be a big no-no. The job sucks for anyone, and the higher your position / authority, the more respect you will get, no matter who you are. So if you are going to teach English in China, your best bet is in a well known language school (Wall Street English) or a decent University.
  • Whether you are teaching at all. A job in a well known multinational means you would experience the least racism or ignorance possible in mainland China – the people hired into such jobs are usually quite well educated and more open minded, on average, than others in China.
  • How sensitive you are. I know I hate getting stared at, having to listen to conversations about foreigners, and getting hello shouted at me, but these pale in comparison to the racist things you would hear in China if you are black and fluent in Chinese (people will rarely say or do racist things directly to you, with the huge and glaring exception of what happened in Beijing).

What would you do, or what advice do you have for Davon?

Time to open this up to discussion, and get your advice or thoughts for Davon. This is a complicated issue, so it would be great to see a variety of opinions, and that’s one thing that isn’t lacking here at Lost Laowai.

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About Jeremy

Jeremy would like to get the heck out of here but also knows he would miss it when gone. Living in China has changed his life in a similar way that living in Lost would change you, thinks it is all a bit too confusing and tries to do 'stuff' at a couple of sites otherwise known as 'blogs'.

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  1. Hey Davon:
    I am an older Black Panamanian who have lived in the US, Mexico and Japan. I would with all my experiences advise you to stick to your original plans,learn mandarin so that you can speak well enough to be intelligent in your responses to racism. Then go wherever the Spirit of your God send you.

    I for my part have found racism worse in mexico city than anything I had found in Asia. So use your youth and energy and go teach about Blacks and Black Studies. Make people listen and take notice. How do we expect them in China to be less ignorant than US?

    You are invited to visit:
    The Silver People Chronicle.


    • i side with this. i’ve ‘had’ more western people ‘inform me’ how bad things would work out for me in china than i have now, in 5+ years, actually experienced from the chinese themselves

      there is discrimination no doubt – but please do consider contexts: the same a black may get skipped to teach english for not looking white, the same way a ethnic chinese accounting grad may get skipped to be a finance translator because he’s not female…

      there are expectancies of gender, race and culture that go just as deep domestically, too

      for this reason i believe it’s not worth a worry and really just solves itself in time. keep a positive attitude

  2. I agree with Roberto. In general I think Chinese racism towards those outside the Asian sphere is mostly just misguided ignorance than the hard-core hate you get from Aryan dickwads.

    I’ve had a number of Black friends here in China that seem to get on just fine. I’m sure they’ve had their own challenges and more than once had to deal with negative situations, but definitely no reason to shy away from coming to China and educating yourself (and others along the way if you can).

    Blacks are by no means the only victims of the rampant assumption that foreigners can’t understand Chinese and the stupid things that are said because of it, and though it’s a pain in the ass, I think it’s equally a pain in the ass for everyone.

    Interesting site Roberto.

  3. Ryan,

    I really enjoy your blog; it has a unique perspective to life in China. I wonder if it would be all right with you if I put your URL on my “Our Favorite Blogs” list on my “Silver People” site? I think some of my readers would like reading your articles. Let me know if you approve.

  4. Devon,
    I’m a Black South American from Guyana. I have been working in China for over six years as an English teacher. At present I’m a teacher trainer and this includes training teachers from most of the native English speaking countries as well as Chinese teachers.

    The question of racism in China is an interesting one, to say the least and I must agree with Ryan that a lot of it is ‘misguided ignorance’. However, racism it is.

    Since I’ve been here, I have heard unpleasant things said about me by some people in the street with regards to my race. I have also heard the comments of other foreigners about how Chinese people feel about Black people.

    The truth is I have made a number of really good friends here and I am constantly invited to stay in the homes of many of my friends and their families. I have second mothers and grandmothers here and I trulu love them as my own family because they have proven time and time again to be genuine.

    With regards to my job(s), I have never experienced prejudice. On the contrary, I’ve been treated with respect and I constsntly hear of how much the students and their parents admire me. I’ve been offered and I have refused jobs at universities. I have been invited to do presentations and read scripts for advertisement… the ones that tended to present Blacks in any comical or negative way I quickly refused.

    Yes, racism does exist in China and, as Jeremy has written, it covers a wide spectrum which includes non Asians, Japanese, darker Chinese and people perceived to be in the lower strata of society. The thing is once people get to know you, all that is changed which is why I seriously believe that it has to do more with ignorance rather than institutionalized racism.

    I truly love working in China and I will always treasure the friends I have made here.

    My advice to you is Come! Here’s your opportunity to educate about ‘Blacks and Black Studies’ as Roberto rightfully suggests.

  5. Hi Chris,

    That was a great and thoughtful response, especially as you have spent quite a few years in China.

    From what I have seen and experienced, it is definitely true that those that you make friends with or grow close to in China will see you as a person like any other.

    Sounds like you have made a lot out of your life and time in China – where have you lived over the past six years, just wondering?

  6. I’m a black African and I truly agree with many of the above comments. I’d like some white guys to try this: Just go over the internet and try to apply for an English teaching job. All will move fine until the ask to speak with you. They’ll be very impressed with your accent and all. The deciding question you’re often asked is “where are you from?’ precisely asking about your nationality. The moment you mention any place in africa, you’ll get a usual response: we’re sorry our company have a policy not to employ non-native spaekers. I was wondering, does coming from Africa mean I’m a non-natice speaker? Well, after waiting in vain for the white guys (whom they prefer without qualifications or experience) they finally turn to the black guys. well, some black guys have become so smart. They beat the system with fake identity, claiming US or canadian nationality and since they can fake performance, the notion is that all blacks, no matter where they come from can’t perform.
    To be Frank, the real black guys actually qualified to do this job finally give up and loss enthusiasm.
    Though ignorance is a dorminant factor, leading to aggrandisement of the whiteman, employers should also educate parents on the fact that it’s not a matter of color, but know-how.

    • I’m a Chinese and perhaps I know more about the teaching job than your acknowledgement. It’s true that most teaching job requires native English speaker. That’s because in Chinse teaching system, British or American English are regarded as the most typical English, and such accents are what the learners pursuing for. Just imagine if you want to learn authentic Chinese, are you willing to apply for a language school with teachers from Singapore or Malaysia? Some of them do speak fluent Chinese, no doubt, but the way they speak and think are by no means the same.

  7. To be fair, I have met a good number of both black and white “non-native” speakers, with solid English skills and thick accents, that had no more right teaching English than a Japanese person with a fairly good grasp of Mandarin has of teaching me.

    I don’t blame any language school for having standards in regards to hiring “native” speakers. I don’t think this is racism in the least. If they wanted non-native speakers to teach English, they could just hire Chinese teachers with impeccable English to do the job for a quarter the price.

    Incidentally, a friend of mine from Benin, and a solid French accent to match, somehow got away with saying he was from Scotland. Kids continually asked him why he didn’t where a kilt.

  8. 2.5 years in Shanghai, then back to America last year.

    Being black in China was not some crushing blow, but more like a sharp pebble in your shoe. With the weight of the other b.s., the xenophobia, rising crime and pollution levels, feeling guilty for (indirectly) supportig a cruel regime… it just got to be a bit much to have a nice pleasant week or several days, and then hear someone say (in Chinese) how dirty I was, or ugly and dark, etc. It was like Groundhog Day: no matter what growth or changes I saw in myself, I found myself back at square one, again and again, wondering why I bothered. So, when my contract ended, I stopped bothering, came home.

    Yeah, I know all foreigners experience racism, but the added racism against blacks made for some disspiriting moments.

    Were I in my mid 20s and not mid 30s, it probably would have fit more into my spirit of “adventure”, but if wishes were fishes…

    That said, I miss my Chinese friends dearly, and there were many aspects of the culture that were just really endearing and warm. How’s this for a plan, I promised myself that when (if?) the Chinese real estate bubble burst I’d go back and buy a flat, spend some time there with the wifey and be her tour guide, show off my language skills, hahaha.. hopefully the comfort of marriage and the passage of time will add some maturation to China, I will appreciate it again.

  9. Well said.

    Thats how I feel as a chinese in the us….born in mich and all. But I can’t go “back” home. Oh well thats life in the us.

  10. The best way to retaliate against ignorant comments made within earshot is to ask for directions – in Mandarin. That kills three birds with one stone. The guilty party loses face because they have been caught out; it gets them off the subject; and they have to re-think who you might be.

    ps Don’t expect to get any directions by the way. You’ll just get a stupid grin, and some private satisfaction

  11. Hey all,

    Recently I had a friend apply to work at a university in greater China. My friend, we’ll call her A., is smart, talented, feminist-empowered African-American woman with a degree in Chinese and Theater. I have nothing but respect for her.

    When she was offered the job, she called me and asked for advice. She told me she’d lived in Taiwan and Beijing for short periods (a couple of weeks), and asked me what she should expect.

    This was really frustrating for me. I felt really uncomfortable. I have seen firsthand how black men and women are thought of in China, even by intelligent, well-educated people, and it still bothers me.

    And frankly, who was a skinny white boy like me from the Midwest in the US to tell to this woman about racial intolerance in China?

    Ultimately, I sent her a note and told her what I believed: I believe she is a strong woman, I believe that black folks face a really difficult challenge in coming to China and facing her, and I believe that she has the courage to face that.

    I also told her, as I felt she had a right to know, that the only other black member of the teaching staff at the college, a first-generation African diasporan man with a PhD from the US, left the university and broke contract because of his treatment at that university.

    What I took away from that was that I think she can have a good experience in China, but she just needed to be prepared. I firmly believe in what 黑人 said about a sharp pebble in the shoe, and what another poster said: that once you make friends with Chinese people, they will respect you regardless of race.

    I have been in contact with A. since she arrived in China and she has not written to me anything intensely negative about her experience. Then again, she hasn’t been writing glowing reviews, either…


  12. hi jeremy,hi ya’ll,well i have lived in china beijing for two years and in my view chinese are really funny little people!the majority of them (80%) are clearly not educated,and are the utmost primitive minded creatures i have ever to met.In regards to they culture,which is filled with comical fantasies,(visibly seen by the movie “flying daggers” and a million others)they seem to stop growing mentally at the emotional age of 13 (men and women).I find it hard to engage in meaningful conversations with a man from where they believe black is less and white is right,where they have been stripped naked of their diginity by the minority(actualy i now fully believe that the only way to control such a primitive mass is by total control of everything,because if there was another system the country would be …. ,due to the multitudes of fake leather jacket wearing hermits that think they know it all but actually would find it difficult to locate thier anus),the current government has done well in their perpetual steady growth.I am mostly appalled by the behavior & hygiene standards in china,the hermits spit everywhere.You walk along the street you definetly not short of seeing a stand with the most disgusting looking food (or hermits face) you have ever seen.The chinese literally eat anything that moves (or not move),the chinese are responsible for atleast 70% pirated products in the world too.Now with this in mind and the many other points i have left out,i find it hard for a person from this background to have the audacity to lookdown on my race.Take the speck out your own eye before you attempt to take one out from another mans eye-i believe is jesus’ saying- For any of the black people that are thinking of coming to china i’ll tell you here and now that it is a waste of time and energy,you will not like it here period.the extent of which the hermits and the educated hermits have taken it is beyond recovery(to the extent of arresting and beating black people on sight-ask questions later typa-style)you will only bring stress upon yourself really.I would recommend visiting rather than long stays,china does have some beautiful spots that are worthwile to visit however if you stay too long you will pick up thier culture and way of thuoght and end up thinking like the locals that perhaps indeed you really are second hand class citizens.When i think of china i always have good memories like my visit to the great wall,my experience dating a local,skiing,cheap clothes gadgets and other products,yanjing pijiu,etc.. but most of these great memories are over-shadowed by the reality of being black and in china.The thoughts of countless racial discrimination i went through,leaves much to be ‘disired’..
    i am sure the chinese in my country aren’t treated this bad,howevevr now that i’ve been to thier country and treated this way,leaves me with no other thought that when i return home and see one or two of them passing by,Why not?..

  13. Pingback: 【转】住在中国并大部分懂中文的老外的blog at 天蓝色的彼岸|

  14. Thank you for your deep commentary Tyci (or Prince Philip rather). Absolutely Brilliant.

    As a Caucasian from HK, I can say that although blacks and indians get it worst, all foreigners in China or HK have it hard, pretty much in a daily way. Be prepared to be told to go home, that your mother is a whore, ect… on a daily basis. And never get in a fight/altercation there, because even if you are in the right, everyone around you will gang up on you because of your race. Be prepared to never be seen as a real human, just a foreigner, not really part of their system or lives. And dont ever hope to be accepted as just another person.

  15. Hi everybody,

    Thanks for all the comments, My situation’s a little different. I am a UK citizen and was considering going to China this summer to teach at a summer school. But now I’m not so sure. My dad is African and very dark skinned. My mum is from the Philippines and very oriental looking. I’ve been too the Philippines many times and I’m not going to lie I have experienced racist comment. Nothing too bad, but it does hurt. I agree 黑人 saying that it is like a pebble in your shoe. But I think that as long as the comments aren’t too many then I would enjoy my time there. Still it doesn’t hurt any less no matter how many times you hear it. Which is such a pity because being a modern language student I am keen to travel and I feel like I am banned from going to a lot of countries just because of my race.

  16. Hey Tom, you’re only limited by how you allow others to limit you. Why lessen your experience in life because of the ignorance of others?

    I think we tend to critique the racist remarks made in China because we are laowai and that’s what we do – but there are countless examples of dark skinned people in China that have a fantastic and rewarding time.

  17. I am curious to find out what, exactly, are some of the derogatory terms the Chinese use for black people or black man/woman, something like the “nigger” term used in the U.S.. Please respond because I know that in Japan it is “coco-jin” and many people use it in a derogatory sense. Like in Mexico one is called “chango” or “sambo” – the former means monkey. It would be nice for people of colour (black) to know when they are being insulted and not smile back at these people in their innocence. BTW I’m very much enjoying this issue that you have taken up in your blog. I still say you gotta give it to Mao Tse Tung who tried to elevate the intellect of a nation of ignoramuses. Also, Tyci please explain more about the “hermits.”

    • Actually, the term “laowai (老外)” is SLIGHTLY racist. It is like saying “black people” is not strictly politically correct in the US. Rather, you should say “African American”. However, since you all accept the term “laowai”, the extent of racism is further reduced but it still has a slight sense of self-mockery.

      Terms like “laohei (老黑)” and “heigui (黑鬼)” are racist, the latter being extreme. The former may reflect ignorance but the latter is definitely a sign of hostility.

