Small anecdote: I attended an English class at a Chinese business university. The teacher (young girl, never left China in her life) told us that everything "French" means "sex/porn/etc", i.e. "french book", "french movie". Funny, but tragic.
Also remember the racist ad for washing powder (girl washes a black guy and a Chinese jumps out afterwards).
They will probably need some slightly more tragic events and pushback to acknowledge it's a problem. Would be better if they learnt from the west's painful lessons, but my hopes for that are low.
I think this is a typical example of stereotype rather than racism. But actually, I think that kind of stereotype is the exact major driving force behind racism in China.
From my own experience, I don't think we in China have received enough education about races or even our own ethnic groups. That eventually lead to ignorant and insensitive.
I once was in a dinner with my parents and their colleges. One of the college is identified as Hui, they don't eat pork (While us Han try everything edible). Somebody on the table got curious and ask why, before the Hui can answer, someone else intercepts and said "Because pig is their god" (when in the reality, they believe pig is filthy). Thankfully, Hui was very nice and explained it to us, and that someone was very embarrassed.
So, I think the solution of the racism problem in China is to encourage more interaction between different people.
The skin pigment 'melanin' is what causes a black person's skin to be black, and is also the same as in a non-black person's tanned skin. It's a added pigment that the absence of causes light skin. Removal of melanin can happen (through non-laundry!) causes such as developing vitiligo, or being born with albinism (a genetic condition which exists in all ethnicities not just black people). Removal of melanin literally turns a darker skinned/haired person white (but obviously not changing other features).
The American TV show Everybody Hates Chris, based on comedian Chris Rock's childhood experiences made almost THE EXACT SAME JOKE more than once  , making fun of the very strict African-American mother trope of threatening a misbehaving child with 'slapping the black out of you'.
The laundry commercial may have some problematic connections with the ideas of 'clean' and 'attractive'.
America has a long history of minority TV shows aimed at mass audiences tackling stereotypes, Everybody Loves Raymond for Italian-Americans, Fresh Off the Boat for Asian-Americans, and a huge number of African-American cast shows including The Jeffersons, The Cosby Show, Fresh Prince of Belair etc. Comedy shows with characters with minority experiences are a good way to improve understanding. It will be unfortunate if lighthearted comedy dies because excessive political correctness.
Seeing is believing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darlie
My pet theory is that this is because Americans are one of the few groups of people who are willing to accept the fact that they have problems with racism. Every other country mostly just denies the existence of any racism that crops up (or overreacts in the opposite direction) and is therefore not so easy a target.
Africa and India are more diverse than US
Measuring purely the number of technically different ethnicities is a silly way of calculating diversity. You need to look at the delta between the ethnicities if you want to talk about diversity that isn't purely on paper.
I probably should've just said "racially", but oh well.
But that aside, GP has a point that contemporary American culture spends a lot of energy worrying about this. The energy expended is a poor measure of the size of the problem.
But the claim was about "ethnicities", not races. People frequently refer to their ethnicity as Irish, Sicilian, Catalan, etc. Rarely have I heard someone say their ethnicity is white.
==The energy expended is a poor measure of the size of the problem.==
Who gets to be the judge of the size of the problem? If a certain race or ethnicity is spending a lot of energy on this, maybe it is incumbent on everyone else to re-assess the true size of the problem.
Judging the extent of racial prejudice is also hard. But only crazy people think the US is more racist now than 100 years ago. 100 years ago the NYT did not devote many pages to white self-flagellation. Nor does China today. Nor does Liberia, for that matter.
Categorizing it like this could be viewed minimizing today’s prejudice by comparing to prejudice of 100 years ago. I think the goal is to get to zero prejudice, so let’s compare against that.
“Women don’t have it so bad today, 100 years ago they couldn’t even vote.”
My reason for comparing real things, not utopias, is that we can learn things from them. Because they exist, or existed. And what you learn here is that the volume of argument about a bad thing is a poor indication of the prevalence of this bad thing. Quite possibly anti-correlated.
Here's an easier example for you. The Guardian is full of articles of a feminist bent, decrying the wage gap, etc. Literally every day there are half a dozen. The Saudi newspapers are not like this. There are no snarky comments about the princes all being men of the same racial group. This difference in the volume of discourse does not indicate that women have it worse in London than in Riyadh. And observing this simple fact does not indicate approval of the situation in either country.
