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I have not had time to read thru the whole discussions. But as I have said under the other topic, |
“Racism is like black cat and white cat and pink cat and yellow cat and fat cat and skinny cat, they may be equally capable of catching mice, but still ... Ha... it's the sin of human nature. It's going to be there no matter. Human empathy may help to reduce the pain, and only laws can suppress it.” And in my view, if you have confidence in yourself, no amount of racism would affect you. This is from my own experience living many years overseas.
So don’t be overly anxious on the subject matters. While the Chinese overseas and other minority groups have been working hard for their equal rights, we should also look into our domestic situation, not let the racism grow in our own backyard.
Here is an article I have read on blog, concerning the racism in China, specifically in Shanghai. From the article, it seems that we’re discriminating against our own kind. So if we are looking down on ourselves, how could we expect others to respect us?
China, both in the central and the local levels, should set up human right commissions handling matters of discrimination. Only thru legal means, people would learn what are considered acceptable behavior.
http://www.senseimichael.com/200 ... aybe-just-shanghai/
Racism in China (Maybe only in Shanghai) 30 April 2006
Over in developed countries like the States, Australia or Singapore, racism is a problem we are always keen to tackle. Laws were erected in the melting-pot States, for example, that prohibits discrimination based on creed, colour, age, gender…and now even sexual preferences. In white-majority Australia, the “reign” of Pauline Hanson and her voice against the Asians destroying the way of life of Australians created plenty of tension. In Chinese-majority Singapore, jokes about Malays and Indians abound (terrible, but I’m not going to sweep it under the carpet).
So far the racism I’ve encountered has been against members of a minority race, but here in Shanghai I encountered a very interesting form of racism that really made me reflect and think. This post is actually inspired by something that happened this afternoon.
The Hengshan Church music team had our practice session this afternoon at Karen Pierce’s place (a really far out villa in a nobody’s land called Pudong). The cab stopped at the security post, where the security officer inquired of my business. I told him I’m visiting my friend in Villa No 45.
He gave me this quizzical and disbelieving look, and asked (in Mandarin of course, since I spoke to him in Mandarin), “You have a laowai friend?” Laowai literally means “Old Foreigner” but they normally use it to refer to Caucasians (I would normally be called a huaqiao, or “Overseas Chinese”).
I decided to pull his leg a bit and spoke in English, “Yes, my friend is Karen Pierce, and she’s at No 45. Do you need to give her a call to confirm?”
He sheepishly gave me the directions to the villa. I wanted so much to make him squirm even more by asking, “You mean I cannot have a laowai friend?” I guess I was too kind (and in any case I was already late!) and decided to let it be.
My very first encounter with this form of racism (white men = good, Chinese = no good) was with an acquaintance of mine. He is of German descent, but his English is pretty good, and he’s the director of one of the language schools here. He spoke to me of this encounter that changed his hiring policies forever.
He hired (with a good pay package I believe) a 3rd-generation American-born Chinese to teach English in his school. Now this employee has a law and teaching background, and she’s good. With this new hire, he proceeded to let her teach one of his new clients (his company’s main businesses are corporate clients rather than individual pupils).
On the day of the first lesson, when she was introduced to the class, his client took him aside and said firmly, “Chinese cannot teach Chinese English. I want white man.” He tried to explain to the client her qualifications and how she’s one of his best employees, but he simply repeated, “No, no, Chinese cannot teach Chinese English, I want white man to teach good English.”
Now that acquaintance got really desperate! In his roster was…a Frenchman. His English was even worse than my acquaintance’s. But that was the only white man available at that time and he placed him in. The client did not complain and the lessons continued. He had a very hard time repatriating the American Chinese employee (remember she has a law background?!).
My next encounter was with my own school, the Shanghai Singapore International School. Early in my career there (while I was still “spying out” as a teacher, before taking up the post of Head of Department), one of the Caucasian teachers had to go for her maternity leave. Both of us have been colleagues for some time, and we’ve discussed and exchanged tips on many issues of English teaching.
I was the only teacher available that could take over her English lessons while she went on her leave (why am I always the teacher who’s available whenever lessons have to be taken over at short notice, like in the case of P2 Ruby?). When a Taiwanese parent found out that another teacher was taking over, her first question to my principal was, “Is he blond?”
My principal was so angry she came to my office and demanded that I dye my hair! Of course, I knew she was joking, but when my colleague heard this, she was not amused. She told my principal with a straight face, “Michael is easily my equal, if not better than me, in English. Tell that parent to #$!@ (censored due to minors reading this blog).” It felt so good to have somebody say that of you!
Hmm…coming to think of it, she should have said “better than I” rather than “better than me”, but this is a common English mistake anyway. And with the present generation preferring this use, soon the grammar books will say it’s ok to use “better than me”. Just like “because” can now be in front of a sentence (even though it’s a conjunction).
I suppose this form of racism is a sign of immaturity. Singaporeans and Americans have long accepted that your ability may not be tied to your colour, even if it’s something as basic as your (assumed) native language. Interesting, both countries are cosmopolitan plural societies and so have grown to understand and accept this fact of life.
One thing good about looking and speaking Chinese though - I can slip easily into local life, without any big problem or hassle! And if I want to push my way through a difficult situation, just refuse to communicate in Mandarin and I’ll get treated as a foreigner!