    • Racist terms are only what you allow them to be, I do not know a white person who does not think that “peckerwood”, ‘cracker”, “honky” etc are hilarious terms. I lived in Nigeria and it took me a long time to realize that racist derogatories were being yelled at me. I just waived and smiled.

  18. I am singaporean chinese studying in uk,i get along very well with the africans,they are nice.However,some africans do look down on us chinese saying that we’re inferior coz cheap labour,eat dogs bla..bla..which really infuriate me.Most of the africans are too western-culture dependant,they shoud set up their own mind and stand,don be mentally colonized by the west again.Hope we will understand each other better,world peace!!!

  19. @Ray – Word. Your comment is the bomb – it starts with the obligatory “I don’t hate black folk” line, moves quickly into the “but they hate me” part, heads straight to the “they have no culture and don’t think like I do” bit, before doing a touch-down endzone dance with that totally random “world peace!!!”.

    Unless, that is, you were being serious . . . .

  20. It depends on your personality, interests and many things. Chinese can be pretty reserved when it comes to expressing emotions. Most Chinese are very curious about foreigners, so you’ll get a lot of stares and attention. Some people don’t mind and some do.

    I have a lot of Chinese friends in Hangzhou, they are not racist. You might have more trouble in less modern parts of the country.

    Chinese tend to say things we would think of as racist, but they don’t mean it that way. So it’s important to pay attention to the tone and intent, and not be overly sensitive.

    They often assume that you can’t speak the language and can’t understand them as a foreigner- even if you can- that is normal.

  21. This entire thread worries me. I am a Black American married to a Chinese man. We presently live in the US, but at some point will be moving to China. I am scared to death, but I know that I have to be fair, as my husband has not seen his family in so long.

    I will have to get a stronger backbone, because I am highly sensitive. My parents are worried how Chinese women will react to a Black woman holding hands and being married to a Chinese man. My husband and I hold hands everywhere we go, and that will never stop. We can get stoned and still be holding hands, but I’m just naturally worried about any physical or verbal attack.

    He is tall and handsome, I am an ex model. So we are an attractive couple, but that might actually make things worse come to think of it :/

    • I am white and Chinese people stare at me when I hold hands with my girl. Show them how to love your man, China needs to openly express emotion. Be proud of what you are and what you have created.There will be no physical attacks, Chinese men are terrified of foreigners, particularly black men,

  22. To the Black American married to a Chinese:

    You need to visit the country. No matter who you are, it just makes sense. Maybe you have. If not, find a way–before you move there. It will make the transition easier.

    Here’s a truth that Americans are often blind to: the world is racist. It’s not always racism in the way we think of racism here in the States, but people frequently lump others together and describe them according to their nationalities first and race, religion, ethnicity, etc. second. The people who do this are often kind-spirited and good-natured and hold nothing against the people they squeeze into pre-conceived boxes. Certainly, that’s not always the case, but I don’t think we should define racism abroad the same way we do here, in every circumstance.

    Some or many Chinese (that I don’t know) will have preconceived ideas about you by your nationality and your race, but I doubt you will be openly confronted about it. I also think the ones who meet you will be openminded about getting to know who you are. You will help redefine some ideas.

    The biggest issue, perhaps, will be your need to understand the culture into which you are entering. You note that you and your husband constantly hold hands–and that will never change. Public touching between couples in China seems very rare to me. I never saw couples hold hands. Twice I saw teenaged couples holding onto each other. That’s twice in three weeks across a dozen cities.

    I think you’ll love whatever time you spend there, but go prepared and with an understanding of the people.

  23. To the Black American married to a Chinese:

    Since you are with a Chinese man coming to China, you will be more welcome. Even if you come alone, you will still be very welcome. Chinese in general are amiable people and China is a very welcoming country, therefore I don’t think you have to worry at all when you come over here. Just hold hand with your husband and enjoy everything you will see here.

    One note to Wade though, holding hands are actually pretty common to the new generation of Chinese. I often hold hands with my girlfriend and I see others do the same. But it is just that you don’t get to see these too often during the day because we all are just too busy with our commute to work.

    • but what you did not mention is that the black part of the partnership will be refused in many hotels with the “no foreigner rule”, my wife and I on our honeymoon were refused in many hotels that refused to take “foreigner”, this even occurred in the capital of Hebei province, at a hotel with English signs. In Chengdu, I was refused at the first 6 hotels I went to around the airport, so I put my tent on the front lawn of the airport and made it into the newpaper.

  24. Hi! I am a Chinese girl in xi’an shaanxi
    i don’t think that black people in china are facing discrimination. in fact, Chinese people always hate racism. in my school, there are many black students from Ghana, Chinese students treat them as their good friends.
    But Japanese is totally another thing. yes Chinese don’t like them, because in world war 2,Japanese killed so many Chinese, they even held some killing games. and in nanjng city, they killed more than 340000 residents once. it is average every 7 seconds a person have been killed. people died there were just residents without weapons! How can Chinese like them?!

    p.s. there are something about nanjing ,from the internet.

    the Nanjing Massacre; the Rape of Nanking (In December 1937, Nanjing fell to the Japanese Imperial Army. The Japanese army launched a massacre for six weeks. According to the records of several welfare organizations which buried the dead bodies after the Massacre, around three hundred thousand people, mostly civilians and POWs, were brutally slaughtered.)

    • folks,it will be much better to try to stop wasting ur preciouse time to educate susan.she is a thing that i am certain of is a chinese never wants to accept he or she is at fault.they came with my country with some not even having passport when they were arrested for illegal mining.they killed many of my country men through water pollution,firing gun at them etc.i mean innocent civilians.but the news which spread in china was ghanaians are bullying chinses in ghana.

  25. @susan
    It seems that not many of the Japanese who participated in the war are still alive these days.

    Are you in frequent contact with Japanese war veterans?

    Unless I misunderstood, and you mean their grandchildren should inherit your dislike.

    But I’m sure that could not possibly be what you meant.

  26. to rick

    We don’t like Japanese not only because their ancients killed millions of Chinese innocent residents inhumanly (if you have time, please search The Rape of Nanjing),but also because Japanese didn’t think they hurt Chinese so deeply, and they treat the war criminal as heroes and they put all the cold bleed killers’ cenotaph in the temple Yasukuni Shrine,where the advanced officers memorialized the killers annually. if Japanese acknowledged the crime they did, and show their apologies from heart, I think many Chinese would forgive them. but see what were they did? so, maybe you are right, Japanese youngsters didn’t kill Chinese, but how would you feel if you r a Chinese? Facing such kind of people, who killed you ancients in the evilest way and never think they did wrong? they even don’t acknowledged the crime they did in china.
    Chinese are always friendly and kind to foreign people, we treat your people even better than treating ordinary fellow Chinese. I think that is because maybe many Chinese don’t have a lot of chances to contact foreigners, we are a little curious about you. so they what to know more about you, and to be your friend. So when I saw this article from a famous,I feel, maybe strange and ridiculous, many Chinese people showed the same feeling of mine.
    Finally, I would like to show my best whishes to all your laowai in china, and… welcome to china! but Japanese, I am sorry, I don’t like them!

    • China has invaded most of their neighbours over the centuries and murdered millions of their citizens, China even murders its own citizens (Tibet), so how does China become exempt from guilt?

    • you might want to look at the history of ethnic cleansing in China, why not start with Tibet? or your great yellow emperor who unified China with murder and torture

  27. Hi Davon,

    I’m Hispanic and live in Panama (Republic of Panama) and I cannot justify the racist and downright arrogant and high handed attitude on the part of the Chinese (mostly mainland Chinese)who have settled here. For the most part the Chinese dominate the small mini marts and groceries and many other retail businesses and treat the Panamanian locals who, btw, are Black or mixed Black in their racial composition, with disdain and disrespect. They are truly adding to the racial intolerance here and not helping to solve it. I can believe the comments about their racial intolerance towards Blacks who go to China.

  28. Wow, this thread has come back alive…

    I’ve nothing to add to the OP’s topic, but never shy away from helping folks like Susan along.

    @Susan – you’ve asked the readers of this blog to look into the Nanjing massacre by way of the Internet. Please know that 90% of the people reading this blog likely have a clearer picture of the Nanjing massacre than many Chinese.

    You’ve been taught your whole life about this horrible piece of China’s history, and have been shown endless miles of media to support what is anything but the truth.

    This isn’t to say that the Nanjing massacre didn’t happen, nor is it to deny that the Japanese killed thousands upon thousands of innocent Chinese – 70 years ago.

    However, if you can sit here, in 2008, and hate 130 million people for something that 1% of 1% of them did, you need to re-examine your hate.

    So, if you could, return the favour you’ve requested of us. Search around the Internet for ways to balance your view and understand that of the 130 million Japanese you “hate”, very few hate you. Maybe, just maybe that’s because someone or something wants you to hate them. Just maybe.

  29. to ryan
    I can understand what do you mean. personally, I don’t hate Japanese youngsters(the word hate is too powerful ), but I don’t like them either. my grandpa was disabled in the world war 2,a Japanese soldier fired at him, and other fellow people dead at that time. maybe it is hard for you to understand this kind of feeling, but it is the reality. I only try to justify why Chinese don’t like Japanese, it seems that you can’t convince me to change my mind, and the same to me. anyway, the important is I don’t think most Chinese would discriminate against black people or any other people, just because their race or religion. I think, most Chinese people don’t interested in policy, we just wish to work hard and live happily. I am very sorry, if any Chinese have treated black people rudely, but I believe that most of Chinese are friendly and open to you.

    to turner
    I am sorry. it seems you don’t want to know what the Chinese truly feel. even if you think it’s my fault, I would still say: I am sorry, I don’t like Japanese.

  30. @everyone else: as a Chinese who has been educated in the US since the 6th grade, I sympathizes with those who have been discriminated against in China, both as someone familiar with the Chinese mindset toward race and as a “foreigner” in another country. I believe everyone here (maybe other than Tyci) have been through things that give them rights to feel however they feel about the country. But than again, it’s a bit unfair to compare your experiences there with how immigrants are treated in the US, since one is a country who hardly ever had any foreigners, especially non-Asians/Caucasians, around, and the other is a country where 99.9% of it’s population are technically immigrants or decedents of immigrants.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, there isn’t any real excuse for how you have been treated. But a country not knowledgeable about/used to people of certain ethnicities tend to have more prejudices, that’s just the way it is, wrongfully or not. Racism out of ignorance tend to be easier to cure than deep-rooted discrimination; more black people being there might be exactly what my country needs to be educated in this area. Then they’d at least have a chance to know that there might be people like Tyci amongst African Americans, but they can in no way represent their race.

    @FOARP: I was about to ask you how you or anyone else here can condemn Ray for racism (as inappropriate as his/her certain comments are) while tolerate Tyci’s post full of “utmost primitive minded creatures” and “hermits”. But than I checked out your blog and realized that it would be a waste of my time to try to convince you to not be racist.

  31. To All my friends and detractors,
    My experiences have somewhat molded me about Asians. When I was a young man stationed in Japan and chose to live as a Japanese, to the times when I finally made it to college to debate the acceptance of the country of China to the UN.
    It has been to say the least a kaleidoscopic mental travel to witness myself as a person of colour always ideally for the inclusion of Asiatic people into the folds of our western like society. However I still feel that all the asiatics as a people have much to travel down the of recognizing the equality of the human race on planet earth.

    While the Caucasian race has had its internal mental conflicts and battles with its racist demons agaist the black or african race, the Asians now are regressing into this vile mindset-as if they could afford to be racist agaisnt any human beings. Have they not learned the painful lessons of victimisation of racial bias in their wanderings on the earth?

    As I mentioned above my brief stay in a Japanese community had been more pleasant than all my years in the country of my birth and even more pleasant than the Harlems of my American race. The fact came home to me then in 1957 that even the Japanese people were not aware of the atrocities that their sons did in Manchuria.
    So my fellow human beings lets re-educate each other on this planet today, against the forces that will use any excuse to go on teaching murder and mayhem that racial hatred inspires.

  32. Pretty rounded conversation going on here – interesting stuff.

    But alas… back to Susan.

    @Susan: My grandfather fought the Germans, his brother, my great uncle, was shot down and killed by the Germans. Despite this, I have not even the smallest ounce of hate towards the Germans for anything related to World War II or what its people may have done to mine.

    Why wouldn’t I understand? You don’t need to change my mind – my mind is what people with your mind should strive for. Not as a statement of self-righteousness, but as a statement of healing. China will never heal if they keep picking the scab and infecting the wound.

  33. @ryan
    First of all, I don’t have any special opinion toward German, it is only a kind of hypothesis. What would you feel if Germany government and many German still monumentalize Nazi and Hitler as their god and hero today? And what would Jew feel?
    Why couldn’t Japanese stop memorializing war crimes? I think it’s the sin of Japanese rather than Chinese. It’s not fair that you accuse Chinese just for we don’t like Japanese while they keep hurting Chinese.

  34. Not hurting Chinese, Susan. Hurting feelings. By saying “hurting” without some level of perspective you are likening Japan’s lack of action towards the Yasukuni Shrine to the original war crimes themselves – surely you are able to see a difference.

    In answer to your question – I would feel that the German gov’t is a bunch of dumbasses. Just as I think that the powers in Japan that approved the inclusion of these war criminals are a bunch of dumbasses. I also agree with the collection of Asian voices that feel the names should be removed from the shrine, or that an alternative shrine be built to honour Japan’s fallen soldiers (as the “spirits” of the war criminals is already intermingled with the rest – according to the Shinto tradition).

    However, in any case, blaming a nation/race of people for the stupidity, arrogance and short-sightedness of a few makes you just as ignorant as those offenders.

    • The success of war is often a body count, if Japan had won the war they would remain heroes. The goal of the war was not achieved by Japan, their soldiers however should be heroes in the twisted sense that is war. China holds many heroes who were mass murderers.Chairman Mao is considered the greatest mass murderer in history exceeding all the Russian and Asian psychopaths. he personally signed 700,000 death warrants and between 35 and 72 million died under his watch, his own people.

      • Your statements should you to be an ignorant foreigner. Stop slandering Chinese people.

        Mao Zedong is not the greatest mass murderer in history, Stalin and Hitler deliberately killed tens of millions of people. Who did Mao murder? Deaths by poor economic policy are not murder by any definition of the word.

        • Ignorant foreigner eh? I was born in Beijing, my parents were diplomats in the service of Canada. I spent the first years of my life in China, went to normal Chinese schools, wrote the Gaokao, was admitted to 北大. My father was divorced when I was 9, married a Chinese woman. I have an entire village of relatives in 河北,定州. I have done extensive research for the Chinese government on literacy in China, not that foreign really.

