The Race card II: What did you just say?

People are tired of race conversations; damn, I’m tired of race conversations, but I’m only tired because people take every little thing so seriously.

Some racial/racist things should really be laughed at. It’s only things were people are unfairly reaping benefits or causing harm that it should be taken seriously; other than that who really gives a fuck

“Did you die?”

If you didn’t, why does it matter; let that person be stupid. I really find humor in every racial stereotype that I can find, at most times I blatantly make the stereotype apparent and let us converse around it.

Mlondi my friend told me he got into a conversation were Chinese asked him why he was black, which he replied why do you guys have small eyes like this (imitating the eyes).

If you’re still going to cry like a little bitch when racial things/stereotypes/ non lethal/threatening offenses happen that concern race, then my friend there is a long road ahead.

This read will take quite long, get chips/nachos/tea/wine or whatever you freaking eat/drink in your place of comfort.

The least Racist person in the room.

Last month I drafted a writing that talked about race, I didn’t publish it; I thought it wasn’t a little immature, focused too much on self rather than looking at the bigger picture; However elements from that writing do appear in this, because I am looking at ‘Race’ in a sense. Conversations about race are always complicated aren’t there? More importantly lately racism. Who’s more racist? I think everyone is actually a little racist; either direct or indirect, if you can’t admit that then ‘my friend’ you need help.

As pre other writings I like making myself and my experiences as examples, this writing will be no different.

There has never been a time were I fail to mention the first person I ever had sex with was Indian.

Uhmm that’s a little bit racist right? Yeah kinda

What had triggered this writing? Well after vicariously experiencing a little ‘racism’ I began asking myself, friends and colleagues some questions; Perhaps the main question being: Should I be offended by every racist thing that happens?

Using a word I clearly did not know as a racial slur for a black person, someone next to me was insulted. I of course did not pick it up; because I wasn’t familiar with the word. I was a little bit confused so I then went to ask this question to everyone in my contact by phrasing it as follows.

Should as an African black person I be offended by the word Nigga?

The answer is as Chris Rock once said “not really”. I left the answer to the public and I got different answers some expected, others surprising.

  1. I can’t relate to the nigga word cause I or my parents or my ancestors never got to be called that or disrespected like that.

For me as an African, kaffir is what would make me livid.

Kaffir is a racist term used in the Southern Parts of Africa to offend the black person. Unlike like nigga it’s really hard to take ownership of the word, and use to it to greet fellow black brothers and sisters, it somehow still holds sensitivity towards others.

Please read What’s up my Kaffirs, I wrote it a. long time ago. It will shed some light.

  1. Every black person must be offended by the word. Racism anywhere in any form must offend us!

As a writer, my issue with the word nigga is that it has become an embodiment for the black racial slur… it’s the N-word; but honestly in context I don’t really relate to it. The word is famous because it’s American.

  1. JC intent Also matters .(why did a person use a word ?) I am questioning in a non-English speaking country, the person might not know the connotation attached to the word ?I don’t know. You could swear at someone unintentionally in Mandarin I imagine ??

Intention behind the use of the word. As stated the word Nigga has been reformed in a sense by Black Americans, they have taken ownership of the word thus in a sense making it null void.

The problem again comes back to the fact that for other words, ownership might have not yet been taken, the use of that word opens up wounds; this is not to say nigga doesn’t open wounds, it does according to who uses it and in what manner.

We are all technically a little bit racist, and I think it’s okay to be a little bit racist; it’s the overachievers of racism that make the world an ill place to live in.

Does it not count as a little bit racist to be excited that you slept with someone outside your own race, it doesn’t matter if the feelings are real or not, that little excitement is kinda of racist.

I’ve heard people saying it’s racist for white people to say ‘I’m not racist, I got black friends’, yeah it’s kinda racist but black people use that line too, so why is it not considered racist?

This all comes back to the question of who’s more racist than the other or a question I posed “Can black people be racist?”

