Racism and Laziness: Excellent Reasons to Breed
This may end up being a little long and winding, but I’ll get to my point eventually.
The Chinese see it as a point of pride that they are ready, willing and able to accept any amount of abuse heaped on them, especially if they are doing it in the name of nationalism or some other male-defined in-group/out-group mechanism. I remember a few years ago, I was just about to sit down with an 18-year-old male I was tutoring, when he responded to some pleasantry I’d made with one of the most bizarre non-sequiturs I’ve encountered. With clear glee, superiority, and enormous nationalist and racial pride, said male told me that the Chinese army was superior to any Western army in history. As an example, he told me about the zeal of the army following Communist dictator and personality cult leader, Mao Ze Dong. They went without shoes and food (and in some parts of the country – although no Chinese will tell you this – were so starved they had to resort to cannibalism) to support the communist fight. In contrast, he cited the Italians (not sure which war he was referring to – WWII?), who refused to fight until they received food from their generals. Clearly, the Chinese were and are superior, according to this arrogant, ignorant boy, because they made the cause greater than their human rights. I had no real response to what he said. He was fucking loonie-toons. A product of Chinese and male brainwashing. The Chinese part being the acceptance of any and all human rights abuse all for the sake of a cause, no matter how fucked up that cause might be. The male part was, of course, the military bullshit. Only men truly fetishize devoting one’s life to killing and raping in the name of honour.
Suppressing my hatred for race supremacists, and focusing on the money I was earning, I moved on with the point of our meeting, which was to prepare this douchebag for a formal English examination that would allow him to take his filthy mind and psychotic ideals and ethics to the West to take advantage of our education and economic systems. His family was rich, his father the head of a university. I didn’t ask him how good ole Chairman Mao would have seen his family’s wealth or his father’s membership in academia. Mao didn’t like the educated or the wealthy (unless it was him or his cronies!) Let’s just say ‘re-education’ in the countryside and wealth repossessed by the Communist party would have been on order for this silly boy and his kin.
Mao is gone, but the idea of not challenging abuses and questionable ethics from on high is deeply ingrained in the Chinese mindset. Don’t get me wrong, if a Chinese doesn’t accept you as superior in some way, they won’t accept abuse or even non-abusive requests for action from you. This is why many of my students (especially the males) refuse to do work in my class or even attend, or why many people refuse to answer my questions in Chinese out in public. I am racially inferior. And I am a woman. They don’t have to give me the slightest respect, and they know what’s what. I have no power in China – economic, political, legal, or of the penis-derived variety (see my Oppressor Triangle to understand how this works). But it is fascinating how little challenge there ever is to the system or even to a Chinese boss. This hierarchy is clear, established and unquestioned. And abuse and illogical and unethical systems proliferate and thrive here. Little ever changes unless it comes from on high.
And so we get to the education system, and something the Chinese absolutely hate. For some reason (I think it is a ‘study and conquer your enemy’ situation), the government decided that English should be part of the curriculum here. Not English as a language or a skill, but as busy work. As something to test. Most students spend at least 10 years studying English. Not English as a useful communication tool, but the study of how to pass multiple choice grammar tests. Indeed, most students finish 10 years of English with no speaking ability and very poor writing ability. Even university English majors can often barely produce a grammatically correct sentence. If they study at all, they spend most of their time memorizing vocabulary and cramming for obscure grammar tests. But no practical usage is encouraged by teachers or carried out by students.
Unfortunately, part of this weird language study protocol involves importing foreigners to teach ‘oral communication’. It is the most bizarre job on the planet and if you take your job seriously, it is disappointing and mind-fucking because you are absolutely set up to fail due to the way education works here. Schools can gain more money and prestige if they hire foreign people, but there is no quest for quality or establishing useful curricula. A lot of (male) wingnuts are hired – those looking to fuck local women (especially their students), drink their faces off, and travel. But a minority of us are actually quite educated, experienced, and give a shit about our work and reputations. Most qualified teachers can’t handle it here because the system isn’t set up for real learning. Like everything in China, it’s all about appearances. Surface. No substance.
Because the system is so poorly set up and so few shits are given by the Chinese about quality of learning, foreign staff are thrown into Kafka nightmare-like work situations with no information, no support, and a hell of a lot of hate and racism surrounding them. Some schools may provide a ‘foreign teacher liaison’ – a Chinese employee at the school whose duty it is to control the foreigners, control the information the foreigners have access to, and deal with their inevitable complaints when they are ostracized or have to deal with inefficiency and illogic. It is never a singular or special position. Usually, it is a teacher in the English department and the lowest male or female on the totem pole who is forced to take on this extra role for no extra pay. It is often seen as a form of punishment, so you can imagine the resentment and poor working environment created by the administration. The local teacher has to take on an extra workload and deal with people who are not truly welcome or supported and who immediately find themselves in a bad environment. And the foreign staff is forced to deal solely with a person who resents them, but who is required to deal with them. Typically, the rest of the local staff in the department, despite being teachers of English and who you would think would want to know more about the culture and language they are teaching and usually have never been exposed to themselves, will never, ever speak to or be friendly to the foreign staff. It is a truly bizarre work environment where words like ‘foreign friend’ get batted around, but are not followed up by cooperative or welcoming ‘friendly’ behaviour. The administration creates an environment where only resentment and racism towards foreign people builds up and festers.