  35. As a Chinese who came to the US after college, I’d like to throw in my two cents.

    First on the original topic of the post: I know of an African friend who worked in China for a few years. He seems to have a lot of positive things to say about his experiences in China. He especially mentioned the fact that he didn’t encounter any racism while in China. I’ve lived in different parts of US as a foreigner for quite a few years. I think no matter where you go, you will find people not as open to foreigners as you’d like. Try to understand where they came from and have an open heart. By focusing on positive things, you’re more likely to have positive experiences.

    Now on the later digression to Japanese.

    @Ryan: I completely agree with your comments here. I also admire your persistence in getting the message across. It might be difficult though. It takes many years of brainwashing, suppression of independent thinking and restricted access to information to create generations of people who dislike certain people because of their race or nationality.

    @Susan: I’ve known many friends who used to think like you do. It took them a few years to look at this differently. Japanese aren’t that different from us. Most of them are just as kind as people around you. I’m sure you wouldn’t want people to dislike you or Chinese simply based on what Chinese government has done or what Guomindang did 50 years ago.

  36. 王瑞安,你不是学中文吗?给你个学中文的机会。


    • 小日本敢做不敢认,杀人了只有改教科书,妄图抹去这段历史,这是我们最不能容忍的,德国道歉很诚恳,日本就是死鸭子嘴硬。一个孬种的民族,靠着黄片和出卖自己女人阴道的变态民族!

  37. It is ture that everybody is facing this kind of problems in a foreign country.But don’t warry.As a chinese who had been staying in the captial for more than 5 years,I am quite sure about the feelings chinese to blacks.For those who had been educated,you will barely find any of this feelings from them.Mostly,like those collegeboys,they like to talk and make friends with any foreigners,no matter they are black or white.Sometime,they just feel shy,which makes you feel they are ignororing you.So if you have this chance to come,just come,see it as kind of experience.Nothing can be too much bad.I have been in Southern sudan for almost one year,eating badly,sleeping bading and recently just been put into a dark room by the sodiers because of the job.But here I am,still alive.So even there is maybe something,but can’t be too bad.Just get used to this life.I am sure,if you come,you will get very good friends there.Most of them are kind.And now the chinese goverment won’t allow too many of those cases happened.Just keep you down,don’t do anything agaist the law or the feeling of the chinese,you will be much more welcomed.

  38. Racism is found in every part of the world. China has just opened up to foreigners. Please give the Chinese people a chance to get used to foreigners.

    Europe is still having a difficult time absorbing the millions of people from its former colonies. China does not have the racial self consciousness that Europe has. China did not colonize the four corners of the world like the Europeans did. The Europeans treated the natives of the lands they conquered as subhumans. This treatment haunts modern day Europeans and if the European speaks out or even criticizes a foreigner…they are called nazis.

    There are many foreigners in China. If it is so bad there, why do you stay? There must be some good there as well. I visit Beijing often and I have experienced the same goofy “hellos” and being called “Lao wai”. The Chinese are just curious as to why we visit China while so many millions of their family, neighbors have left for the west. Just enjoy yourself in China. If you do not like it…leave.

    Susan..World War two is over. The Japanese commited many atrocities and I am glad that they lost the war. The war is over, China was liberated. Do you still get angry that the great Mao Zedong sent Millions of people to their deaths or do you have his picture in your room? aybe you have a symbol of him in your Xiali car?

    I will quote the great Rodney King ” Can’t we all just get along”.

  39. I am an American born woman of color decended from Native American and African blood. I have done some research on my own ancestral history and to say the least, my people have had some troubles with racism.

    Having said that, I am happy to say that my curiosity regarding people of different races, nationalities, religions, and the like trumps any misdirected feelings of resentment or hatred that I could have toward those that I could arguably accuse of hateful action against “people like me.” I believe that those people are sad and are missing out on a great deal that this world has to offer. Those who live with ignorance will have a difficult time as the world becomes smaller and globalization consumes us all.

    Thanks for the

    I believe in accepting people as individuals and not as members of stereotypical groups by association. I love to travel and hope to soon visit parts of Asia. I have unfortunately faced several racist people here in America and it has never been easy. On the other hand, I have also been able to rescue some from the prison of ignorance. Therefore, on my travels to foreign lands, I will face racism head on and perhaps enlighten some along the way.

    Thanks for the post. Very interesting!

  40. This is very interesting stuff particularly as an African American who has been to China on three occasions and in multiple situations received racist treatment. One of the benefits that I have is that of really thick skin. I can take it but I know for the most part the ignorance, the cultural insensitivity, the frequent purse switching and abrupt decisions to cross the street are signs of racial insensitivity, classism, ignorance and these all combine to make China very unwelcoming for the average black person.

    However, that doesn’t stop me from dealing with Chinese proclivities and enjoying my experience here. I’ve met great people who I wouldn’t trade for the world and learned more about myself than at any point in my life. Additionally, and this is only for perspective, as a black man particularly a college educated black man who has traveled extensively, you become quickly aware of global perceptions and are just forced to adapt.

    My uncle who is pushing 80 did work overseas decades ago and work in the US. He experienced not only racism of the sort described above but a blood lust as a result of his success. He had one of his good friends lynched for being successful in a part of the US where success for blacks was perhaps one of the greatest threats that could be levied against white identity. I’ve never had to experience what he has but my travels through life have toughened me and my willingness to learn about others and incorporate their ideas has given me a greater understanding of both the depths of human ignorance and the benevolence that can exist within one’s soul.

    We all carry some baggage from the prior generations but trust me @susan that if you don’t get past that the opportunities of this world will never truly be open for you.

    I love discussion and I’m interested for more feedback. @susan as for your last comment I don’t think these are really lofty ideals and I understand (quite literally because of my background) how much pain can be caused by generational acts of terrorism and violence and how much that can color perceptions but still we must move on or never move forward.

  41. I lived in Southern Spain for a year and have been living in China for the past three. I speak both languages fluently, which can sometimes hurt more than help. You suddenly become aware of what’s really going on in the minds of people, what’s going on behind the stares and the pointing fingers and the laughs. So even if you are able to verbally respond or get some satisfaction from retaliating you have still been hurt.

    Since living in China I can say the main issue I have is the Chinese reaction to my dark skin.
    When some chinese comment on how dark my skin is their voices are filled with a kind of hate, not curiuosity. I know that the chinese have had their own issues with dark skin for centuries but it still hurts. When some chinese comment on my dark skin their voices are filled with a sense of cockiness that clearly implies because of this fact they are better than me. When some chinese comment on my skin they are filled with envy and surprise because they’d once believed that any one as dark as me could not be beautiful, I still find this a little offensive but less so than the other two.

    I have had money thrown at me because they didn’t want to touch my hand, been followed around and made fun of by chinese from all walks of life including customs officers. I’ve been refused service in small shops, by taxi’s, in restaurants, and treated like a second-class citizen by certain chinese who have come to understand that blacks are often discriminated against. Chinese tend to copy the behavior of those around them, often without ever having any genuine feeling behind it. And they cab be quite skilled at understanding when they have an advantage and abusing it, which is almost never stemmed by personal hate, just personal gain. I also see that when they understand that a black person is also African they can be treated with even more contempt.

    The Chinese are also very prideful and unwilling to admit fault, especially big faults for fear losing face to foreigners and will usually come together to agrue against an outsider, though I’ve been saved a few times by other chinese.

    As a black woman with the most objective voice I can muster up at this point during my travels I have to say that travel to anywhere in the world is double the pain, and the heartache than most have to deal with. Though two things are not the only handicaps in China though, being fat, being ugly, a short-haired woman, or veering from the “normal” in any way is a means for ridicule in China. As a country it seems ridiculing people is not something considered childish that should be left in grade school but something that remains part of their daily lives; with the attrocities that happend to the chinese who were different or stood out during the communist revolution I guess I can understand why.

    When it comes to social progress, most countries are far behind the west, not that my country (U.S.A) is in the lead but I believe it has come a lot further than China at this point in time. So far in fact that I had never really felt racism or sexism until I left. (My own ignorance might have also been shielding me.)

    In observing and speaking to men of color I’ve found that there are certain boundaries that other men and women will not cross with them that they will cross with me. The one horrible disadvantage I’d say men of color have that women of color rarely face is physical violence. I have never been physically attacked. I have been verbally attacked countless times, I am stared at more, my anger is taken less seriously, my complaints are taken less seriously, my personal space is violated more and I find people more easily ignore me, often times while having my white-male partner be treated like a god.

    On the flip side I find it’s the poorest of chinese people who tend to be more verbal and surpised but less ill-willed. By taking only a few minutes to talk them I find these people are willing to devote themselves to helping me in any way possible and are almost always genuine. I find that it is the Chinese middle class that tends to be the most scornful and I feel that they believe by acting in such a way it raises their social standing. They (Chinese middle-class) also understand that it’s more important to keep their feelings hidden until they find a safe outlet.

    I say all this in hopes that I can give a clear and fair depiction of my Chinese experience. I have yet to come to the point where I regard Chinese people as “hermits” but I do look for forums like this for an occasional venting because I find there is no quick fix for dealing with the emotional tolls that such things can take on me.

    Moreover, I refue to allow these bad experiences to run me out of an entire country, and I refuse to allow myself to become so bitter that I begin to hate and entire country.

    I know that the opportunities I’ve had to live, study, learn, grow and work in countries are opportunities that many people only dream of, so I constantly remind myself how lucky I am. And with only this shield I go out into the world every day and I try to be the best person I can. On occasion when I’ve had a bad day, I fail myself and I allow the ignorance and misguided hate to provoke me, to anger, tears, and frustration. But sometimes I win and I’m able to enjoy the good things in my life without any regard for the things in the world that try and take that enjoyment away from me.

    • The Chinese are horrible racist ignorant people. I will NEVER EVER go to china!! I say black people, don’t go to china! This country is not worth your time. Stay away from china. If I could I would not buy ANYTHING made in china.

  42. Hello Hei Mei,

    I was very happy to have read your very extensive comment. The only thing that we the cultured and people loving persons of the world can really be assured of in dealing with the hateful kinds of ideologies of class isms and racism is to go beyond our real sense of justice and have mercy on those still smitten with the killer virus of hate that has permeated the whole world.

    That is what keeps us going and makes us impermeable to the poisons and sickness people exude that makes them feel somewhat better in this life on earth. Keep checking yourself and do not return from your highly divine place to wallow in their wantonness.

    Enjoy the good things of heavenly China and their divine people you have already met.

    All blessings to you and to the divine natured people of China and the World.

    Best regards,


  43. @Hei Mei: Every time I think this thread is closed someone comes along and breathes new life into it. Excellent to have your perspective and thoughts on the topic.

    That you can face such negative things and still not hold a blanket grudge against the country and/or its people is something all of us should aspire to.

  44. This is all very interesting to me. I am beginning to feel very disillusioned about my current perspective of China. I am also a Black female and will be moving to either Shanghai or Guangzhou very soon. I was recently recruited to teach English with EF. I honestly did not think of being outwardly discriminated against in China. I did realize that I my look interesting to some people who may have never interacted or seen a Black person, but I did not think hate would come from these stares. I recently studied in Xalapa, Mexico and got soo many stares, comments. I posed for pictures and was called “morena” daily. It didn’t bother me to expand peoples understanding of African American, but I do not know how well I can deal with out right racism. I’m not the quite type and don’t want to find my self in a bad situation. I would like some advice please. I have been planning this move since late March. I just completed my TEFL certification and just got my BA in education. I don’t want this to bring down my high. I am so open to other cultures. I want nothing more, but to remove my own misconceptions, by traveling a learning more about others.



  45. fallon,

    I am aware of what you must be feeling although I am a white “skinned” Hispanic. I say “skinned” because in Latin America there is so much racial mixture that, I dare say, none of us can lay claim to any racial “purity” regardless of our outward appearance.

    As for your experiences in Mexico, and even if you go ahead with an assignment in China, may I suggest something? Many folks in racist Mexico, where racism is very harshly felt by the thousands of native Black Mexicans (Mexico Negro) are very curious about your experience and your culture. You might weave in some “black like me” class role playing sessions just for some reality fun. Let us know how you do if you decide.

    Best regards and don’t allow these experiences with world racism to out your beautiful light and enthusiasm.

    My best regards

  46. i’m actually still in china. and the best advice i’d give anybody is to know what you’re getting into so you won’t be too surprised if you ever have to face it but that if it ever comes just smile and keep your cool. good luck!

  47. John Doe
    December 28, 2007
    4:32 pm

    Thank you for your deep commentary Tyci (or Prince Philip rather). Absolutely Brilliant.

    As a Caucasian from HK, I can say that although blacks and indians get it worst, all foreigners in China or HK have it hard, pretty much in a daily way. Be prepared to be told to go home, that your mother is a whore, ect… on a daily basis. And never get in a fight/altercation there, because even if you are in the right, everyone around you will gang up on you because of your race. Be prepared to never be seen as a real human, just a foreigner, not really part of their system or lives. And dont ever hope to be accepted as just another person.


  48. HEI MEI:

    My name is Justin, I am a Black Canadian who has been coming to China and traveling in the region for 8 years. I have experienced everything, the good, bad and the ugly. Being Black in China is not easy, VERY few people can actually relate to our experience.

    The problems you described have only become worse in recent years, e.g, being denied service. When I first came to China in 2001, language and cultural differences were the main issues, but now skin color is the main problem. With the growth of China’s economy, Chinese have become openly hostile toward Black/African people who they consider to be their inferiors, especially in major cities/provinces where people have the largest incomes, are more westernized in thinking/behavior and have the greatest contact with foreigners, especially from NORTH AMERICA AND EUROPE where race and racism have problems. Remember Chinese (Asians) love to copy other people, they are simply repeating what they see elsewhere.

    Where are you based? Are you teaching English? Do you have an email address?

    I would like to keep in touch and learn more about your experiences:



  49. What I don’t understand is how black people (esp. majority of African Americans) think what they speak is qualified as teachable english. Oh my god, I shutter as I post this. Do you people actually think what you speak is normal english?? Because if you do, you need to get some language training yourselves. What majority of black americans speak, which passes for english, is EBONICS. And even those blacks who have more normal english, most have a very, very thick accent that is unmistakabley BLACK. For instance, I can just about always tell if someone is black or not, just by speaking to someone on the phone. The fact is most black americans sound like Beyonce (yes,the singer). Whilst blacks may argue otherwise, her accent is atrocious yet she sounds typical. Before people start arguing over what is proper or not, let’s just say, most people would rather have NATIVE white people’s english over black people’s english. Or put another way, people prefer the news anchor’s mid-westerner’s neutral english, rather than the colorful style of most blacks. And yes, some blacks do speak just like whites, but that is an anomally rather than the norm. Is that not true? Think about it. To blacks, how many of you actually sound like the typical news anchor? I think I rest my case.
    So given what is said, why should the Chinese or any other country HAVE to accept black people teaching english? It’s their right to choose what kind of english they wish to project. What is not right is for blacks to, AGAIN, pull out the race card and force their ways about. Always acting like they’re entitled to everything even when majority (key word being majority) proves otherwise. Other countries do not owe blacks anything. I feel sorry for any Chinese to have to learn a black person’s english. Poor, unsuspecting Chinese.