Uhmmm yeah of course, depending on the situation black people are hella racist. I have come to realize however that in their own space/country/community people really do tend to be racist/indifferent.

In your own country you feel a sense of belonging and ownership, so of course you tend to act indifferent to anyone who is not from there; So ultimately that is what creates this racist ideology.

I don’t have all the answers though, I just have questions.

If you have something to add, feel free to add, I like having these conversations as long as we find humour in them.

Adventures of a Black Chinese: ACT I

The world is a strange place, it sells us these ideas about places and people that we believe it without making an attempt to experience such ideas ourselves. I have been to China, Shanghai not for that long but I have been here long enough to see the many differences it has compared to what home (South Africa) is like. I’ll be honest and say it’s not necessarily all good but it’ is what it is.

However, before I even begin to share my experience so far, I have to out and say this one; it was obvious and clearly stated by Jackie Chan in the film The Tuxedo when he says “Not Every Chinese is Bruce Lee” that is about as true as it gets. It’s not that I expected to see a group of Chinese people every morning by the pond doing Tai Chi or multiple schools of Kung Fu doing training… okay…maybe just a little bit… just a bit; Especially that Tai Chi part, I was going to join, I brought my wear and everything, now I’m stuck doing it in my room by myself.

Anyhow where shall I start?

  1. A sense of community

I want to start with this because it interests me probably the most, especially because it has so many layers in it. You know that quote ‘everyone in China is Chinese, and everyone else in the world is racist?’ Yeah there is a quote like that and it’s true. I am not saying Chinese people are not racist but we’ll get to that later.

“Everyone in China is Chinese” I mean don’t take the statement literal, it’s more profound than that. I want you to think of a strike, yes, a protest! Let me make an example ‘Fees must fall/Black lives matter” imagine it in your head!! Just imagine it! When I get to point 2, we will come back to deconstruct that imagination. This is what Andrew Stanton calls “Making a great promise to the reader” a promise that if you continue listening and/or reading my story it will be worth your while.

First thing I realised is that there are no individual houses? Perhaps I live in a city (Shanghai), I don’t know? But you know how everyone has a house at Home, that yeah, I own a house? There are no houses here, I have only seen apartments! Everyone lives in a complex! Yes, think of Res with more spacious conditions of course; that’s a Chinese home.

I am sure there are places were this is different, I don’t know but for now my experience is that, people living together. I cannot imagine this being a possibility back home. Everyone is always complaining and comparing something, ‘who has what and who doesn’t! it would never work really. People that drink would argue too much with those that don’t, religious people with those that like adulting (Because we all know religious people love acting like they don’t have sex!); it would be chaos really.

You can see how this sense of community filters everywhere, and in everything. I see people driving in the street on scooters/motorcycles while having a conversation with each other. Can you imagine that? Back home it’s like people are always in a hurry that conversations are things only done on holidays and even then, it’s just horrible.

  • Carefree living

I think this point filters in under community. I get why Chinese/Asians are labelled and stereotyped under “Bad drivers” I don’t think it’s bad driving really, it’s a form of culture they are use to. Here in China streets lights are a ‘guide’ system rather than authoritative one. If there is an opportunity for you to drive while the light is red you drive.

It sounds dangerous but it’s simple. I sometimes even see cars driving the opposite directions of where there are suppose to be going and instead of hooting and yelling, the other driver just drives on the other side; no care in the world.

As Cheng would say “Did you die?” meaning yes, I am driving the wrong way but “Did you die?” if you didn’t die then why are you angry!!?? Please don’t try this at home (WWE)

This carefree living has created a sense of ease within the people. This had led me to conclude there’s no crime or violence in China! Which is awful right? I was really hoping to see a guy stop one guy to fight & telling him ‘He killed his father 10 years ago’ but no such thing. Why am I saying there’s no crime?