==This difference in the volume of discourse does not indicate that women have it worse in London than in Riyadh.==
This is a strawman, as nobody has ever claimed they have it worse. However, the wage gap in England effects women in London directly and they have the ability to change it through voting. Do you see how that is different from state-sponsored/controlled media in a country that makes no attempt at equality?
==And observing this simple fact does not indicate approval of the situation in either country.==
But using one country's scenario in an attempt to diminish the plight of people in another is implying that we have to choose one. It's a false choice because we can work on improving Saudi Arabia from the outside while actively voting for improvement in England from within. To clarify, I don't live in England, but this applies to any comparison of what another country is doing (specifically, a non-democratic country).
He said "almost every subsaharan country is 100% black".
3 Democratic Republic of Congo
8 South Africa
Here is the _exact_ same ad in Italy, but reversed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dntfod-Cbo
No one bats an eye.
The is a big problem in China regarding racism, mostly because of the simple fact they aren't multicultaral like the West; it's just iganorance really.
> “If we just show laundry like all the other advertisements, ours will not stand out.”
He's right. I haven't paid as much attention to a detergent ad since Tide's Superbowl ad.
Very similar to the Gillette thing, in a way. Makes sense when you think about it.
Not only that, but if you go to the theaters, more than half the movies are non-Chinese.
Can you imagine turning on the TV in the US and seeing ad after ad featuring Asian models? Or going to the theater and seeing that over half the movies are Asian movies with—gasp—subtitles!
With how homogeneous China is, I’m surprised they are willing to consume such a diverse set of media, even Bollywood films can do well there!
If I say 'French car' I don't mean 'sexy car', if I say 'that French dude with brown hair' it doesn't have any connotations about sex or something.
Problems with racism are global.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) recently published a survey (Nov 2018) that examines the experiences of almost 6,000 people of African descent in 12 EU Member States.
The report includes survey results from Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.
The FRA state:
"While the survey results paint a dire picture of reality on the ground, they can serve as an important resource for policymakers committed to promoting the full inclusion of people of African descent in the EU."
Summary of weighted results across all surveyed countries (taken from the report):
Report: Being Black in the EU
EDIT: it seems the places where xenophobia doesn't exist are mere pockets in a vast ocean of bigotry.
And to be clear I'm in no way alluding to any specific group. For instance Irish were heavily discriminated against in the US. They were considered alcoholics prone to violence and criminality. "No Irish Need Apply" was a typical phrase seen throughout the US. However, this stereotype yielding to discrimination was not driven by fantasy. This aggregate behavior did exist. And as the aggregate behavior rates changed, so did views against the group. Now they're just another group lumped in by the amount of melanin in their skin as if that identifies their cultural or genetic roots.
So back to your example calling East Germans xenophobic is laughably untrue in some cases. Merkel is very East German and probably not the first person you'd list when speaking of xenophobes. Yet of course if you were somehow able to poll individuals in xenophobic tendencies, you'd probably find a substantially higher aggregate rate in East Germany than in e.g. Belgium. Yet by now just claiming 'East Germans' are the most xenophobic, you engage in the exact same behavior you'd hope to combat.
This is not picking on you, and I'm certainly not offended. I'm just pointing out a rather ironic point. Ultimately, I think we should focus on behavior. Asking East Germans to, collectively, stop engaging in as much racist behavior is probably a smarter choice than my asking you to stop referring to East Germans as xenophobes.
 - https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-...
It's just that until recently the Han have been too busy attempting to subjugate them.
In contrast the Japanese government recognizes about four indigenous races.
Granted, Han Chinese in the modern sense is a bit of a constructed identity (https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/6e312e/is_th...), but it’s a construction that has held up in China.
With the exception of Guangdong and Hong Kong, you aren’t going to find many TV stations or newspapers that are carrying content in non-Mandarin Chinese. Yes, when I visit older family in the countryside, they may still speak their local dialect, but that is becoming increasingly rare:
Unlike in the US where African and French influences produced creole, and American pop culture has strong African and Latin influences, I don’t think minority group culture in China has anywhere near the same pull. Yes, they may trot out ethnic minority performers once a year during the CCTV New Year’s Gala, but you will not find “minority” singers charting on best seller lists, or “minority” actors in leading entertainment roles.