    • Why would you assume that all blacks speak “ebonics”? Of course many do but I would say those that travel overseas to study, teach, etc,. are a cut above the rest. Most of the black people I’ve met in China are intelligent and educated.. compared with the lot I’ve met in the USA.

  50. Charlie- Your English is shit. Like most N. Americans. You’re a colonial reject not a native-speaker. Did you mean “shudder” rather than “shutter”? You don’t put capital letters where you should,you can’t punctuate and your general style is weak. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
    Christ, you write like a darkie!

  51. “Susan”
    If your people hadn’t managed to kill 3,000,000 of their own, invaded Tibet, India, Bhutan and Vietnam, turned mainland China into an ash-tray and now in 2008 still enjoy shitting in the street like dogs I might have some sympathy for you-but I don’t. We should have let the Japanese have their Pacific Empire. Asia would be a better place by now.

  52. I haven’t checked this topic for a while, I’m surprised it’s still alive! Not that it’s a bad thing, ofcourse. It’s been insightful, however…

    When you say, “We should have let the Japanese have their Pacific Empire. Asia would be a better place by now.” Who the hell are “we”? Please speak for yourself buddy. Not only is that comment plain wrong in so many ways, but both of your posts are off topic. Instead of addressing the issue, you just come across as a very angry and rejected person with personal beef.
    As for critizing other people’s English, look to your own writing. Me thinks you have some corrections yourself to look after.

  53. I am of part-Caucasian and part-Indian (India) origin but born and bred in Australia. Racism by the white majority has rarely been an ongoing issue here however Chinese immigrants who are settling in greater numbers in Australia bring their racism with them here and almost immediately, before they even learn any English, think it is their right to treat any darker skinned people, including Aborigines, blacks, Indians etc as inferior. What is more troubling is that if a white person in Australia was to be racist, society would frown on it so they would be careful not to do it but if an immigrant or refugee Chinese was racist to a dark Australian, the rest of society would turn a blind eye. If you complained about Chinese racism in Australia, you risk being labelled a ‘racist’ yourself, by colour blind people who cannot understand that you are a victim of racism by a small and growing immigrant group, Chinese (and northeast Asians generally). Also, an interesting phenomenon is that those droves of Caucasian men lining up for Chinese women and Chinese women linning up for Caucasian partners, rather than being less conservative and more tolerant are indeed the MOST racist people in this country and they seem to be passing this trait on to their mixed offspring!

  54. To ozdarc,

    We hear you because here in Panama we have a history of noticing the same traits in our society regarding the Chinese and their offspring’s. However we who feel offended in any way by these racist should ban together, make an organization and record those incidences on video and on photos then take their organization to court for promoting racialism amongs the peacefull people of the community. On the other hand I personally find the Hindus community here in Panama pracicing the same racist and separatis customs agaist Black Panamanians. It had not come to be the outright racistic intolerable traist one talks about, but never the less it is very present.

    • you are so right about the hindu population and the unspoken racism they bring with them against blacks. i lived on reunion island for a few years and it almost drove me insane. the hindu population is racist there but they don’t just come out and say it like the chinese. lol they find subtle ways to stick it to you, and isolate you.

  55. Roberto, thats a good idea for people who are victims of racism (Chinese or other) to band together and fight it. However, one of the problems in Australia is that we would first need the acceptance of the majority there IS indeed a problem with Chinese racism towards blacks and it is happening in THIS country (such as dark people being served last and spoken down to by Chinese shop assistants). Only once the problem is named and acknowledged, can it be countered.

    As for Hinduism, it is barely known in Australia! Besides Hinduism is a religion, not a race. And yes, there is a huge problem in present day Hindu culture in India regarding adulation of fair complexion (not race) but I believe this inferiority complex was introduced a thousand years ago by occupying Persians, Mongols and British. The greatest god of Hinduism, Krishna, is jet black, supremely handsome and supremely powerful, ditto the goddess Kali ‘the black goddess’. By the way, I am Christian and part-Caucasiana and no way would I be accepted by Hindus as one of their kind – we are ‘half caste’. Secondly, Indians, Sri Lankans, Africans, Aborigines, Islanders etc in Australia are all generally lumped as “black”. So there is no point in us blacks, (Hindu blacks, Christian blacks etc) infighting over the issue of racism against us. Such disunity would be like a return to the days of the slave trade!

    Unfortunately a weakness of some mentally-enslaved Africans is to not accept Indians as fellow blacks because they dont have a western derived culture or because they dont speak English fluently. Also in America, very few blacks are potrayed positively in the media. Almost every “black” singer, actor or celebrity is obviously of mixed race – even the so called first ‘black’ president – so colorism is not exclusively a problem among Hindu blacks! Colorism is alive and well in Africa and among African Americans themselves!

    But at the end of the day, racial prejudices without the power to disciminate is not as serious a problem as racial prejudice, coupled with the POWER to discriminate and every time I read the paper, I am being reminded of how financially powerful China and the overseas Chinese diaspora is becoming.

  56. “getting stared at, having to listen to conversations about foreigners, and getting hello shouted at me”

    You consider that to be racism? As a white person, you don’t realise how good you have it. As a ethnic Chinese born in the UK, I have experienced having rocks thrown through my window, “no Chinese” comments from regulars at the pub, daily racist taunts, stereotypes, insults, passive job discrimination (I applied for tens of jobs with my surname and got a handful of responses; I changed my surname to a “English” one” and of the next 30 or so job apps, nearly all had a response), little kids acting cocky and wanting to start a fight with you in broad daylight – of friends, I’ve heard of their property being burnt, businesses and homes burgled, racist graffiti slogans…. need I continue? Can you honestly compare someone starting at you with that? Following your logic, because I stare at attractive women, that must mean I’m prejudiced against them!

    • Britishchinese, I sympathize with you, but have you ever actually lived in China?

      There is racism here, and it doesn’t stop at people staring or laughing. If a foreigner and a Chinese get into any sort of fight or argument on the street, a crowd will soon gather, and they will take the side of the Chinese just because they are Chinese. This doesn’t happen in the UK, or at least not in the same way. Chinese racism is usually not thrown into your face, but it can be really nasty in certain situations. And let’s not forget how the Chinese media can easily engineer mass hysteria against a certain country.

  57. I’ve traveled to China since 1971. The ethnic Han are a very proud people who have suffered much from outsiders and insiders alike. As a group, or tribe if you will, they are afraid of losing what gains they’ve made if the vices from outside the country take hold. (ie: AIDS,drugs,urban decay, etc..). As a whole even the most educated Chinese is taught that sub-saharan negroes are at least 100,000 years behind whites and asians on an evolutionary scale and at least 15,000 years on a cultural one. What is remarkable is that chinese geneticists have painstakingly ploted the human genome to explain why african cognitive deficiencies are so pronounced. They’re goal is NOT to ridicule but to help the african out of the stone age. Remember, as is taught in Chinese schools, the negro didn’t have the wheel, agriculture,written language, non-missionary sex, 400 word language vocabulary,canabalism, and so on until a hundred years ago. The Han chinese see that every urban Jewish neighborhood in the US has become negro occupied/ jewish slumlord owned since WW2. The Ruling Chinese communist party will not allow jews to become absentee landlords moving negoes into China to destroy the new urban neighborhoods. Even though Marx, Lenin, Kaganovich and 80% of the USSR ruling class were gentile hating liberal jews and invented Communisn. The chinese leaders see how they destroyed the Soviet Union and caused WW2.

  58. To: ” lilbobdog ”

    you are not nice person. I guess you have enjoyed your liberty of attacking people with your mind being so mindless. how would you feel if I say something like this: 1) if black slaves had not been brought into America, America would have been a better place to live. for one thing to be sure, lots of money on those jails or prisons would have been saved for better, more productive purposes.
    2) thanks to those slave drivers who brought the blacks to America, black people in Ameica now can enjoy better lives generation after generation making trouble being troubles…. Dont get mad, dog, just tell me how you feel?

  59. i know in america you can not say ” your people ‘to blacks because it is considered racist. but blacks can say it to other people all day long, simply because they are black. being black means you can curse, have attitude and get angry all the time.

  60. To ” lilbobdog ”

    you dont like charlie’s ” shit” ” darkie ” english”, but can you write something chinese like that? show me the money, dog?

  61. Dr. DJ Houston,

    Dear Doctor DJ: My suggestion is that you should stop teaching those “truisms” you have exposed with such a relish in your comment on the subject. I feel that you are taking vengeance on our intellect for all the years you spent as a “junk professor” before they accepted the junk you wrote for a dignified thesis. It is my hope that things would turn around in the colleges and Universities in the US so that PHds coming out to call themselves teachers, would meet the intellectual wrath of the students’ evaluations. This might serve as a mental bath to all those “Junk Professors” eager to get out and vent their racist frustrations on we kind folks who are trying to bring some culture of peace and unity to the world’s people.

  62. why is it that people are focusing so much on racism in China against blacks? Why not Chinese on Chinese racism, which happens to be more prevalent? There are still Hong Kong Chinese, Taiwanese Chinese, and Mainland Chinese who hate each other. If anything, that should receive first priority.

    I don’t deny that prejudice and discrimination against blacks do exist in China but what about black on Chinese racism? I’ve lived in California for much of my life(20+ years) and I can tell you that I’ve witnessed a lot of black on Asian discrimination, even from my own experiences.

    Also, there’s discrimination and violence from blacks to Chinese in America, most of which goes under-reported or pushed under the rug.

    As you can see, even popular black celebrities like Shaq can openly make fun of Chinese people and get off scot-free. This is not even considering the fact that it’s a slap in the face to a lot of young Chinese males who idolize him and want to play basketball just like him.

    I agree that the topic of prejudice and racism is worth examining but at the same time, it would be unfair and hypocritical to see the racism from only one angle(Chinese hating black). An issue like racism goes across both ways. The real double standard is to put Chinese on the spot as being racist and discriminatory while black individuals are only innocent, misunderstood angels who can never do any wrong or be racist in any way.

    • “Blacks”, been to Nigeria?, been to Ghana? Do you think that you can include all people of African ancestry into one category called “Blacks”. Africans are no more homogeneous in nature than are whites.

  63. And please understand, I’m not trying to say every black person is like this(I won’t go into numbers or percentages because that would just be generalizing). But the fact remains that black racism against Asians, Latinos, etc. does exist. And it’s something that must also be put on the spotlight and become subject to scrutiny as much as any other form of racism.

  64. This is an interesting topic. I pretty much agree with some of the above sentiments that it’s going to take time for China to open up and that they’re pretty new at seeing foreign faces. I’ve noticed that sometimes people will point and stare if you happen to be white, black, or any other race. But I think with increased education, the negative racial atmosphere will eventually drift away and more positive changes can occur.

  65. this is whack, man

    i, for one, am glad Obama’s president now. then he can show the china and the world that black people ain’t criminals and all that jazz. we’ve gotten a bad enough rep as it is and it’s time for some things to change… namely the way we’re portrayed. i sincerely do wish to reach out and embrace all the people in the world as brothers and as equals but i’m not sure i can do that just yet… considering all the racist crap we get thrown at us, even when we’re on a vacation…

    i remember studying a maymester in japan before and while there were people who accepted me and saw me as an equal, there were plenty more(mainly the older generation) who avoided me like the plague.

    it’s a tough world we live in but we can’t just back out of it now, y’know?

  66. I can attest to the racism and prejudice, being an African American who’s been to Hong Kong, Tianjing, and Shanghai. Surprisingly, I will tell you that the most amount of racism I encountered was in Hong Kong. You would think that Hong Kong would be a bit more open-minded considering it’s one of the “freer” cities in China, but that wasn’t the case for me. During my time in Tianjing and Shanghai, I did encounter some stares and whispers by the public but that was it. I never really felt any outright racism while I was there. But then again, I didn’t get to stay in those places for as long, so who knows.

    I know the next thing I say will be controversial, but we should keep in mind that the cultural conditioning in some of these East Asian societies is really strong. And I mean REALLY strong. I hesitate to use the word “Brainwashing” because of it’s too strong and negative of a word. “Saving face,” as controversial of a term as it is, is true to a large degree in China, along with never admitting you’ve done anything wrong. Try having a chat with a Chinese person about how Tibet should be free and how China should recognize Tienanman. Or try talking to a Japanese person about how Japan should recognize its war crimes and how Japan should stop hunting whales. Then you’ll see what I mean. I know that stubborness and hard-headedness is an aspect of all human races, but in certain aspects of East Asian culture, it’s more pronounced than others. And I say this with all due respect for all the Asian friends I’ve made. If they wish to discuss the short-comings of the black community in a civil manner, I’m more than willing to be honest and admit our many flaws.

  67. I’ve taught abroad in Vietnam, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Occasionally, I’ll also get some students asking me questions about black people.

  68. I know that sometimes people will point and stare at “laowai” such as myself. I’ve only experienced this while I was in Guangzhou. It wasn’t so much racism or racial hatred as it was more of not knowing any better. That being said, I don’t entirely blame them since they’re not used to seeing foreigners. But I do hope that this behavior changes down the road in the future.

  69. in the united states we are educated to be sensitive about what to say or what not to say in terms of racial things. you will be taken to the court if you open your mouth and say something stupid. in china, no one is taught to be this way. people have no idea about ” tact “; people have no idea that mere mention of ” color ” could be very offensive and dangerous. sometimes i really think the offended blacks should teach the tactless chinese people a good lesson by lodging complaints to the local government or lawsue so that they will remnber what to say or what not to say. just a thought.

    • i have to disagree. chinese people recognize beauty when they see it. they have eyes just like us. some of them may prefer certain features or skin colors which could mean some chinese men prefer african features on their women. so please don’t believe the misconception that chinese people don’t see blacks as beautiful or attractive.

  70. @john

    While I don’t condone racism, what you propose is too Orwellian. So just because someone says things you don’t like, you can take them to court and sue them? If someone were to racially discriminate against me, I’d just laugh it off as ignorance and not be obsessed with “getting back.” There are more productive things out there you can be doing than worrying about how someone perceives you for your race.

    Just a thought.