I haven’t seen anyone being disciplined by the police, okay, I have seen one black South African guy. Can you imagine? This brother comes all the way from home to cause a ruckus in China? I couldn’t believe it. I have seen police but no one being jailed? No drugs being sold in the streets? Maybe I am living in the safer parts of China?

An important point is there are things everywhere that could be stolen!!

The bicycle system in China is amazing!! I definitely know it would never work in many countries including South Africa because that many bicycles just sitting in the streets are waiting to be stolen. Literally there are bicycles in every corner.

Secondly, mail is left in the streets by the gates? What? Yes! Packages of mail are left just outside the gate, if you know you got a post coming you can just walk outside your apartment and take your package which no one stole IN THE STREETS. Can you imagine that? There could be money in there!!! But you don’t take what doesn’t belong to you. The TRUST

I once saw a see-through bag pack. I instantly thought it’s Asian, because only in Asia would one have the balls to let people see what they had in their bag pack. You do that shit back at home, by the time you reach a corner, you would be either stabbed, beaten up or worse killed. We’re not that bad, just that at home (South Africa) everyone only thinks for themselves. There was a point/time when black people had this community culture but it was utterly desecrated/destroyed by the British Empire, now it’s survival of the fittest.

  1. Integration

I was telling my friends and acquaintances that I understand why Chinese people look at foreigners the way they do. I can tell you that it’s not “They are here to steal our jobs look” or “Here to take our wives” okay that second one… let’s hold on that one.

The look is of pure amazement; that’s the word I have to describe it for now. I made an argument that imagine for 70/80 years of your life you’ve never seen a black person before and suddenly you bump into one. You’re totally thrown off, some would probably think, this is death right here coming to take me.

Remember when I said in China everyone is Chinese? Well mostly everything in China is in Chinese!  When you open a Chinese TV there’s no other content except Chinese content! Everything! You can imagine trying to press the remote trying to watch your favourite show; well unless it’s Chinese and you can hear Chinese, you’ll find it, other than that. Oopsie Doodles!

Even the internet is in Chinese, if you’re coming to China really do get a VPN. You’ll research that on your own. This for Chinese, probably all Asian countries has worked, okay it has pros and cons, you know like everything else in the world. The cons of course only come because I’m here, if I am not here for them there are no cons. If no foreigner comes to China there are no cons in their no integration policy. Cons only come because as a foreigner you have this wide idea about the world. You have this broad understating that things are so different, cultures, traditions, languages etc. Chinese on one hand, most of them only know of China and they are totally happy/satisfied with that universe.

Let’s go back to that promise I made on top. You were imagining a protest “Blacks lives matter” Question is, now why would Black Lives Matter in China?? but that’s not what I want you to focus on. I want you to understand how even protests can be different. In a country like South Africa because we are so divided, we are not in sync with each other’s needs and values. We have a tendency to put ourselves above others, I am in no way saying that doesn’t happen in China, perhaps it does but more in South Africa and other countries like USA than in China.

When people in China strike there’s a sense that everyone wants the same thing, we are protesting together. We understand the needs of the protesters, we will join them in that protest to get that need. If there’s a protest in South Africa it’s “Oh the blacks are protesting again! What do they want this time?” or “Oh! look at the whites, they have no rhythm, how can you protest without rhythm” or “Well, it’s not our problem, we are fine in our community” it goes on and on.

No one is willing to say “Guys we see the same problem you’re seeing; in fact, we’re experiencing it too. Let’s fight together

It’s Charles Darwin all over again.

So ultimately my thought is that the pros outweigh the cons. I didn’t exclusively write the pros down but if you were reading this blog attentively, you would realise that the pros are in your face. I am in no way saying everyone in the world should be like Asian countries, all I am saying is that some of their ideas do work. To get my country to that stage would probably take decades; how would one even implement such an idea. Well I think I have an idea, but I will try it out and see if it works, for now I have a lot of things to learn in China.

The world is changing, drastically too, even the Chinese see it; if they did not I and many others wouldn’t be here.