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pazu

Apology to Mike.

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pazu

This post is a reply to http://www.chinese-forums.com/viewtopic.php?p=22810&highlight=pazu#22810 which was locked, so I better open a new thread here to reply. This is not a discussion about "Speaking and Listening" but because it's an a reply to what happened in a thread here, I think it may be appropriate for me to keep this post in this board too.

I almost forgot that discussion but I've just read some old posts again, thanks Weixiaoma for giving me more detail of Mike, and I want to give my sincere apology for Mike, it may actually be appropriate for me to delete some of my posts in this thread but I decided to keep the words here, just keep the "evidence"... If this forum was banned in Mike's personal computer, maybe Weixiaoma weren't, so would you please tell Mike that I think I have made a terrible mistake, and sorry.

I was just angry when he came to my website and criticized me of being racist, he's really the only person who said I was racist so far, and this is unacceptable, or less unacceptable if I knew that he was a 9-year-old boy so that I wouldn't take his comments serious. What I said about the tatto thing was just meant to be sarcastic, it's backfired though. :( I would definitely not say something like this to any young kids like Mike.

But there're something that I want to remind Weixiaoma, my email address are not publicized, Mike actually signed my guestbook, I stated very clearly at the front-page of my website that: "My email address is no longer publicly available, please contact me through guestbook. Add [private] to the message if you want it read by my eyes only."

He didn't.

However, I still think that Mike should have a better understanding of the meaning of racism, maybe Weixiaoma can give me a better understanding of it. Or maybe it was actually you who gave him a distorted definition of racism? You can't compare English in America and Chinese in China, this adds to more confusion and illusion to your definition of racism. American expected people to speak in English in American, many also expect people to speak English around the world. I was in a train in Danmark and there was a sudden annoucement in Danish only, an American college student did ask, "why didn't they have it in English?" So in an American McDonald's if the staff speak to you in a language other than English, what they have in mind were probably very different to the Vietnamese receptionist who kept talking to me in English, even if I can already request them to clean the hairs out of the drain pipe in the toilet, in Vietnamese.

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xuechengfeng

Now that I think about it, it is somewhat racist. I couldn't imagine what would happen in America if a black man walked up to a McDonald's counter and they started to speak Swahili.

Or maybe it's not racist, and America is just way too touchy with race relations.

Or maybe I shouldn't beat this topic to death, any more than it has been. 8)

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roddy
Now that I think about it, it is somewhat racist. I couldn't imagine what would happen in America if a black man walked up to a McDonald's counter and they started to speak Swahili.

They'd have to find Swahili-speaking folk to work in McD's first.

This has been done to death. I'll move it into . . . oh, somewhere, but not Speaking and Listening.

Pazu, I don't think you have anything to apologise for, and if I was going to let my nine-year old son (I don't have one, by the way, but if I did. Apologies to friends and family who may be reading this and thought 'MY GOD! Roddy's got a nine year old son he didn't tell me about) communicate with people on the internet, I'd make sure he prefaced everything with 'I am nine years old' to make sure he got an appropriate response.

Roddy

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xuechengfeng

Actually, maybe I should have said Somali because Columbus has I believe the 1st or 2nd most # of Somali's in America, and basically it's not McDonald's anymore, it's McAbdulRahimSomali.

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weixiaoma

Hi, there. I feel a lot better knowing you were just upset then and didn't mean all of the stuff about the tatoo. I should appologize too, for getting so upset... I'm just protective of my 小朋友.

Actually, I'm not teaching him anymore. Now I'm working at a different place. I don't really know how he sent you a message, either. All I know is his mom said he found your web page, and was able to send from there. I will try to let them know, if I can get in touch though!

I am not responsible for his idea of what racism is. His text, like most politically liberal ones, considers talking to racial minorities in a foreign langauge to be racial discrimination. I agree with that. As I posted in other places, racism is not always overtly hostile. Perhaps, the problem here is language. Due to the comparative openness of English speaking countries, the meaning of 'racism' is more inclusive than "種族歧視". In my mind, Mike and his 4 other foreign-looking classmates do face a lot of racism. I'm curious, though. Aren't you from HK? Isn't HK more diverse than Taiwan? It seems like there, there would be even more kids like Mike who look foreign, but are actually natives and speak much more Chinese (Cantonese in this case) than English. Haven't you bumped into this kind of situation there?