  71. @John: Houdini is right – what you’re suggesting is litigious garbage. Of course tact should be used in any situation, and using stereotypes as the basis of cultural understanding or for use in passing judgement on the quality of an individual is just wrong.

    However, you can’t paint all Chinese people with the same brush in one sentence and criticize the ignorant actions of some Chinese in the next. It’s hypocritical.

    That and policing what people say for fear it might offend someone is just dumb.

  72. houdini: i agree with you. what i meant was that people are diverse; different people have different attitude. you may ” lauph it off” because you have more important concerns, but some other people could be very sensitive. i am talking about the united states.

  73. Hi everyone,

    Racism becomes a very complex matter especially when one is the victim of it. When I lived in Japan I was conversing to someone dear to me about racism in the U.S. and Panama (where I’m from) and she related to me about the Ainu people of Japan. The Ainu were and continue to be the aboriginal people of Japan who have been historically discriminated against by the modern Japanese people. They call them monkeys, animals, bar them from decent employment, attending regular schools and from marrying into their families. They are considered inferior, ugly and are socially ostracised. This, understandably, has created much anxiety and fear amongst the Ainu. Some of them will even deny their heritage and some of the new generation don’t even know they are Ainu. This is the kind of damage racism can do over the course of generations. I urge every one of us to “dig yourselves” and in whatever peaceful and gentle way you can to instruct others out of the ignorance of racism.

  74. I agree with Roberto’s sentiments. Changing the hearts and minds of a people cannot be accomplished by pointing a gun to their head or by threatening them with lawsuits, violence, social ostracization, insults, generalizations, reverse racism, and a great other deal of counter-productive measures. Changing the minds of the Chinese public may be a daunting task, but it is possible through tolerance, compassion, understanding, and patience. If nothing else, that’s the message we should all take home, no matter what our skin color.

  75. Ryan: i was talking about the states where racial thing has been a very, very big deal. chinese people live in their own community; lot of them are not socially aware about what right things to say. some of them just ” black this” or ” black that”, which really disgusts me. i feel like they dont know what they are talking about. black people fought so long , so hard for civil rights and everything so that asians today in the states can enjoy as americans.

    ” litigious garbage” really has happened. for example, there are certain things that black peopel can talk about, laugh about and walk away. if you are non-black, you control your mouth and dont say anything unproper. to me, it is called “respect”.
    if you are not sure about what to say, you simple shut up and just listen. if you want to say something, say something nice. you dont comment the way that other peopl live. it is fine if you love to eat a lot of vegetables, but you have no right to critisize those who are fond of fried chickens. you are no better than them; you are just different. white people have learned it a long time and now it is time for some chinese people to learn to be sensitive. i just try to be a nice guy and repect others who are different from me. by the way, i am a chinese living in the states.

  76. @John

    Do I believe racism is wrong? Yes I do. But as a libertarian, I also believe that your rights end where mine begins. Sueing people just because they say something you don’t like is too much, even if what they say is wrong. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Racism, while horrible, is not something people should be sueing others over, period. It reminds me of the oft-misquoted phrase, I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. In America, civil rights have come a long way and for that, we should be thankful. But we shouldn’t forget about the others rights we have been endowed with, such as freedom of speech and press. If some KKK skinhead wants to march on the streets publicly, I say let him. He’s just making a fool of himself and showing others the kind of “man” he really is.

    People of all races should stop being so thin-skinned and learn to accept that as a free country, other people in it are going to express opinions that they disagree with.

  77. “Racism, while horrible, is not something people should be sueing others over, period.”

    By the way, in this sentence, I’m referring to the verbal forms of racism only. If hate crimes result, then by all means, justice must be done.

  78. To Houdini,

    Well Sir, I do feel that words are as sharp or sharper, and as mortal as bullets. If not ask the women who have been subjected to psychological violence and verbal and other forms of bullying and stalking but are not touched by the perpetrator. Most of these verbal atacks go unresolved and leave the victim harmed for life, susceptible to further abuse.

    I feel that most hurtful verbal abuse needs punisment if not economic recompense both apology and money pluss jail time will keep most folks that think they have impunity to violate other people’s human rights in check.

  79. @Roberto

    This is where I must respectfully disagree with you. The right not to be offended has never been agreed upon as a human right. Regardless of race, we shouldn’t have some idea that we’re owed something just because someone said something to offend us. White people should not have the “right” to sue others over hurt feelings. Black people shouldn’t be sueing others over hurt feelings. And Asian people shouldn’t be sueing others over hurt feelings. To expect people to pay the price with money and jailtime just for words is taking things too far. No matter how you look at it, the punishment simply doesn’t fit the crime.

    Time heals all wounds. Verbal taunts are things we can all, as human beings, move on from. To me, it’s just not on the same level as rape, murder, robbery, and other forms of violent crimes. As people, forgiveness is something we should strive for as well and learn to let go of petty insults. We shouldn’t cling to the stuff people have said to us like they’re some high school bully we never got over. I know we’re all better than that and that in the long run, ignorant and petty insults dont’ mean anything in the grand scheme of living our lives.

  80. To Houdini,
    I did not expect you to agree with me on this issue, but we are still talking and that’s what Civilized People should be doing all around the world. I am sure that if we were discussing economic issues like hunger and eviction from your home we would come to the agreement that such things should not be happening to anyone in the USA or for that matter anywhere on God’s Planet.

    Back to our topic. I say that the right to be offended is still a human right and the right not to be offended is an individual choice people make. We are today fortunate to be living in a world that is socially less offended, but that has never given up the “Right to take offence.

    All American History is not learned or taught in the Schools and Universities of “God Bless America.” Nevertheless, history has shown us who are home schooled and study a variety of subjects, that former slave owners held on to such rights to be offended long after state condoned slavery had been abolished and outlawed in the USA. We must remember that even the most poverty stricken “White American” held on to such beleifs and joined the slave owner controlled machinery of govenment and social order as the law of the land for many years and decades.

    They were the masters of verbal taunts used to provoke violence on a still terrorized Black and minority comunity in the US. They were the masters of Advertising and Deception and took their racist mores and customs to where ever a new war was being waged in the world. Thus, the armies had to be socialized to accept the new social order of not promoting and provoking racial violence also. With this thread of discussion on racism in China we are still trying to, at the same time, cleanse ourselves to teach others in the former “Developing Countries” of the world how to live and enjoy the planet that we have inherited.
    Verbal taunting is still an arm of terror, and it is still used in the schools and univeristies. If not ask the people who were terrorized in Columbine High.
    So let us remember that there is “a right to be offended.”

  81. The good thing with American history is that things are no longer the way they used to be. Violence towards African Americans, verbal taunts, etc. have decreased tremendously in the last few decades. Heck, Obama’s even President. I’m not saying the racism has vanished, but it’s no as strong as it once was.

    About the verbal taunting in schools and universities, I do agree that bullying is wrong. However, when you use bullying and taunting as an excuse to shoot people, it’s inexcusable. The Columbine shooters were unjustly made fun of for their ways, but in the end, they made their own choice to take guns and shoot people in their schools. There are people in schools who get bullied and don’t strike back with murder. People like the VT shooter, the Columbine shooters, etc. made the conscious choice of their own free will to let the teasing affect them so much that they struck back with murder. I think cases like this are where a moral boundary has been crossed and bullying can no longer be used as an excuse to justify their actions.

  82. The Chinese are unbeilevably disrespectful and racist. I spent time in a university in Hefei, Anhui province(Summer 2009) and traveled to HK (1995),Guangzhou (1995),Macauo (1995) and Beijing(2009). I was called monkey, N$&%a and other names I dare not repeat. As an African American who has traveled abroad to 14 countries, my recent treatment by the Chinese was horrific and I could not wait to leave! This was done in the most recent cities I traveled too. They would want to touch you, say vile things concerning your appearance and better yet take your picture as if you were in a zoo. If you decide to stay in China you must learn Mandarin! This will be the only way to ensure that you will not be taken advantage of and unknowingly disrespected. Example, I went into the friendship market in Beijing and a few sales clerks began to discuss my appearance and called me horrible names. They did not know that I understood them , until I answered their statements. When I was in Hefei I would walk down the street and they would stop laugh and point at me. It got so bad that a worker at the hotel rushed me into the hotel restaurant and apologized for all of the racist names I was being called by the locals. I also went into a Carre’four store then a Walmart and was photographed, followed, touched which included being laughed at. Trying to catch a taxi can be a nightmare. However, I met many Africans in Beijing and it made my time alot better. If you decide to live and visit seek out expat areas and learn how to survive in China!

    • It’s a well known fact that Chinese stare at any foreigner be they black, white, purple or green, that’s a given, but … Wow, unbelievable to think that people can be so ignorant and xenophobic. Kudos to you because I don’t think I could ever deal with that mess.

      • I am white, I have been in many areas of China where the locals made a ring around me and video taped me with their cell phone cameras. I have had cars stop and occupants jump out to take pictures of me in Guizhou. I have my picture on the wall of many shops with the merchant owners. I am “conversationally fluent”. I have grown to have a lot of fun with it and whenever videod make sure I comment on the unworldliness of the Chinese people.

    • When I lived in West Africa, the exact same things happened to me. I was like the Pied fucking Piper with a gaggle of children following me. Adults rubbing the hair on my arms, derogatory words yelled from passing cars.

  83. Houdini, I will remember that when I am followed in a store, cannot get a taxi, searched, stopped by police for no reason and called the “N” word by my medical school classmates. America has not changed that much. Racism is on a different level. It is economic, subliminal and social. When we all have equality, then America has changed. The negative portrayal of AA’s are shown all around the world without censorship. Just because Obama is president does not mean that the battle is over.

  84. (Although I have no right to) I really just want to apologize to all those who have been on the receiving end of racism in China, or by the Chinese.

    As an Australian-Chinese, its incredibly distressing and hurtful to read about this, and I am deeply ashamed of the actions of some Chinese (emphasis on SOME)

    I guess, the only excuse (which by no means is a justification) I can offer in explanation of their actions is ignorance and circumstance – of which will inevitably change with time (hopefully for the better).

    Please don’t let this detract from your plans to visit not only China, but anywhere. Just use it as a chance – a charity even – on your part to open their eyes (*cough* Susan *cough*).

    Thanks and Sorry

  85. Thanks Jo! But it is not you, education is the key to unraveling ignorance. Sometimes I feel that I must represent all African Americans. This may entail walking on eggshells, but be fierce when needed. We pray that the world will change, but I do believe that is wishful thinking. I will continue to travel the world, study other cultures and be proud of my African roots.

  86. <>

    I agree that the treatment you received was wrong. However, by saying “The Chinese are racist and disrespectful!”, aren’t you making a large generalization about an entire race of people yourself? Isn’t that, well, a bit racist in itself? I’m not trying to put you down or play down the bad treatment you received but by making statements such as “The Chinese are racist!”, that opens up a whole new can of worms. For example, if I were to say, “Blacks are murderers,” would it be right of me? No it wouldn’t. It would be wrong and slanderous because I’m labeling an entire group of people. I hope you see where I’m coming from here. I’m against racism and generalizing in general, no matter what people they are.


    Understandable. But I guess that’s where our beliefs differ. I’m against racism and treating other human beings as second class citizens. However, I don’t believe that equality should be forced through redistribution or politically correct “tolerance camp” style programs. It should happen naturally and through the hard work of individuals in the free market. I’m not denying that racism has disappeared but as a libertarian, I don’t believe you can simply force it to go away, just like that. It’s wrong and it’s disheartening, but if people don’t want to change, then… well, they shouldn’t be forced to change.

    If individuals of African descent want success and equality, it’s their duty to work hard and through their efforts in the workforce and in society, disprove stereotypes about black people. The same also applies to Chinese, Caucasians, Jews, and Latinos, no exceptions. Only by doing that as individuals, can we truly work towards a color-blind society in America.

  87. Hmm, the brackets in my posts were meant to contain Aliyah’s posts. The first bracket with her first post and the second bracket with her second post towards me. For some reason her quotes didn’t appear in those brackets.

  88. Houdini.
    I assume that you are not AA. Therefore you have no right to tell me or any of my people what we are to do and handle this type of ignorance. The history of America is vile in it’s treatment of people of color. Why do I have to spend my life disproving stereotypes when the powers that be, have made it saturated in society. I am very sorry that when African American who have discovered medical techniques,HBCU’s,and very much contributed to the fabric of America is not enough. Maybe that fact that we are lawyers, doctors, architects and engineers and a presidents are not enough for you. When I made the comment that the Chinese are racist, was in my opiniion a factual statement. Maybe the fact I am in school for Traditional Chinese Medicine with colleagues who are Chinese and warned me of how they treat people of color in China. When they call me the “N” word or a monkey what else would you call them? In my book I would call then disrespectful and racist! Wow to make the coment that Blacks are murderers is an example of how stereotypes and ignorance are shown around the world! Unless you have walked in our shoes you have absolutely no right to comment on this issue. Maybe you should spend the rest of your life disproving stereotypes, I will not. If you research the history of the Chinese you will see that Blacks are not the only people that they have mistreated. The fact is if you have dark skin you all fall into that category I their minds. You explained that equality should not be forced, so what is the point of disproving stereotypes? Maybe we should forget about the civil rights movement and apartheid if equality should not be forced. The next time I am called N%&^a, monkey, or any other vile name I will just say they are not very nice People.

  89. Perhaps it is our shared Libertarian views, but in my opinion Houdini is absolutely right — you can’t force people to change out of fear. It just leads to resentment and strengthening of their views. Change comes from education. And as much as I agree with a large portion of what Roberto has said, I don’t agree that we need the government to police our mouths. If words lead to violence, then violence should be punished. If, in anger I say, “man that asshole needs a kick in the teeth,” I should not be charged with assault. If I kick him in the teeth, I should.

    Now obviously (and pardon the pun) this is not a black and white issue. If I call the same guy every night and say “I’m going to kick you in the teeth…” — I believe that is threatening and harassment and deserves to be dealt with legally. I just don’t believe that if I say something offensive it deserves the same attention. People, particularly North Americans (of which I am one), need to spend more time mulling the idea that this world owes them nothing. Every inconvenience isn’t an excuse to call a lawyer.

    We tend to get into a lot of conversations on this blog about China’s fostering of hate towards the Japanese for the crimes of the early 20th century. Cooler heads (whether Western or Chinese) always come to the fact that to move forward China will need to put the past in the past. That argument can certainly be extended across oceans.

    @Aliyah: Wow, are you able to wear a backpack with chips that big? Atlas has got nothing on you.

    Your last comment reeks of segregating tribalism, and so I ask you — how do you propose the people of this planet will ever eliminate racism if those most offended by it (and therefore presumably most in want for it to change) are so eager to point out the difference in their skin colour and someone who is disagreeing with them?

