A Special Welcome Back – Chinese Style
Unlike in English and other languages spoken in Western countries, there is no word for ‘racist’ or ‘racism’ in Chinese. There is a cobbling together of characters to form the following phrasal options:
种族主义者 – which roughly translates to one who righteously serves as lord and master breeder of one’s race/clan. If you plug it into a translator, you get ‘racist’ on the English end. But it is not clear for me whether this has a negative connotation if used to describe someone. Whereas ‘racist’ in Western languages has nothing other than a direct, negative meaning, in Chinese, I would strongly suspect that it doesn’t. Race supremacy is strong in China. It is something to be proud of. They do not like mixing the gene pool, but they often barely tolerate physical proximity to non-Chinese (unless they are sexually assaulting a white female) or mixing outside their cultural circles when they emigrate.
民族主义 – not a single word, but a phrase that refers to the first important principle of the thinking of Dr. Sun Yat Sen (the father of modern communist China). It is kind of like nationalism, but it also can be roughly translated as something like racism – an equation which makes sense in a monoracial, monoculture or country as race and culture are kind of inseparable. Nationalism can exist in multiracial countries, but it isn’t so much race as culture that is being used as the prejudicial segregation or exclusionary criterion.
The lack of a single word to designate ‘racist’ as a negative term also makes sense to me having lived in China for the better part of a decade and learning early on that there isn’t a single shameful or monstrous behaviour or event in Chinese history for which they take responsibility or over which they feel shame/guilt. Seriously, over the years, I’ve had numerous conversations with people of all ages and parts of the country, and there is no shame or guilt for anything. Depravity is swept under the carpet and not talked about, or there is fierce denial. I was once ganged up on by a group of educated Chinese who mansplained and Chinasplained to me that a) the racist-sexist violence I have experienced never happened, and that b) Chinese people aren’t racist – they are shy and curious. Um, yeah…
There is one major exception to the feeling of shame and guilt – it is that which is present in most young people thanks to their parents and that is a crucial part of the brainwashing into the version of mandatory heterosexuality and breeding that you see here today. It is standard procedure to make sure one’s children know that they are a huge burden on their parents. Most young people are wracked with tear-producing guilt (seriously!) about their very existence and know full well that the pound of flesh will be taken when they are older. But that is it. Individuals may have their own specific neuroses, but as a culture, the Chinese have clean hands and consciences. Conversely, though, they are the most impressive faux-victims I’ve ever met (except for men from any and all cultures and ages). In all of the disputes they have with a whole pile of countries, they are the victims. Righto.
It’s mind-boggling to me as a Canadian, to be honest. I’ve had Western shame hammered into me all my life for things I haven’t done, that didn’t happen in my lifetime, that didn’t happen in my country or by my compatriots, and that men from eras past have initiated, maintained, and forced women to participate in via hetero slavery. There is also the shame all women are brainwashed to feel from birth about being female, guilt for being female and having needs, and that lady-shame-and-guilt can often co-mingle with the general Western shame to produce a paralyzing, messy mindfuck of a state. Shame and guilt, for me, are truly second nature and have actually become so psychologically crippling that I’m finally trying to deprogram myself. It’s quite fascinating once you start examining brainwashing mechanisms and how they have turned you into a person who has learned how to negate true, personal victimization experiences because you have been told over and over that everyone absolutely has it worse than you, apparently, and it is your fault somehow, and this manages to diminish your pain and injuries and serious tragedies. It also turns you into a woman who feels she deserves nothing good in life because everything is your fault, and you end up sabotaging opportunities as a way of punishing yourself. Your life ends up being a lot worse than those of so many of the people that supposedly have it worse than you. So, my point is to meet people who don’t have shame and guilt beaten into them for things that have nothing to do with them (and often even for things they are directly responsible for) is truly bizarre.
So, the last two months have been incredibly busy and risky and expensive as I am actively on the look out for somewhere to move and work next year. Somewhere that is not China, and not Asia. I visited four countries to talk to immigrants and local people, find out about job markets, and just get a general ‘vibe’ of the places. It might sound unscientific, but my gut and inbuilt vibe-detector seldom steer me wrong. I can sense, underlying societal misery, nastiness, violence or aggression, happiness, carefreeness, community, civility, etc, etc, usually within a day of being in a place – sometimes within moments. And it is not often that my first impression of a place changes with more experience. Occasionally, there are surprises, but not usually. But I won’t get into that so much here. There really is much more to write about, and some of it will make it into posts. I want to mull on the fact that AGAIN I was assaulted by a Muslim Arab male – luckily, not a rape or an attempted murder like my other experiences (although I could have easily been maimed or killed through his actions – and all of this while his lady-slave looked on apathetically) , but it was still aggressive, racist, sexist, and shit-scary. And I want to talk about it because of course, we are not allowed to talk about Muslim racist-sexist terrorism against white women. We have a serious problem, and nobody wants to address it, name it correctly, and do something about it.
As well, during my time away, I met a few, although not quite enough sadly, excellent people who were thought-provoking. But, it was a hard journey all in all, and although I was dreading to return to China, I actually felt ready to get back to my regular job and have started trying to line up some possible part-time job interviews so I can earn slightly more money, scrimp and save, and get the hell out of here for good.
I got back and what was waiting for me? Well, the brutally hot weather first and foremost. Then there was the aggressive, and sometimes violent, over-crowding conditions on public transit that you only really see in overpopulated places like China or India. But what was it I missed the most?
And I wasn’t disappointed. I got back to my campus where I live. It was 37°C (about 99F), and I was dressed for about 20°C (about 68F). I was exhausted and carrying some moderate-weight gear. I’ve lived at this campus for over 4 years. I am the only white female there. I stand out and not in a good way. I experience a lot of racism every time I step out of my apartment. Neighbours still cringe against the wall if they have to pass me in the stairwell. I cannot go out in anonymity. Ever. So when I got to the gate beside the staff accommodation, all I could think about was stripping down, dumping the gear and guzzling cold water. But no. The guard at the gate wouldn’t let me in. Demanding to know who I was. Yelling. Now, notice that I am a resident there. Frequently, people who DON’T live there enter and walk around our campus, never checked or turned away. Delivery dudes on motorcycles sometimes have to sign in. But generally, if you are Chinese, you are free to do as you please. And none of these Chinese was accosted today either. But I am not Chinese. Not human. I was treated like a criminal instead of a university lecturer, which, although seriously underpaid, still demands some respect in this country.
I ignored that racist fucker – mostly because I was too hot, tired and overburdened to defend myself in the step-and-fetch / dancing monkey way that all Western people are expected to adopt in order to keep the mood light and let the Chinese know they are in charge and can continue to feel superior. I also wasn’t in any mood or state to consider that he could physically attack me and no one would defend me. I just kept moving, and I think it was the fact that he was just not used to that kind of defiance and didn’t know what to do that I got away and headed quickly to my residence without looking back. I don’t know what I’ll have to deal with tomorrow as I go out and come back from a small shopping trip to the market. He might be more prepared to deal with the ‘white devil’ (racial slur used here). I really don’t want to have to deal with violence.