This is from one of my previous posts:

*******************************************************

***************************************

The definition of discrimination is

Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice: racial discrimination; discrimination against foreigners.

If you disagree, check out http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=discrimination

Using a different language to white or black people is certainly treatment based upon race, rather than merit. That is exactly what racial discrimination is. I knew many people from HK and China would be unhappy to hear this, just as this concept was NOT popular in the US 45 years ago.

The truth is racial discrimination CAN save time. I understand that the lady in the hotel probably decided that based upon the small number of Chinese speaking whites who come to her hotel, it wasn't worth it to treat everyone the same. In the same light, someone at a Mcdonalds in my hometown in the US could speak spanish to hispanic looking people and be likely to save more time than if they tried to speak English first. But the employees won't do that. The reason is that for that OCASSIONAL guy who looks totally mexican, but grew up there, it would make his life terrible to always be treated like an outsider and spoken to in a foreign language. It's always the minorities that get hurt by stereotypes.

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amperel
like most politically liberal ones, considers talking to racial minorities in a foreign langauge to be racial discrimination

where did you pull that one out of? say, who exactly are those "politically liberal" ones? o i know! you mean like those who are privileged to be born into a free "enlightened" western countries? or those "liberal" white persons who are more "educated" then, say, the poor white trash?... o how the world would be so much better with your "uncluttered" primitive idea of racism! i sure hope you teach your students the blacks and the whites of the world. screw the gray. screw the history. screw the people who struggle before us to enable us to live the way we live. screw the understanding of differences amongst cultures - keep up with the "progress" already! - you know, the progress of the "enlightened" ones - the ones who "understand" although they never experience, or never participate...

... i wonder what a black person would say... yea i know racism is racism according to dictionary blablabla. but do you think the word "racism" manifest itself overnight? crying wolf everytime your pride and feelings being hurt, as i said before, is immature and irresponsible. did you do anything further to understand why they do as they do? have you gotten to know them personally? i have said this before: asia is not america. the history is differene. the culture make-up is different. the people are different - not just ethnically, but the way they are raised, the society they live in, the tradition of inter-personal interaction...

know what is 井底之蛙? it means frog in a well - the sky is only so big to the frog because it only sees what it's able to see. we all are 井底之蛙 in some degrees. the people who "refused" to speak chinese to you are 井底之蛙. i don't know who they are. maybe some of them are really "racist" (according to your dictionary) in intentions. but i bet most of them are just just that - 井底之蛙. what do you do to 井底之蛙? you educate them. you explain to them. 井底之蛙 are guilty of ignorance - yes. but racists are guilty of intolerance and their superiority complex. and you are 井底之蛙 in thinking negative thoughts about your every encounters. you come into a traditionally homogeneous society with your prejudice opinions of a multi-cultural society and try to see everything without any understanding of the indigeneous culture or the people.

now if you want to define everyone according to dictionary - fine. people who discriminated racially are racists - there's no 2-way about it. but do you honestly think that their intentions are malicious? or just insensitive?

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ChouDoufu

Am I the only one that thinks the problem here is you have someone too young to participate constructively on a board? At the very least his posts should be looked at by his parents or a responsible adult before he sends them, someone who can talk to him about it before it causes a minor uproar. At the most there should be an age limit on boards like this...

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roddy

I don't think mike ever posted on here, this was Pazu's guestbook. If there are any 9 year olds on here, let me know and i'll make them admin . . .

Roddy

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pazu

Yes, again I have to emphasize one thing, Mike didn't sign up to be a member of this board, he signed up my public guestbook (no age restrictions indeed) and I transferred the message back to this forum because I think this is the appropriate place for discussion.

Indeed I intended to use this thread to apologize to Mike only, so any discussion about Racism seems to be a bit far-fetched, maybe I should open another thread?

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xuechengfeng

Opening another topic for this racism discussion would be to 打一個死馬。

Ok, that's horrible, how do you really say "beat a dead horse"

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amperel

"beat a dead horse" ~ 鑽 牛 角 尖 ?... not quite, but i guess close enough...

anyway, don't mean to hijack the thread. but apparently the "horse" is kicking and screaming in the grave. if ever mike read this thread - which i doubt he would (and shound't probably) - i want him to know "racism" is serious stuff. teaching "racism" to someone that young and with that kind background as mike has without the big picture is frankly irresponsible. problems don't solve themselves through misunderstandings and negative criticisms.

