Sunday, June 24, 2012

Culture Shock 4: Black in China

First things first, I am not the only black person in China. Infact, there are hundred thousands of us from all walks of life. Some of us are students, teachers, professors, ambassadors or a foreign delegate of some sort, business men and women, tourists, entertainers, professional workers and the like. You already know which group I belong to :)

It's difficult for many locals to accept this fact, since nothing comes to their mind when they hear those two words - black people. Who can blame them? I mean media reports on Black people is mostly negative. From AIDS and Corruption in Africa to criminal activities by Black men in North America. And so since they are limited in the amount of information they receive from the outside world, most just sit back and passively take in what their government present them.

                                                 Advertisement poster on the subway train

I like to take photos of black men and women in the media because it shows that not all locals are close minded and it's possible to make it big in the country despite popular believe.

Some popular stereotypes of black people in China
1. The men are drug dealers while the women are prostitutes. Oh, I forgot to mention that some of us (Nigerians) are also drug dealer and prostitutes. Infact, this has made it nearly impossible for Nigerians to get Visas to the country. As a result, many schools and businesses are forced to reject a Nigerian applicant due to visa laws.

2. Every black person is from Africa. Most times I just tell people i'm from Africa, since they won't believe that I can be from another continent. This is a very stupid misconception since many male Chinese absolutely love basketball and they keep up with various teams and games religiously. So although they are aware that Black people are living outside Africa and the president of a White country is even Black, somehow being a Black American still sounds foreign to them.

                                                    Adidas poster on the subway

Ignorance is a disease. On some personal experiences
1. Having many locals asking me how I styled my hair, if my hair is fake and then wanting to touch it.  Now when they ask me such question, I simply relay the question back to them and ask them if their hair is fake and if I can touch it. I mean they don't ask me if my skin color is fake, so i don't see why they are so curious about the structure of my hair strands

2. Looking for teachers from Canada and the U.S, only  WHITES will be considered. Most jobs will ask for teachers to send a picture with their application.. Sometimes I will send a resume without my photo and will then immediately receive an email saying they liked my resume but i need to send a picture before they ca n schedule an interview. After sending it in, I then get no response. Luckily since there are more demand for teachers than there are supply, I eventually get jobs

3. Blacks are clowns or masquerades: it's common for people, particularly men to point, stare and laugh at every black person they see, i'm yet to figure out what they specifically find funny. Some babies on the other hand will cry when they see a black person or sometimes a while person.

NBA stars. Many Chinese LOVE basketball

P.S: not ALL Chinese are ignorant, I have met many who just see me as a human and don't ask me dumb questions as to why I am not so dark or why I am Black but claim to be from Canada.


Lishylikes said...

I really enjoyed this post. wow its so sad how some people are so ignorant to different possibilities outside their own people. i wonder if a Chinese person who travels or moves to a diverse country like the U.S or Canada would be brave or curious enough to question every ethnicity about their biological makeup.

~Adeola~ said...

lol, they probably don't because they are more exposed.

Curl Love said...

Wow! It is so difficult to understand how in this day and age with so much technology and information at our finger tips and people can still be so ingnorant.

kk said...

I had a very interesting read. I'm sure it would have probably taken me years to put the pieces together like you've done on this post. Thanks for sharing.

Katsina, Nigeria

Anonymous said...

I'm an African American man who will be teaching in Yantai, China very soon. I heard similar stories of how some Chinese look at blacks in negative ways. I already prepared myself if I happen to come across the ignorance. I hope all will be well while I am there.

~Adeola~ said...

Yantai sounds like a small city, in which case, people there will probably be more close minded than those in Beijing and other big cities. I wish you all the best during your stay in China. And please use the opportunity to educate the locals about the world out there they are so curious about. Thanks for your comment

Anonymous said...

What? Afrika means to them Corruption and ...
They should stop robbing the mineral ressources in Afrika and leave our mahagony forest in peace.

Anonymous said...

And again how about their slunted eyes? They must be so slunted that they cannot see how slunted they are!