A 90%+ majority ethnic group is on par with what we see in Western Europe. Do Europeans see themselves as primarily multi-ethnic states? The self-description of a “melting pot” that is commonly used in the US, Canada, and even Central America don’t seem to be nearly as prevalent in Europe.
Just a quick clarification: Mandarin is a spoken form of Chinese, and therefore cannot be "printed" in a newspaper. In Guangdong, the newspapers are printed in simplified Chinese characters. In Hong Kong, the newspapers are printed in traditional Chinese characters.
Traditional and Simplified Charcters are only barely relevant to this. The only spoken varieties of Chinese with vernacular literatures are Mandarin and Cantonese. All writing in Chinese is in one or the other. Even in Hong Kong and Macau the overwhelming majority of writing is in Mandarin. It follows Mandarin grammar and vocabulary and can be read without any special difficulty by Mandarin monoglots. Written Cantonese is basically unintelligible to them. It’s used for songs, occasionally subtitling, a very small corpus of fiction and dialogue in court transcripts and scripts. This is orthogonal to the use of Traditional or Simplified characters. You can write any of the dialects of Serbo-Croatian in Latin or Cyrillic characters. That doesn’t make any of them Russian, or German.
My question is: if this is true, why the heck is the pronunciation for standard Mandarin so different from the standard Beijing and northern accents? Seriously, especially with all the "er"s at the end of various characters. It does not sound similar to what is taught in standard Mandarin classes, and I speak as one who learned standard Mandarin for a number of years (in Canada and in China) and also lived in Beijing for a bit. I'd really like this explained to me, because the ear test tells me this is not true. But again, I've heard it said so many times that I am willing to consider it's possible.
It appears to be a Tai Chinese creole or mixed language (like a creole but without the massive simplification in grammar).
Yi(Loloish) is definitely a different language family though that wouldn’t stop people writing in Mandarin if they really wanted to. Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese were all written as if they were Classical Chinese to greater or lesser extents until relatively recently.
I’ve heard Sichuanese described as Mandarin without tones. All of Sìchuān speaks different forms of Mandarin for the same reason Manchurians do, recent massive resettlement, though not as recent as in 东北.
If Sichuanese sounds similar to Mandarin due to migration, it would certainly explain a lot. Thanks for that bit of information. But I would say that the differences between Sichuanese and standard Mandarin would be more from pronunciation differences than tonal differences.
> Nuosu is one of several often mutually unintelligible varieties known as Yi, Lolo, Moso, or Noso; the six Yi languages recognized by the Chinese government hold only 25% to 50% of their vocabulary in common. They share a common traditional writing system, though this is used for shamanism rather than daily accounting.
I bow to your superior expertise when it comes to the differences between Sichuanese and Mandarin but all of Sìchuān is definitely part of the Mandarin speaking area.
The book to buy if you’re interested in this is the Language Atlas of China.
Mandarin and Cantonese are regional dialects, Mandarin gained prominence because emperors from about the 1600s resided in Northern China and in Beijing which used a lot of Mandarin Chinese, thus it spread due to being a prestige language used by the royal family and their courtiers. Cantonese is prominent in certain areas of Southern China in the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces.
Hong Kong and Taiwan uses Traditional Chinese, Mainland China and Singapore/Malaysian Chinese uses Simplified Chinese for their text.
I personally find fangyan as a better descriptor than dialect:
No it's not, because it's fundamentally confused about what it means to write a language down.
> I personally find fangyan as a better descriptor than dialect
The literal translation of fangyan is "topolect", i.e. "the way people talk in a certain place". It only came to mean "dialect" due to some weird miscommunication when Western linguistic terminology was introduced in China. So that's the translation dictionaries give, and it's correct except when it's used to describe languages within China, where the traditional meaning of "topolect" continues to be used.
Simplified vs traditional is a different issue, and all dialects can be written in either simplified or traditional. Which is more prevalent usually depends on tradition, and relations with the PRC. Singapore and the PRC use simplified, while Taiwan, HK, and Japanese Kanji use traditional.
It’s much more similar to the sistuation with Arabic where the various “dialects” are as distinct from each other as the Romance languages, i.e. French, Spanish, Italian etc. but the only written standard is Modern Standard Arabic. Mandarin or something close to it is at least someone’s native tongue. MSA is about as close to Maghrebi or Mashreqi Arabic as Latin is to Portuguese or Romanian.
You meant that there are only less than 100 novels written in Romanian? If yes, that's one of the most absurd claims I've read in my life.
