2020/03/06

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Chinese who cry racial abuse forget they are as bad as all of us

  


Racism is everywhere. Either get over it or get out of the place where you are being targeted. Fight it, if you want, but moaning about it doesnt help. Some Chinese in the United States and Europe are telling of racial abuse because of the coronavirus, which causes the disease known as Covid-19, originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.


Whenever people tell me about their own experiences of racism, I always ask if they themselves have ever used racial slurs. I know I have. Were all racists. Its a matter of degree. Those who say they dont have a racist bone in their body are not being honest.


I know exactly what the Chinese are going through now. I sympathise because I went through the same thing after the September 11 terror attacks. I was working in the US at the time. 


The day after the attacks, I had a lunch appointment.


People yes, including Chinese gave me dirty looks even though I am ethnically Indian and my parents were Hindus. But who could tell between Arabs and Indians, or Muslims and Hindus? (Likewise, who can tell between Taiwanese, Hongkongers and even Singaporeans these days?)


Some white teenagers I passed on the way to lunch called me a terrorist. A suspicious Chinese grocery store owner followed me as I shopped. Brown-skinned people with so-called Middle Eastern features were often singled out for questioning when boarding planes. I stared back at those who stared at me. As an American who believes in the values of my adopted country, I stood tall and endured those dark days, knowing they would pass. And they did.



Yes, racism runs deep in American society. But the same goes for China, Japan, India and elsewhere. At least the US admits it has a problem and tries to right its wrongs. There is legal recourse against racism. Can I say the same of Hong Kong, where I was born, and mainland China? I grew up being called mo lo cha, a racial slur against Indians. Many Hong Kong landlords still dont rent properties to South Asians.


Up until recently, there was an area in Guangzhou which Chinese nicknamed Chocolate City because a large number of Africans lived there. Just imagine the outcry if a US district was dubbed Yellow City.


The difference is that the US is a democracy. Chinese and other people of colour can seek redress. Hong Kongs anti-racism laws so lack teeth that I can remember only one prosecution, which failed.


A Chinese advertisement for laundry detergent in 2016 showed a black man being shoved in the washing machine by a pretty Chinese woman and emerging as a fair-skinned Chinese man. The 2018 Lunar New Year variety show on state-run CCTV featured a Chinese actress in blackface and giant fake buttocks and a black man in a monkey suit.



Africans would see the ad and the variety show as more offensive. I would consider the epithet mo lo cha more racist than the sick man of Asia headline. There will never be a meter that measures racism to everyones liking.


Source: https://www.scmp.com





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