I recently took on a part-time job at a private college that is located in the middle of a construction zone, far from the main city and not really close to anything interesting. This means that they have a nearly impossible time finding foreigners willing to sign contracts with them. I mean, seriously, who the hell wants to live in racist isolation with nothing to do when they could work in a large (too-crowded) vibrant city that is not overly far away? Personally, I’m happy to be there as a part-time worker. The pay is the best I’ve ever made anywhere in China or Taiwan. But I will say, I’d never sign a contract with them and live there full-time. It really is in the middle of nowhere and it takes a few hours just to get into the city from there. There is barely a market available for fresh produce, and otherwise, you are stuck eating at the filthy school canteen or at the few dubious restaurants adjacent to the school.
But they found a few suckers to sign on, and ended up getting screwed recently by an American couple – although it was the male of the couple who ran the whole scam and from what I heard, created constant problems from day one. The couple was new to China and signed a contract with the school. Half-way through the contract, they demanded more money (despite having successfully negotiated a higher salary to begin with when they signed on). Reasonably, the school refused a second pay raise after only four months, so the Americans did a runner in the middle of the night with no notice. They even stole the laptop computer they were borrowing from the school, and left the place mid-semester without two full-time teachers. Then the other American they had working for them decided to leave early using some excuse with no one to cover his classes. And then a third American man who agreed to fill in for the remainder of the semester showed up for one day and then quit. WTF, American men??? Along with me, they hired a part-time, black Muslim man from Africa (not a native English speaker), and now he is busy screwing them, cancelling classes right, left and centre during the past month because he has been starving himself in the name of Allah. Even though the Chinese won’t tolerate Christian stuff, like the rest of the world, they are very rationally and reasonably afraid of Muslims, so they have let this guy run roughshod over them. So apparently, I am the only stable and reliable foreign teacher they have. No needy children bullshit. No psycho spouse bullshit. No religious bullshit. And I’ve been in China long enough to know and expect all the abuse one inevitably encounters working for the Chinese, so I don’t throw hissy fits every two minutes when I am treated like shit. Seriously, I’ve worked in worse places. This place is good compared to many schools.
So we get to my foreign teacher liaison. She uses all the right words: “foreign friends” being chief among them. And she is very careful to cloak her many, many complaints about foreigners in neutral language. But she hates us and she hates working with us. She has told me that she has asked the boss many times to release her from this position. The problem is that she is the only teacher without a Masters degree, so she is stuck. She can be fired easily if she complains. There is an over-abundance of English teachers with Masters degrees, and seriously, the Chinese don’t even need to speak English to teach it, so she is completely replaceable. She is in the middle of a Masters, but can’t seem to get it done. It has been a number of years now, with no end in sight. The racism doesn’t seem to be enough motivation to get it done. Poor thing…
Luckily, she has come up with a solution to deal with her racism and laziness. She has decided that she is going to have a second baby. If she can get herself knocked up, then she will be able to argue that she cannot take on the extra burden of dealing with the hateful, goddamn foreigners. She’ll never have to talk to us again, but she can still make money off our language! And!?! She won’t have to finish her Masters degree!!! Being a Chinese mother is a good deal – if you like that kind of biological slavery, that is. Every Chinese woman has one to two grandparents living with her who do all the cooking and cleaning and childcare. The father/husband does nothing, of course. Like in all countries of the world. But the Chinese wife who works outside the home seldom has to do much beyond playing with the kid and some light household duties. If the old folks get sick, that is another story. But as Chinese women tend to breed young, the grandparents tend not to be that old or sick when they move in and take on household duties, thereby lightening the load. Unfortunately, it is usually the mother-in-law that moves in (rather than the woman’s own mother), and more often than not, she tends to be a nagging and nasty abusive piece of work, thanks to Patriarchy and how it fosters hatred between women.
So, after this woman told me about her awesome racist and lazy motivations for having another baby that the world can’t support, she remembered to quote the standard mantra, like a good brainwashed woman: “Oh, and of course, I love children.” Yeah. Sure you do…
I’m betting money that she’ll be knocked up by the time I return to teach in the new semester and she’ll never speak to me again because it won’t be part of her job. ‘Foreign friend’ my ass…
I truly dislike this culture. Years of racism and misogyny and the isolation I’ve had to endure in this country has changed me for the worse. After so many years here, I am not sure if I could reverse the damage to my psyche, but at this point, I’m used to it, I live with it, and I don’t lie anymore about the fact that I’m only here for employment. I’m not interested in travelling in China and I know enough about the culture to know there isn’t much I like about it. I can separate individuals from the culture at large, and I do have a few friends here who are good people, but generally speaking, the culture fosters things I don’t value in humans. It’s cold and brutal, and people have no shame or hesitation about passing it on. They take abuse if it comes from those deemed superior, and they have no qualms about dishing out abuse or disregarding humanity or human rights if they feel they are superior. I don’t function this way – it goes against my nature and my logic – but I have no choice about being included in the mess if I want to stay employed. I certainly know exactly where I sit in the Chinese hierarchy…
Posted on July 3, 2016, in Anti-Feminism, Feminism, Human Rights and tagged brainwashing, China, culture, misogyny, oppression, pregnancy, racism. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Racism and Laziness: Excellent Reasons to Breed.