Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Black Girl in China

How many of you ever stop and think what life is like for Black people living in China? And I don't mean ex-pats, I mean Afro-Chinese? Say what?!

I will raise my hand and admit, I've never thought about it at all. I think China, I think Chinese people. I don't think of ethnic diversity outside of the range of the Asian experience. Well, here's a story for you about the daughter of a Chinese mother and an African-American father, who has been raised by her mother in China as a Chinese citizen. She's become a bit of a cyber "celebrity" as of late because of all of the online comments being logged about her after she appeared on a televised Chinese beauty contest with her mother.

Apparently the girl is the result of an affair her mother had with a Black American man who left before she was born. Which means, mom cheated on her Chinese husband. All of that information was shared on Chinese television and opened up what appears to be a never-ending stream of comments from Chinese citizens. While many of the comments are vile and degrading, many are supportive of the girl. I'm of course fascinated because it starts a conversation about race in a country assumed to be completely homogenous. Which of course it is not. This girl cannot be the only Afro-Chinese child in existence, right?

If you happen to be Black and living in China, what has your experience been like? Does racism exist in China? If so, what does it look and feel like? Clearly it's not just a Black thing. I don't believe they covered these topics last year during all of the Olympics coverage, although it would have been a perfect time with all of the differently colored folks walking around. Okay, I'm listening.



Lovelyn said...

Interesting story. I studied in Beijing back in 1993. That was a long time. At the time, I experienced horrendous racism there. Some restaurants refused to serve me and I was told on multiple occasions to go back to Africa. It was one of my worst travel experiences. Since I've know other African Americans who have lived in China more recently who have loved it. It think things have opened up there more in the past couple years. I never noticed any black Chinese people though.

I lived in South Korea for 6 years and have known a few black Koreans. There are a few black Korean celebrities there too.

Entropy said...

I read a story once in one of those woman´s magazines which detailed the story of a mixed woman wanting to teach English abroad. The story talked about the racism she encountered in China and Korea. Eventually, She wounded up teaching for a year in Valladolid. I wish I could find the story for you.

entropy, the anonymous with a colombian daughter.

LT said...


Wow! Thanks for sharing. So interesting. Black Korean celebrities? hmmm...

I'd love to find that story too.

Andre Allen Berhan said...

i went to a seminar years ago about ESL teachers, and it was promoted by two Afro-Americans. They said they were treated like celebs in small villages. Ever since then, I've thought about the Blacks in China experience.

This makes me see it in a different light.