    Incidentally, you seem to have found the only Chinese person I have ever heard of, in half a decade living here, that knew what “nigger” meant or that it was offensive.

  90. @Ryan,
    Hmmmm……Your use of the “n” word seems to flow from your mouth so well. My views are my views and experiences in addition to those of my comrades. Clearly you did not read or understand my previous comments. Your opinion are typical of anyone who has not felt the pain of segregation and stereotypes. Again that is your opinion and I will leave it at that. The question is are some chinese racist against blacks the topic. I posted my opiniion as a person traveling to that country. If you or anyone else do not like my response, that is your problem! Your game of playing “a devil’s advocate” is typical among people who have not researched history. I do not carry a bag of chips only common sense not to continue discussing this foolishness.

    • I worked and lived in Nigeria for a year, it took me a while to figure out as I did not understand Yoruba or Pidgin that the comments being yelled from passing vehicles were not compliments.

  91. “Houdini.
    I assume that you are not AA.”

    You’re right, I’m not black. What exactly does my skin color have to do with the points I’m trying to get across?

    “Therefore you have no right to tell me or any of my people what we are to do and handle this type of ignorance. The history of America is vile in it’s treatment of people of color. Why do I have to spend my life disproving stereotypes when the powers that be, have made it saturated in society. I am very sorry that when African American who have discovered medical techniques,HBCU’s,and very much contributed to the fabric of America is not enough. Maybe that fact that we are lawyers, doctors, architects and engineers and a presidents are not enough for you.”

    I never told you what to do, you misunderstand me. I am, however, telling you that the attitude you foster may not necessarily be conductive to solving the problem. And truth be told, I was actually fairly sympathetic towards you up until the point you started getting in my face and playing the race card. Personally, I don’t like it when anyone plays the race/victim card, no matter what race or religion they are.

    “When I made the comment that the Chinese are racist, was in my opiniion a factual statement. Maybe the fact I am in school for Traditional Chinese Medicine with colleagues who are Chinese and warned me of how they treat people of color in China. When they call me the “N” word or a monkey what else would you call them? In my book I would call then disrespectful and racist! Wow to make the coment that Blacks are murderers is an example of how stereotypes and ignorance are shown around the world! Unless you have walked in our shoes you have absolutely no right to comment on this issue. Maybe you should spend the rest of your life disproving stereotypes, I will not. If you research the history of the Chinese you will see that Blacks are not the only people that they have mistreated. The fact is if you have dark skin you all fall into that category I their minds. You explained that equality should not be forced, so what is the point of disproving stereotypes? Maybe we should forget about the civil rights movement and apartheid if equality should not be forced. The next time I am called N%&^a, monkey, or any other vile name I will just say they are not very nice People.”

    If you read my posts more carefully instead of jumping to conclusions, you’ll see that my “Blacks are murderers” sentence was only an example of one of many stereotypes people in the world hold about blacks. And you may indeed be right that there is a strong bias against dark skin in China. However, they have the right to their opinions just like you have the right to yours. Let me tell you something right now, Aaliyah, as a person who is well-travelled in all parts of the world in Europe, Latin America, East Asia, and North Africa. Prejudices against African/black people can be very strong in many countries. Even amongst other dark-skinned people like the Arabs, Latinos, and Indians, anti-black sentiments can exist and be quite strong. When I studied as an exchange student in Mexico, my Mexican roommate told me this.

    “So, I hear those negroes in America like to rob, murder, and rape like nobody’s business! I’m sure glad we don’t have those cockroaches here!”

    With all due respect, Aaliyah, that’s just the way it is in many parts of the world. If you want to “continue to travel the world, study other cultures and be proud of [your] African roots,” then I hope for your sake that you have some really thick skin. Because in many non-Western countries, there’s much less politically correct standards about race. If you can’t take the heat in China, how do you expect to survive in other parts of the world where racial prejudices against blacks/Africans is just as strong?

    And yes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Equality should not be forced. You can’t force people to change their minds through gunpoint or legislation. That’s called coercion and in my book, coercion in any form is thuggery, no matter who it comes from.

  92. “Hmmmm……Your use of the “n” word seems to flow from your mouth so well.”

    Wow, now you’re implying that Ryan is racist? That’s just sad, considering Ryan has been nothing short of understanding, calm, and reasonable with everyone.

    “If you or anyone else do not like my response, that is your problem”

    The only one who has a problem here is you. People should be allowed to say whatever they want, provided they’re not murdering anyone or causing violent riots. It’s called freedom of speech and in a liberal democracy, freedom of speech is a packaged deal that comes with the good(petitioning the government, having the right not to be arrested for your words, and freedom of the press) along with the bad(racism, hate speech, etc.). That’s what freedom is all about. You can’t just pick and choose what you think should be considered freedom. Otherwise, it becomes something less than freedom.

  93. Hmmmm……Your use of the “n” word seems to flow from your mouth so well.

    I guess that’s because I’m not a half-wit and actually understand that when you type “N%&^a” that means “nigger”, and I’m more than six-years-old, so don’t feel offended (or guilty) for spelling the words I mean appropriately. But for some reason I’m guessing that wasn’t what you meant and what you meant was that I am white and so must be prejudice towards people that are not white.

    Thankfully I’m gifted with the ability to judge you as you are, and not place it on your race — of which I place no value in. People are people, and I judge them on their own merits, not what colour their skin happened to come out as.

    Your opinion are typical of anyone who has not felt the pain of segregation and stereotypes.

    Clearly. I mean, it’s not as if I live in a country where I’m a visible minority, am spoken about continually in derogatory terms both behind my back or in front of my face, continually have to work to debunk myths and stereotypes about my race, and am ostracised from near all but the most trivial friendships based on where I was born and my colour.

    Your game of playing “a devil’s advocate” is typical among people who have not researched history.

    So, are you calling me an advocate for the devil or just an uneducated idiot? I’m sure if your comment made any sense, I’d have a stronger comeback.

    If you or anyone else do not like my response, that is your problem!

    The saddest part is it’s really not.

  94. @Houdini: If you wrap quoted text in <blockquote> and </blockquote> it will differentiate your comments from the comments you’re quoting 😉

    Wow, now you’re implying that Ryan is racist? That’s just sad, considering Ryan has been nothing short of understanding, calm, and reasonable with everyone.


  95. I stumbled across this thread while listening to Jewish-American rapper Ill Bill berate weak-ass niggas fo not bringin’ dat real shit. What a circus racism has become in the west.

  96. It is almost two years to date since I’ve posted my first and only comment on this thread. Even though I’ve been following it throughout these years and never felt inclined to add to what I said; I still believe it to be true; Aliyah’s post and the comments that follow beg for a response.

    Houdini and Ryan, you are both unfair to this person. In the post, Aliyah wrote about the experience and never suggested change by force or any other undemocratic means but merely recommended learning Mandarin, learning how to survive and seeking out expat areas… the first two I agree with but disagree with the third since it can deny one of what most people come to China to experience – the difference in culture.

    Houdini, you’ve repeatedly said that people should be allowed to say what they want to yet you attack Aliyah for relating the experience and the conclusion arrived at as a result of that experience.

    You’ve further carried on about your Mexican roommate and what he told you about negroes… what a waste of space. The truth is no one gives a fig about you and your Mexican roommate. They, the Mexicans, must first stop murdering each other and whole villages everyday in their drug wars before they earn the right to pass judgement on others.

    And as for ‘blacks as murderers’, you might want to remember that it wasn’t so long ago when in the USA it was like a Sunday afternoon picnic when even the kids were invited out to see black people murdered by hanging for sometimes as minute a crime as eating, due to hunger, a bit of what they were forced to produce through slave labour.

    What’s more interesting here is that you told Aliyah that in your travels you’ve learnt how anti black sentiments are strong and that you hope that person has thick skin… in other words you’re literally telling this poster to put up or shut up. Mmm… for someone who has used the words ‘democracy’, ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘equality, so often and so loosely, you’ve got a rather warped understanding of what they really mean. In a forum like this too, where posters are asked to give their opinion in a thread like this. Mmm.


    Ryan, I can’t help thinking that you must have written that in jest. To suggest that someone is playing devil’s advocate can, by no means, imply that that person is an uneducated idiot. On the contrary, it takes intelligence to play devil’s advocate.

    I’m somewhat taken aback by your show of impatience with regards to Aliyah’s comments. I’ve followed your posts and you’ve always been at pains to read and to give reasonable response to posters in this thread.

    Where, oh where did this poster suggest, imply or insinuate that change should or could come about through fear? Pray, tell us.

  97. @Chris: You’re comment was #100 – congratz!

    Ryan, I can’t help thinking that you must have written that in jest. To suggest that someone is playing devil’s advocate can, by no means, imply that that person is an uneducated idiot. On the contrary, it takes intelligence to play devil’s advocate.

    Actually, what she said was: “Your game of playing ‘a devil’s advocate’ is typical among people who have not researched history.” Which is why I replied, you’re right — in jest, that she was calling me two things — neither of which was appropriate or called for. I was not acting as devil’s advocate (arguing the point of the opposing side, whether your personal views agree with it or not), nor am I someone who does not have a decent grasp of history.

    I’m somewhat taken aback by your show of impatience with regards to Aliyah’s comments. I’ve followed your posts and you’ve always been at pains to read and to give reasonable response to posters in this thread.

    You’re right, and I try — but some people just rub me completely the wrong way, which Aliyah has done. She came into this conversation combative, opening her comment with: “The Chinese are unbeilevably disrespectful and racist.” That is offensive to me, my wife is Chinese, and she is neither of those things. She is not rare among Chinese, and I find Aliyah’s comments the epitome of racism — viewing the world’s people’s by their colour/race, and the negative judging of a large group of people based on their race. She did it to the Chinese in her first comment, and then did it to me in later comments (assumed I am racist because I am white).

    So, while I have patience for differing views, I don’t suffer fools graciously. Particularly not in my own backyard.

    Where, oh where did this poster suggest, imply or insinuate that change should or could come about through fear? Pray, tell us.

    My comments (and Houdini’s I assume) about this are related to previous comments, not Aliyah’s. They were in response to the idea of creating laws (and therefore fear of breaking those laws or the cost of litigation) for saying something that may, by some, be considered racist — and the concept that in doing so we would somehow eliminate (rather than stoke) racism.

  98. Houdini, you’ve repeatedly said that people should be allowed to say what they want to yet you attack Aliyah for relating the experience and the conclusion arrived at as a result of that experience.

    People do have the right to say what they want, including myself and Aliyah both. She can say whatever she wants, and I myself have that same right. I don’t agree with the racism she encounters, whether you choose to believe it or not. If someone were to disparage her for her race, then I would stand up for her and argue against that person to defend her human dignity. However, I draw the line at pointing a gun to their heads or forcefully drafting laws to force that person to accept things that go against their will. That’s all I’m really saying. Yes, you can be anti-racist and not necessarily agree with all modern-day liberal interpretations of how justice should be carried out.

    You’ve further carried on about your Mexican roommate and what he told you about negroes… what a waste of space. The truth is no one gives a fig about you and your Mexican roommate. They, the Mexicans, must first stop murdering each other and whole villages everyday in their drug wars before they earn the right to pass judgement on others.

    Would you believe me if I told you that my Mexican roommate said the exact same thing about black people? I’m not kidding you. I don’t necessarily agree with what he said but he honestly did say it. He had the freedom to say whatever he wanted, but I personally believe he is wrong and I don’t agree with what he said. Despite his racially prejudiced stance, however, it doesn’t give you the same right to assume an equally prejudiced stance by saying that Mexicans in general should stop killing each other in drug wars. Returning prejudice with more prejudice never helps anyone out.

    What’s more interesting here is that you told Aliyah that in your travels you’ve learnt how anti black sentiments are strong and that you hope that person has thick skin… in other words you’re literally telling this poster to put up or shut up. Mmm… for someone who has used the words ‘democracy’, ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘equality, so often and so loosely, you’ve got a rather warped understanding of what they really mean. In a forum like this too, where posters are asked to give their opinion in a thread like this. Mmm.

    I’m not telling anyone to do anything. People who travel abroad are, I assume, grown adults who can make their own decisions on what they feel is appropriate or inappropriate when they go abroad. Therefore, it is up to them to first read up on places, speak with others, and then come to a decision as to whether or not to travel there. When they arrive at their destination at a foreign country, it is probably in their best interests to follow the law and maintain a level head in dealing with situations.

    When I say that racial prejudices against people of black/African descent is common in many areas of the world, I say this as an unbiased observation of fact, NOT an opinion. In India, in Russia, in China, in Mexico, and in many Arab countries, these racial sentiments do exist. I’ve been to many of these places and I can testify to them. Why is this? Hell if I know. But what you should know and understand is that I’m not saying this to tell you to suck it up and become a third class citizen. I’m saying this is a statement of fact. What you personally choose to do with this knowledge is up to you.

    As for freedom and democracy, my beliefs are more of the Classically Liberal/Lockean beliefs that government should only grant people freedom of speech/press/enterprise and protection from foreign invaders/criminals, nothing more, nothing less. It’s not a “warped” view of freedom. It’s a much older view of democracy and it’s not one that most modern-day people(especially of the younger generation) are used to. If you choose to disagree with my beliefs in freedom… well, then that’s your right to do so.

  99. Why would anybody want to visit China knowing they’re going to be insulted? Life is too short for that. You couldn’t pay me to go there. They’re not clean and they eat dogs and cats and rats.

  100. Pingback: America’s Abortion Debate is infecting China’s | Health RSS News

  101. china needs to educate its citizens against racism
    understand and apreciate africans and japansese.

  102. I’ve read the thread and it seems to have deteriorated in some parts and become a finger pointing contest and a “well, they’re racist too…” type of thing. I think the bottom line for China is that much like the US had to end to end the slave trade to play a larger role in the world, China is going to have to change it’s views if it wants to be a real major player in the global game. Things are not easily hidden as they once were, this blog and the thousands of others the pop up when you google ‘racism in China’ are evidence of that. American influence is not simply based on money, it’s because our largest export (good or bad) is our culture. Very few people are buying Chinese culture. They’re infamously racist and this is something that most westerners are not comfortable with. So long as they keep “copying” what they perceive to be acceptable behavior that is vitriolic and ignorant, the world will continue to look down on them. It will continue to judge them. They will continue to be marginalized socially and that is all there is to it.

  103. Well, yes racism is alive and well in China, but it is nothing like what we suffered in the US under the Anglo Americans. I’m an African American and have lived in China since 2005. I’m married to a Chinese and have two children. I’ve lived all over the world, and the xenophobia, I experienced in China, is similar to what I experienced in Egypt, in Morroco, in the UK, and in Saudi Arabia.