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yonglan
you come into a traditionally homogeneous society with your prejudice opinions of a multi-cultural society and try to see everything without any understanding of the indigeneous culture or the people.

Are you saying prejudice is ok if that culture is comfortable with it? How can racism have more than one definition? If someone from China, Taiwan, or anywhere expects to come to my country and be treated a certain way, then how do I not have every right to expect the same? Multi-culturalism is not an old concept. We -- having also claimed we were "a traditionally homogeneous society" becuase like China, Taiwan, and Japan we just squashed the rest -- were more than happy to be prejudiced against foreigners in the past, just like Asians are today. It was accepted.

now if you want to define everyone according to dictionary - fine. people who discriminated racially are racists - there's no 2-way about it. but do you honestly think that their intentions are malicious? or just insensitive?

I've lived in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. I find the racism there entirerly malicious. It may be expressed differently, but it is no less malicious. They just don't have laws (or when they do there isn't a hope in enforcing them) to protect other people. They want to keep me out. Visit, spend my money, teach them English, but be one of them? Not allowed.

crying wolf everytime your pride and feelings being hurt, as i said before, is immature and irresponsible. did you do anything further to understand why they do as they do? have you gotten to know them personally? i have said this before: asia is not america. the history is differene. the culture make-up is different. the people are different - not just ethnically, but the way they are raised, the society they live in, the tradition of inter-personal interaction...

Yes, I have gotten to know "them" personally. Surprisingly often I find I am a non-person to them, literally the way I would look at an animal: cute, be nice too it, but it'll never be one of us. I am not willing to let Asians have their own standards of racism. If they want to be treated a certain way in my country, then I expect nothing less in return.

teaching "racism" to someone that young and with that kind background as mike has without the big picture is frankly irresponsible. problems don't solve themselves through misunderstandings and negative criticisms.

And if Mike were in my country and looked more Asian than European, would you say ok, no problem, this is a country of white people and they have the right to treat others less well than themselves? I don't think so.

I just can't accept the double standard where so many Asians come to my country and belly-ache about racism when it is far better here for them than it is for me there. I can't even become a full citizen of, own land in, or start a business in most Asian countries. That's not to mention all the smaller stuff. Obviously, immigration statistics reflect the reality of where people feel comfortable going.

If you ask me am I able to understand from a cultural and historical perspective why this is so. I can *understand* (as in, intellectually I know why this is the case). But it is still wrong.

I should note the following: nowhere is perfect; I am interested in China for a number of reasons; I have met plenty of nice people in Taiwan who have treated me decently.

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geraldc

Westerners in Asia who speak the local language are a tiny minority. The majority of Westerners in Asia, are only there temporarily and have no interest in learning the language.

e.g. US troops in Korea and Okinawa, ex pats in Hong Kong etc.

Westerners in Asia tend to create ex pat enclaves etc, and they do seem to prefer to be treated differently.

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pazu

Yonglan,

No culture should be comfortable with racism, it's a big problem if they do, it's a big problem for many Chinese, I know. But there's a major difference of implications when American speaks a non-English language to those in US, and Chinese talks to Westerners in a non-Chinese language in China.

Somebody mixed them up, and they didn't admit it.

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yonglan

geraldc, my point was why don't Westerners stay in Asia and learn the language? Certainly plenty of the reason is that English has been the international language for 100+ years. But then there are people like me who'd stay there longer if I could buy a little apartment and feel I was being treated right most of the time.

As for the linguistic issue you mention, I think it's fine to speak English to a Westerner when one first encounters them. It is the international language. The problem is when I want to speak the local language and no one wants to let me. This is then exacerbated when there is a significant difference in linguistic ability between the two parties. Of course, as ChouDoufu (I think it was Chou) has suggested, Taipei may be the worst offender in Greater China. I don't know about mainland China. Certainly other parts of Tawian are not so bad as Taipei in that regard.

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amperel

i didn't say racism is ok. i'm saying there's a difference between ignorance and intolerance. and if you don't think looking at the big picture is important - then more power to you. i'm sure bush would agree with you.

i sometimes wonder if this is not just the cause of the differences of personal outlooks. some people can just shrug it off like that. i know there is one american who gave up his american citizenship to become a taiwan citizen. maybe you should ask him how he did it.

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