For example, 火, the character for fire, is a (slightly) stylized brushstroke picture of a fire.
Mutually unintelligible communications that use the same pictures are distinct languages, but there are political implications to acknowledging this, so they’re “dialects”. As the saying goes, a language is a dialect with an army and a navy.
If you want to learn more the Wikipedia article is a great place to start.
Europe is very much a melting pot, to a degree that would surprise many Americans. We don't necessarily have as many black or brown faces, but our cities often have very large populations of recent immigrants with strikingly different cultural values. Britain has about the same number of Muslims as the United States, despite having about a fifth of the overall population.
Fox News ran stories about "no-go areas for non-Muslims" in Britain, which is completely bogus and hugely incendiary but reflects the large and concentrated population of Muslims. The cities of Blackburn, Birmingham, Bradford and Leicester all have Muslim populations of over 20%; it's not unusual to find primary (elementary) schools that are >90% Muslim. There are neighbourhoods where the majority of women wear headscarves and the majority of restaurants and supermarkets sell Halal food. Choosing not to integrate is very much an option in most of Europe, so a lot of places feel very foreign.
A quick search leads me to this Wikipedia entry that claims exactly that:
As of 2010, the combined population of officially recognised minority groups comprised 8.49% of the population of mainland China.
Perhaps a better metric would be the ratio of the dominant ethnic group to the whole population which Japan is perhaps is the country that has the highest one.
The Chinese government have no scruples which is why they are out-competing Western companies and governments in Africa, who are tied behind political and moral restrictions.
Also the Chinese have a major resource in man power which they can deploy anywhere for cheap.
When Chines build roads to extract resources with questionable intent, those roads and electric grids are free for all and not all traffic goes to China. Some even question the net value of Chinese efforts for the Chinese.
Lived there myself, can confirm.
If there was violence, it would definitely be condemned.
The best analogy I can think of is the current Harvard Affirmative Action lawsuit. There are people who don’t feel they are racist/biased, but somehow justify to themselves that having a quota on Asian American students is fine.
From the NYT's perspective clearly Kenya is racially uniform, but I know that there was significant political violence at recent elections, to do with which tribe or language group candidates or parties represented. Do such distinctions matter only at voting time, or do they matter in everyday life too... like whether X landlords will be happy to rent to Y people, or employ Z? Can such distinctions be perceived immediately on the street (e.g. from accent) or only once you know someone's surname, or something?
People are definitely more happy to hire others from their own tribe or rent rooms to them but it's more just nepotism than outright racism, at least in larger cities.
The violence that happened during the last elections was also driven mostly by political factors first, rather than race. It just so happens that the president Kenyatta and the political elites of Kenya come mostly from the Kikuyu tribe, which then leads to tensions along tribal lines.
In my experience, the tribal divisions are more pronounced in the countryside. Until recently, in some parts of the country there has been open conflict between tribes, e.g between Turkana and Samburu in the north. I have witnessed numerous times the Samburu use racial slurs to describe the Turkana and vice versa.
I'm not necessarily out to defend the behaviour of this person - I think they were pretty callous, and some of the other practices also seem pretty horrendous but I also think some of the offence readers of this article may take come from projecting our own personal views onto the behaviour of others, ignorant of the different origins and cultural contexts of the offender.
When slurs such as referring to people as monkeys are used by the Chinese, they are not steeped with the kind of hatred and historical context when wielded by someone from the West.
---That doesn't make it any less hurtful or insensitive---
That said, it also doesn't necessarily carry the same intent as it may outside of China. Comparison with animals is far more normalized and entrenched in culture: for instance, everyone is assigned a zodiac by their birth month and the Monkey King is a household mythological hero.
It feels like ‘Starship Troopers’ level propaganda and is completely straight faced.
The villagers constantly thank the Chinese hero for his over-the-tip acts of bravery, they celebrate when he wins local drinking contests, etc.
I think it started because they tried to start a Chinese edition for the PRC, but that was eventually blocked after they published a story the communists didn't like.
Maybe continuing to pay for translations is not too expensive in the grand scheme of things, and keeps them well-positioned (with mind-share and the like) if there's ever a thaw and they're unblocked.
Perhaps because the Chinese are not (being allowed) to 'colonize Africa'. They may have a large presence in East Africa but are of limited significance elsewhere in the continent.