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.