    The key element is your own since of identity. If you know yourself, love yourself and do not define yourself based upon what others think of you, then you have the ingredience to survive any xenophobic situation. Whatever blacks encounter in the China, we are prepared for it because we survived the systemic racism of the US for 400 years.

    The reality is that racism from the Chinese is merely their own insecurities in themselves. A ‘superior person’ treats all others with benevolence, kindness, and lowering their wings. A person who is inferior has to find someone to look down upon, to compensate for his/her own insecurities. That is the case in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and it is the same in China.

    Once you know that, then racist comments will not matters. On another note, the xenophobia in China is being reinforced and corroborated by Europeans and Anglo Americans who take advantage of their ‘skin color’ and do nothing to alter Chinese misconceptions about race. In some cases they are complicit in the persistance of stereotypes regarding blacks.

    Another advice to Blacks seeking to reside in China, is to be extremely skilled in the usage of martial arts. Once I was on a bus, on my way home from work, and two Chinese men began making deriding remarks to me in Mandarin. Of course I ignored them, because I KNEW that what induced their comments was they were intimidated, and I gave them a look to indicate that I knew this.

    However, it didnt stop there. One of the Chinese men decided to put his hands on me. Now I knew that once the shit hit the fan, I probably would be jumped on by the entire bus. However, knowing and undestanding deep Chinese culture of chivalry, bravery, honor and the willing to dive into danger for justice; I immediately disabled the Chinese man with speed and ferocity, that most people on the bus, was left with their mouths open.

    When I subdued the guy, I told him an old Chinese phrase which every Chinese man hears when he is young: “Bu yao che lao hu de hu xu” (Dont tweak the tigers whiskers!)

    Now when the people heard me say that they were reminded of their own ancient culture, which basically means becareful who you fuck with.

    People of African origin have had and will continue to have a long struggle in reestablishing themselves in this world. That’s life so welcome to the good fight!

    • Nice post, Hei. I definitely agree–the key word in China is xenophobia rather than outright racism. It’s generally a very passive trait, just programmed in rather than outright bigotry.

      I’ve had similar situations where the ability to subdue quickly and prevent an actual fight came in handy. One in particular stands out–I’d gone to a club in Xi’an with some friends, mostly western kids. These two local guys had harassed a friend of mine while she was on the dancefloor. Finally one grabbed her breast and tried to put a hand up her skirt. I shoved the guy like a little toy and yelled at him, before my friend grabbed my arm and pulled me away to avoid a fight. The guy and his friend decided they didn’t like this so when I returned to the dancefloor, they followed me around for about 30 minutes. They’d just stand there, glaring at me with arms crossed, then I’d move to another spot, and they’d follow me. Finally one of them walked right up to me and said what I guess was the only English he knows, “fuck your mother,” and I said right back to him, “ri ni, gan ni ma.” He and his friend were just waiting for a reason to start a fight, and jumped to attack me, so I grabbed him, threw him against his friend, and pushed both of them to the floor. I got the one in an armbar before security could come break it up. He basically threw both of those guys out and nodded to me, having seen the whole thing and being familiar with me already. Perhaps reacting to his jibe was unwise, but after what he’d done to my friend, I was bristling a bit. I try to stay away from fights as much as I can, especially in China, since I’m trying to be an example, but there are times when it’s unavoidable.

      I’m very sorry to hear that stuff like this happens here so often. I also think you’re right that there are many westerners, although not just Caucasian, let’s be honest, that encourage the stereotypes. I’ve seen stuff in Beijing that made me sick, embarassed and determined to break the stereotype.

    • This is the real China;
      “However, it didnt stop there. One of the Chinese men decided to put his hands on me. Now I knew that once the shit hit the fan, I probably would be jumped on by the entire bus. However, knowing and undestanding deep Chinese culture of chivalry, bravery, honor and the willing to dive into danger for justice; I immediately disabled the Chinese man with speed and ferocity, that most people on the bus, was left with their mouths open.

      When I subdued the guy, I told him an old Chinese phrase which every Chinese man hears when he is young: “Bu yao che lao hu de hu xu” (Dont tweak the tigers whiskers!)”

      good work, I got jumped by 11 youth in an internet cafe, hospitalized 7 of them, smashed 3 computers, the front window and the teeth of the old bag that watched it play out as they tried to rob me.

  104. Dont get it twisted when I said that many Caucasians reinforce the xenophobia of the Chinese towards Blacks, I did not mean to imply at all, that, Blacks in China do not contribute to these stereotypes.

    For example, the trend among Africans from southern Nigeria, residing in Beijing, near the People’s Stadium, to be involved with drug trafficking is abhorent and opens the door for the kind of mass round ups referred to in earlier post. This was one of the key elemments behind what can be called ‘the race riot’ which took place in Beijing during the 90s, where Africans were radomly attacked, arrested and beat.

    Another trend, and we have to be frank, because this was apart of the racism that lies at the core of Anglo American society, is the fear of the sexuality of African men. China is a society where men out number the women; and the men are averse or too shy to date and intermarry with non Chinese women. On the other hand as China continues to open up, its women are more open to having relationships and intermarry with foriegners.

    Whether we are willing to admit it or not, this creates a kind psychosis for Chinese men. A fear of inadequacy, which with the gender ratio also creates a kind of desperation and resentment when foreigners date their women. All foreign men do themselves a disservice in failing to recognize and acknowledge this problem.

    In this regard China is not dissimilar to the Middle East, where foreign men have to be aware of the social mores of the people before just diving into affairs with the local women. Of course in the Middle East, the reponse to such acts are usually immediate and violent. In China however, the same attitudes are there but simmering in the background, waiting for an opportunity which you discribed to happen.

    I’ve read blogs in Mandarin where Chinese men literally said that their having sex with white or black women is simply ‘come upants’ for what foreigners have routinely done to their women. It does’nt matter if their attitudes are right or justified, the fact is this is thier attitude and it results from a REAL problem, which will probably become worse.

    I’m pretty conservative, so dating and having casual sex aint my flavor. That’s why I’m married and have two children. I dont provide a xenophobic Chinese the excuse to act out his phobias against me. Therefore when one of them does, its clearly, a case of shere xenophobia. This means I no regrets in ‘educating’ one of these guys.

    Besides, believe it or not, the laws in China are designed to protect the foreigner, if and when he is in the right. This brings up another issue, because, having two children, who are physically beautiful, and brown skinned, raises another issue, which I and my wife will have to deal with in the future.

    Luckily the changes happening in the laws in China, along with the knowledge of the long and protracted civil rights struggle we had to fight in the US, has armed us with the tools needed to reinforce our children with and sense of self confidence, and grit to needed to win the good fight here in the Middle Kingdom, or to die trying.

    • Hei—
      I pretty much agree with you across the board. However, I have met a few guys here and there in China who reinforced the stereotypes. Let me give you an example:

      I chatted with a guy from Cameroon in a Xi’an club who was laughing that he likes to have sex with tons of Chinese girls with no protection. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. He was really boasting about it like it’s something to be proud of. Now, I’m quite sure that he is the exception rather than the rule, but it was really distressing to see a foreigner backing up the fears of Chinese folk.

      I’m similar to you, I’ve got a long-term relationship that I’m in for the long haul. I’ve already signed a contract to stay in a town I don’t like for another year just to stay near her while she completes her law degree.

      The weird thing is, I think a good deal of the fear is projection. There isn’t really any comeuppance because, from what I’ve seen, many Chinese men aren’t exactly great lovers. I don’t mean sexually, I mean that they don’t treat their women properly. I’m not going to go so far as to say that it drives Chinese women to date foreigners, but it certainly doesn’t encourage them to date the same sort of guys again. I’ve heard quite a few Chinese men say things like, “Women that smoke and drink are bad women.” Then they down their glass of baijiu and keep chain-smoking. I think mistreatment of women seems to be an internationally occurring trait.

      • Actually, I do not believe its an exception to the rule. I worked with this one clown from Sierre Leone who had the same attitude that you described and said almost exactly the same thing, word for word. So I could say its a trend. However, I met Caucasians saying the same thing. I’m talking about sraight up losers, if they were on the state side, who could’nt pay for a piece, let alone get a descent and fine woman to give him the time of day.

        Yet you see them struttin around Beijing with a Chinese beauty on their arms as if they were the return of the ‘mac’, or ‘iceberg slim’. Frankly, the Chinese women are at fault for not learning the positive lessons of the cultural revolution.

        As for Chinese men not satisfying their women, I believe that is a over generalization. If you were to take the overall population of the Chinese men, perhaps there is a larger percentage of them who do not, cannot satify their women. But that percentage that do and can, still out number us. I believe the story of them not satisfying their women is an urban myth. I mean damn how do you explain their numbers? They just popped out of the ground?

        If you’re getting your information from educated girls out of Beijing, and Shanghai, whose pool of men are those who are so busy with the grind of trying to earn a living, that they never even considered that satisfying a woman is essential. To them, the house, the bank account, the car is more important.

        However, what about the regular Chinese block, I mean the one that’s doing all the fucking. Those guys who still work with their hands, the plebians! Theire women aint complaining! I’ll give you an example.

        I was working in ChangSha one year. Now Changsha is a place where there are reports that their women are the most satisfied of the Chinese women in metropoles with their men. Its not like Beijing, Shanghai, Dahlian etc where a Chinese couple will be walking and as soon as the guy spots a lowai, he will grab his girl and turn her head away, demonstrating to her his own insecurities, and making her even more curious! LOL

        In Changsha it was different. I saw genuine Chinese lovers walking hand in hand, and the guy or girl never even gave the lowai a second glance. There was the look of genuine satisfaction on the face of the women, a joy which I did see in other places, except the rural areas.

        On one occassion a Chinese guy who was walking with this beauty who was tucked up under his arms, actually looked at me and gave me this ‘nod’ like ‘yeah’, and I gave the ‘nod’ back like ‘yeah’.

        The same thing you described about the Chinese men, is the same thing we used to whisper about white guys back in the days before ‘viagra’ hit the shelves. So things are changing, sexuality is changing and more and more old myths are dying fast as they should.

    • Don’t worry about that more men-than-women issue in China. That is based on the premise that the population is heterosexual. If there was a shortage of women, they would not be all over the internet finding foreign husbands. Plus, factor in 10 to 20% gay men, call it 100 million, and there is not shortage of women to marry men.

  105. god bless you ,and god bless me~,god bless us!
    we have some kinds of misunderstand,cause we have some Different preferences and different habits and different ways of thinking and different means of expression and so on.when we have known Each other,we’ll know how to tell other side our idea with their Other side and we get the real Communication!
    all above only represent my personal views.

  106. I have been to china twice in my life time for a period of six months in total ,for me i don’t find them to be racist but as more ignorant this will makes them scared at times and wanting to know. Like in Africa we describe and likened the various strangers with funny nicknames or likened them to anything within the environment , but most unlikely will it in form of hatred.That is how i would describe Chinese as not being based on a mindset of racism like in Americas but more of strangers.

  107. I lived in Guangzhou, China for 2.5 years and while I’m not sorry that I went – I made amazing friends and really learned from my experiences there – I have to say that I didn’t realize the toll that living in China took on me until I left. I’m also a black American and I never thought about my race in America nor do I think about it here now that I’m living in Istanbul – in the US and here I’m just Rachel and I’m free to concentrate on who I am and who I want to be. In China, not for one second of one day did I ever forget WHAT I was – black and foreign. They won’t let you. About three months into my stay in China there was a time when I only left my house for work and then took a taxi home because I was so sick of people staring, pointing and taking pictures of me. This really changed me in ways that, like I said, I didn’t realize until I left. It’s really unfortunate as well because I didn’t have any negative feelings about China or the Chinese before I went and, sadly, I can’t say the same now.
    Other people have talked about the staring but it’s hard to describe exactly what it’s like without you actually experiencing it. Here in Istanbul people stare as there aren’t many blacks here but it’s not like China. In China there’s judgment, ridicule, etc. it’s not merely curiosity as others have stated. I’m not a sensitive person nor do I look for racism around every corner but it’s undeniable in China. It’s in your face every day and there is no way around it.
    Does that mean that you shouldn’t go? Absolutely not. There are good people in China just like there are bad but it does mean that you need to be prepared to experience things that you probably never thought you would experience, have a thick skin and try to remember that they are the result of a society completely devoid of diversity and largely shut off from the rest of the world.
    Like someone else said, apply at large language schools – New Oriental, EF, or Wall Street. You may have difficulty getting a job outside of those places – there are ads that actually specially state that they are looking for whites and many places would rather have a non-native white person teaching than a native speaking black person.
    You will make friends, you will have good experiences in China and you will learn things about yourself and the world that you didn’t know before. Overall, I would say expect to have a good learning experience but also expect massive amounts of ignorance.

    • Well Rachel I think it still your perception. I’m an African American MALE, who when it comes to intimidation white, chinese and everyone else are far more intimidated by us than an African or African American woman for obvious reasons. During the late 90s riots that took place in Beijing, it was African men who were targeted. No one attacked a single African woman. That being said, perhaps you should have thought about staring back at those who stared at you, and then smile and say: Hello in Mandarin. That always works for me. i find that what I thought was hostility was actually insecurity, fear and of course my ‘blackness’ like in the US was only a convenient excuse to hide their own insecurities. I’ve never said hello to a Chinese man or woman and they not reply. Its then that they usually smile and of course ask if I’m African or what part of Africa I come from. That’s the time to break the ice and let them know what’s what.

      The Chinese are not too far removed from the cultural revolution and the struggles they had to undergo to get themselves out from under European imperialism. So if you can relate with that, you have something in common with them. I find that there are some people who do turn up their noses, but those people are always the ignorant one’s who when you look deep into their lives, they are already suffering from some deep insecurity. Most people who are insecure need someone to consider beneath them. In the US this attitude is entrenched but it is institutionalized. There lies the difference.
      I’m married to a Chinese women and have two children and beautiful boy and girl.

      No matter how stupid a Chinese can be, when they see my son and daughter, all of them without exception look and wish that: [1] they can have TWO children; [2] that they can be as beautiful as mine are; [3] that their eyes can be as round; and [4] if only their children can be as bright.

      I know its going to be struggle for my children in China, but life is a struggle. We defeated white supremacy in the US, defeating Chinese xenophobia will be easy, if my children are armed with a strong sense of historical consciousness.

      George Clinton once said in one of his songs on an early album called ‘America Eats Its Young’: “Change your mind and you change your relationship to time. Free your mind and your ass will follow.”

