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Karate Kid

Meng Lelan

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Sorry to jump in after an even longer time, but having just seen the film (this year I mean), I had to see what the verdict on the forums was. 


I think it's funny that I'm more sceptical than some people who were old enough to enjoy the original in the cinema. For what it's worth it's an OK Sunday evening film - when there's nothing better on. I don't think Jackie Chan was anything special in the film, especially as he had only one fight scene anyway. Jayden Smith was actually pretty good for a young actor. His leading "lady" also did very well considering it's not her native language. 


Now to cut to the heart of the matter. No, the kiss, while kind of long, was perfectly innocent. Nothing wrong there. Yes, the dancing went too far, However, I think the race angle has been given very short shrift here. I don't dispute the fact that age is probably the main issue, nevertheless race is definitely part of it, if only obliquely. Now, hats off to all you folks happily married to Chinese women, I'm going to assume you're white so please correct me if I'm wrong, but that's actually very important. Race is often obscured in China, especially regarding white people because “外国人”(foreigner) has taken the place of the much more explicitly racial "白人” (white person) in everyday language. Just think about how often you'll hear stereotypes about foreigners, good and bad, now replace that with "white person" and you'll see what I mean. If you're black (黑人) you don't have this confusion and the stereotypes will appear very clearly racial, as indeed they are.


Now, to this particular combination, Black male/Chinese female, you'll find that there's a strong aversion which is closely linked to the general understanding of Black people in the popular Chinese imagination. To put it nicely, not boyfriend material. To use their own words, violent, dangerous, irresponsible, what have you. For many people in China there's a big difference between White/Chinese relationships and Black/Chinese one's. I'm not saying they don't happen, nor am I accusing all Chinese people of being horribly racist (this word is often taken as a vile insult whereas I think it's perfectly fair assessment of the vast majority of humanity, regardless of colour). Remember Lou Jing? And there's also a Black guy in Shanghai in an interracial relationship who vlogs about this topic a lot. It's quite a different situation for darker skinned people (that fact alone doesn't help, the kids need to be 白). There is a not insignificant group of people in China who would have objected to this kiss based on race as much as age. I like to think of this kind of relationship in terms of a joke I heard about coming out to ones religious parents as an atheist (probably in America somewhere). It goes something like this: 


I came out to my mum as atheist. She was shocked and disgusted. She said to me,"Atheist? Atheist? You don't have to believe in God, but an atheist?"


Replace "atheist" with "Black” and "don't have to believe in god" with "a white guy, maybe"  and you get the idea. Things are functionally the same but there's a big difference i.e. racism.


To those of you surprised at my take, I know it's been a while, maybe you've seen some things since this thread started, I would simply urge you to do a quick google search and see what the experiences of black people in China are like; and if you have the language skills, look up black people on some Chinese forums or blogs and see what you get. Most of it could be taken right out of America (which it is basically because their biggest source of information on Black people is the racial utopia across the pacific). It's a poor show.

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