      What that means in this context is this: when Chinese stare at me, I assume that they are jealous, intimidated and insecure or simply curious. It never crosses my mind that they think they are better than me, because they are not. No more than if a dog sneered at me I would assume that the dog thinks its better than me.

      My skin is chocolate, golden brown, like rich honey, born of the sun of the Most High! I feel good in the skin I’m in and I project that to people around me. You might want to start doing the same.

    • There are these lyrics by George Clinton on an earlier alum called ‘America Eats Its Young’ where he said: “Change your mind and you change your relationship to time. Free your mind and your ass will follow! The Kingdom of Heaven is within.”

      What these words means in this context, my sister is that maybe you need to start thinking differently. Just because the Chinese stare at you does not necessarily mean that they are looking at you with disdain. And even if they are, where do you think they got this idea that blacks were inferior in the first place? In fact all you need do is examine carefully the responses of ‘some’ people on this forum to give you a good idea that THEY want you to feel like you are inferior in China. What this does is vindicates them of their own racism.

      Listen sister, I’m an African American male, and we are far more intimidating to Chinese, whites and just about everybody else, then an African African American woman.

      During the riots that took place in Beijing in the late 90s, it was African men who were attacked. Not a single African woman was attacked.

      During race riots in the US, African American men, women and children were attacked indiscriminately, indicating that the ‘race’ was targeted. That’s racism!

      So when Chinese stare at me, rather than put in my mind that they think they are better than me, I simply smile and say ‘hello’. Let’s face it I’m in their country of my own free will. They did’nt invite me, and they most definitely didnt drag me accross the waters against my will to be enslaved.

      If I’m in their country as a guest, then courtesy would demand assuming that their stares may not necessarily be racism, or disdain because of your color.

      It could be because they know that you are making more money than they are. It could be that they are jealous. It could be that their insecurity induces them to try and find something on you that they can latch on to feel a sense superiority. Whatever the case, the problem is in THEIR heads, not yours.

      Are’nt you aware that there was a Chinese governmental study which asserted that 12% of the population are suffering from some form untreated mental disorder, due to the rapid and unheard of development that has occured in their country? The development in China was not gradual like what happened in Europe or America. It was rapid and exponential. This had profound effects on the psychic of the Chinese. Look at their increased divorce rates and the kinds of insane attacks on school children? Something is wrong.

      It has nothing to do with racism.

      I’m married to a Chinese woman and have two beautiful children. My wife’s parents are country people, farmers! Can you imagine the kind of stares I got and still get from her many kin folks! Yet, when they see my children, how beautiful, bright and smart they are; you can see it in the eyes of the women especially, that: (Yeah I wouldnt mind having a Black man to give me some beautiful kids like that! LOL)

      Is it going to be a struggle for my children in China? Yes! But we were able to overcome white supremacy in the US, overcoming Chinese insecurity, jealousies, and xenophobia will be far easier. Especially when my children are armed with a firm sense of historical consciousness.

      Lastly, when people treat other people as if they are inferior ONLY means that THEY are the ones who are actually inferior. I mean when a dog sneers at you, do you automatically think that the dog feels that he is superior to you? No! The dog is naturally inferior, intimidated, and afraid and its sneering is a defense mechanism.

      This was and is the problem with racism in the US, and I would assume that this is what is behind the xenophobia of the Chinese. They will get over it! Don’t worry, because once Peng opened the door, the door is wide open. China cannot stop the world with all of its colors from coming in and eventually changing the make up of China.

      So the next time a Chinese stares at you, smile and say hello.

  108. Sorry about the repeat post, but I thought the first one didnt get posted! Sorry. If you want to delete on of them you can!

  109. He Xuan,

    Everything in life comes down to perception – yours, mine, his, hers, etc. That being said, I know disdain when I see it. I know ridicule when I see it. I know judgment when I see it. I felt it strongly and I’m sure you have as well. As I said, it’s not all Chinese people but it’s certainly a lot of them. Sometimes when you smile and say hello they smile and say hello back and sometimes they jump as though they’re startled and thinking in their minds ‘my God, it speaks.’ They may not find black women threatening but there are other issues that we face in China that you, as a man, wouldn’t come across.
    I’m really glad that you’ve found happiness in China and I respect the fact that you have made the decision to put up with the things that go on there and have such a positive outlook about it but it just wasn’t worth it to me. I feel that I gave it a chance, I traveled around a bit and in the end there was nothing in China that I couldn’t get somewhere else with far less crap and fewer headaches attached to it. I don’t want to have to remind myself of or even think about the inferiority complexes of others. I don’t want to have negativity swirling around me on a daily basis. I don’t want to be in a position where I constantly have to ‘educate’ others on my race. I don’t like knowing that I’m in a place where I pay taxes, contribute to the economy and society, taken the time to learn the language and know that no matter how long I stay there, no matter how well I speak the language, no matter what I do I will never be accepted – not really. I knew that I would never raise a family in China for many, many reasons and I would never stay there for the long haul so everyday that I was there was a waste of time that I could have been spending somewhere else. I just want to go about my business, live my life and be happy just like everyone else. If you feel that you can do that in China, more power to you and I wish you the best.

    • I guess you’re right. It is all about perception. I’ve lived on every continent of this world, with the exception of Australia. And the ONLY place I was physically attacked or verbally assaulted for being Black were in the US and Europe. Most western women be they Black or otherwise are mainly ignored in China. Western women do not get the attention that they normally get in the west, because western men are busy trying to chase down Chinese girls and Chinese men are too intimidated to approach our women. There may be exceptions, but that is what it is, an exception.

      In fact, some English schools will not hire married couples or couples whom they know are dating, because of the stress it will bring to their relationship. Expat women always tell me how Chinese girls boldly approach their husbands or boyfriends, which eventually induces problems between them.

      I know of several couples who have divorced and broken up because of this. What does this have to do with ‘racism in China’? Probably nothing, but it does underline why a Black woman’s experience in China would be different from a Black man’s, simply because of the difference that all men and women have in China.

      I do not consider myself raising my family in China, because technical my family is global. Unlike most Chinese families, my son and daughter will be able to go to the US and get degrees from there, work there and interact with their extended family in the US. This alone will give my children something that most Chinese children will not have, but what they long for.

      Again, I know there will be challenges, but life itself is made of challenges. As an African American who has been actively involved in the fight against white supremacy in the west, dealing with the challenges of xenophobia in China will be easy.

      Twenty years ago no one could have predicted that China would be where it is now, so I would avoid making axiomatic statements of what China is, will be, or will never be. Simply because we do not know.

      If the US, a country built on slavery, with a pro slavery constitution and a majority population who inwardly and openly deny this; can change into what it is today; why is it implausible that China can change?

      Are we saying that the Chinese are inferior to Anglo Americans? That they cannot go through the same self adjustments that the west had to go through?

      There is a story which I’m sure you’ve heard about two shoe salemen who were dropped in a village in an undeveloped country where the people wore no shoes. The first shoe salesman faxed his company saying: “Listen send a plane to get my back home, because these people do not wear shoes!” The second shoe salesman faxed the company and said: “Hurry! Send thousands of shoes, because these people do not wear shoes!”

      So you’re right it is always about perception. You are right as you inferred that the Chinese will always have a sense that this country is theirs and no one is coming in to undermine that.

      Well, it was long ago when the European nations along with the US colluded together to turn the Chinese populations into opium addicts in order to exploit the country. So I can understand when President Hu Jin Tao says: “China for the Chinese and the Chinese for China.” They have a big chip on their shoulders for what happened in the past.

      I believe as China develops and links in with Africa and the rest of Asia, they will come to see the importance of being a multicultural society. In the meantime, however, they are on the defensive against the west who have financial hard-ons and are salivating over the huge market potential of China.

      I disagree with you on what you said about no matter how much Mandarin you speak etc it will not change the Chinese attitudes about you. There is an Arabic statement which goes: “Man `arafa lughata qawmin, amnaan min darrihim” (Whoever knows the language of a people is safe from their dangers.)

      A case in point was Paul Robeson who came to China in the 50s and toured the country singing Chinese revolutionary songs to the delight of the Chinese people. I’ve met old guards from Beijing and in Guizhou who recall Robeson and consider him a revolutionary hero. This was the same in Russia, and several other east European countries. When I was in London studying I came across a library in South Hampton named the Paul Robeson Public Library. It was founded in the 60s by the Labor Party to recognize the role which Paul Robeson played throughout the developing world to improve the lot of all oppressed people. We have yet to establish a library for him in the country in which he was born.

      I find once I engage the Chinese, that there are a lot that we have in common. Like all people the Chinese want to better than standard of living. However they want to do so without becoming a Phillipine, South Korea or Japan. They do not want to be a western toilet bowl where marines, pedophiles, and just about everybody else fleeing the US courts can come, squat and just drop a load on the people.

      In this regard I dont blame them. In the end of the day, the Chinese have to protect their country, just as the US, the UK, France and every other western European nation is trying protect its borders from ‘undesirables’.

      Condelizza Rice said to a US Senate Hearing back in 2002 that the way to ‘contain’ China is not by aggressive militarism, but through soft diplomacy like the sending of thousands of US english teachers and the like to gradually and slowly alter the thinking of the young Chinese in order to convince them that the US and western model is better and preferrable. Of course I disagree with this 100%, but what I did extract from this is that as an African American, I am a representative of my people. I am an ambassador in a sense. My Chinese relatives, my Chinese neighbors, the Chinese police and the Chinese government will be positively or negatively affected by the way I live in their country.

      It will be a slow and difficult process, but this is the same thing we had to do in the US since 1511 until the wife of Obama got in the White House. Even then there are no guarantees, because look at the backlash from the First Lady being in the White House! LOL

      Yet, we got to keep our eyes on the prize and keep on keepin on! The enemies are in front of us and the cliff is at our backs! What other way can we go?!

      • As I said, I wish you the best of luck. Perhaps our difference in opinion about China stems from our difference of opinion about the west. I’ve never had to deal with racism in the US or anywhere in Europe. I had a great time in South America. The first racist incident I ever encountered was a Chinese man refusing to rent an apartment to me because I’m black.

        While I’m grateful to those who dealt with the struggles that you speak of that have allowed me to live a life free from intolerance, those struggles are not mine and I never identified with them on a personal level until I got to China – they were a long gone part of history that was to be studied in a clinical sense but never really touched and I deeply resented the fact that I had to deal with them at all in the 21st century. I am not a crusader and it’s not my job to change people’s opinions about blacks. I am not a spokesperson for black Americans, I’m just one person trying to live her life in peace.
        You spoke of Condi Rice but look at how the Chinese characterized a woman with more education and more power than the overwhelming majority of them will ever have. She was compared to a monkey, degraded and disrespected. Why defend people like that? Why put up with it?

        You are raising your family in China as that is the place of primary residence. It was fine for me as I have no identification with China and I have a very good sense of self which came from growing up in a place where I could feel accepted and understanding that I was living in China voluntarily and could always leave. If I had been a 13 year old girl born and living there it would have been a completely different story.

  110. Hey, i am mixed blood 20 year old, English, Irish, Spanish and Mexican. Basically, i look Latino. I have been in china for 3 months, i will stay here another 7. My experience in China regarding my perception of their racial prejudices and this notion of always being regarding as a foreigner and not a real person, well its a load of shit. I felt to write,because i dont want people to be discouraged by some of the other comments. I am doing a home stay in Chengdu right now and my experience is that people in china are very very friendly loving and genuine to foreigners. Whenever i go anywhere i make friends, people take me out to dinner, i have dated many girls and people always say i am very handsome. As a foreigner here, i am not treated like a 2nd class citizen.
    I have been have lost my ticket on 2 twenty hour sleeper trains and they just laughed about it while others were fined, also, i have bought a motorcycle here which i will travel to Yunnan on soon with my tent, twice the police have noticed i have no driving licence haha and they just laughed and many other numerous situations i have experienced demonstarate that being a foreigner in china offers us privalliges and respect that even the chinese people themselves are not given in their own country.

  111. During my past 4 years in Manchester, UK, I heard twice the local pub drinkers calling me “Chinaman”. The first time I did not know the racist nature of this term. But later I knew this term is negative.

    I know a number of racist terms against Chinese, e.g. Chinaman, Chink, Ching Chong, DVD (some Chinese get the reputation of selling pirated DVDs) etc. I know how you feel when hearing racist callings against you. That’s why I do not use the term “laowai” as refering to you, even if the racist sense of this term is close to none. However, do not expect my fellow local Chinese to be as sensitive to political correctness as I am. They are just insensitive rather than have a malicious intention.

  112. to be honest, there is some prejudice of black in china, because all the american movie you watch, u see black people playing either negative roles or roles that are kill off or used to generate pity. there is even a joke “the black dude always die first”, u have to understand with most chinese only seeing black people in movies, this create a very bias and unfair “first impression”.

    we really need african to have their own voice internationally. today there is just a vaccum in term of african media on the international stage, prehap only in the field of music do we see more positive image of african culture but even thought being overly-commericalized have created alot of stereotype. sex sells, but sex is hardly the image u want to connect a culture to. so it is indeed problematic to create a positive global image.

    chinese too have the same problem, but having it own consumer base, it is slowly able to develop it own media. i hope some african state manage to developed into a first world economy, that would change the world so much for african.

    • For the last half-decade or so, there’s been at least one black American on TV quite a bit that’s not promoting negative stereotypes, nor has he been killed off early in the show (despite the desires of the US’ far-right political parties).

      I do agree though that African voices do need a bigger platform.

  113. “ That’s why I do not use the term “laowai” as refering to you, even if the racist sense of this term is close to none”

    It is when it’s accompanies by bursts of laughter from complete strangers who think you can’t understand Chinese. I prefer 洋鬼子… let’s not beat around the bush, guys. 😉

  114. @Hei Xuan
    I’m a twenty four year old African American male and I’m currently debating on whether or not I should make the decision to travel to China more specifically to YangChun with my girlfriend that I met at a American University. I’m very nervous and quite abrehensive to meet her parents, family, and close friends. I would say that I’m an attractive person so I really wouldn’t mind the abnormal amount of attention but I absolutely hate racism. I study martial arts so I’m pretty confident In my abilities to protect myself physically if such matter arose. I have a B.S. in Economics and would possibly be looking for some sort of teaching position or even a corporate office.
    What types of scrutiny should I prepare myself for? Do I have a high chance of her parents accepting me? Is there any place in close proximity to YangChun that can properly cut a black man’s hair?


  115. I am a black African, read almost every comment here since the one in 2007, very interesting. going to Changsha, Hunan Province later in the year for about 2 years at Varsity. I have a little bit of a short temper and get into a lot of arguments. I hope I will be able to hold my nerve when I hear any vile racist comments. I just want to do my 2-3 years master’s and be out.

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