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Spring Gala, Race, and Cultural Brain Washing

During the recent spring gala on CCTV1, one episode portraying friendship between China and Africa caused some backlashes mostly from liberals and America educated Chinese students on whether China was insensitive or was racism. To me it’s instructive that actually it shows the U.S. centric view on culture and the brain washing or propaganda that most are unaware.
To be abhorrent of blackface argument one must know its history rather than accept it without understanding and then condemn it. In U.S., especially South, mixing of blacks and whites in social settings were discouraged if not unlawful until late 1950s. There were separate bathrooms for different races, blacks have to move to the rear of buses in public transportations. Vaudeville shows using black faces to portrait black characters to avoid hiring real black actors. So use of black faces in movies, especially better paying roles by whites were normal. Othello were played by white actors in the movies until 1995. Paul Robeson was the only exception playing Othello in theatres before 1960. This is why black face is a symbol of discrimination in U.S.. It was different in Europe where black singers and actors perform with acclaim. In Africa, white men playing black doesn’t exist and certainly is a cause for laughter than insult.
Of course some Chinese in U.S. being under constant cultural brain washing also inherit the same narrative of viewing blacks as lower class. preferring white as a standard of beauty, social class, and intelligence. As for China herself, the preference of whiter skin has everything to do with class. Those working in the field under the sun have darker skins than those indoor or under parasols.
China as Xi stated want to contribute to a better world and help African countries to be developed by building up their infrastructures. West can only seen from their own perspective that everything has to do with profit motive, so China must has ulterior motive. As anyone who knows “Journey to the West”, that monkey king is a positive character and not like in West a derogatory term of subhuman. Furthermore it was revealed it was played by a Chinese actor. As for the black woman she need to be fluent in Mandarin to convey the meaning of the skit. It certainly would be more racism to be portrayed by someone who is black speaking in halting Chinese.
It’s unfortunate those liberals brainwashed in U.S., and taking offense in anything Chinese government trying to do, whether aiding Africa, eliminating poverty at home, or fighting corruption from their lens of so called phony human rights.

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  1. alanking
    March 3rd, 2018 at 22:16 | #1

    If there is anything even more powerful or successful then the US military, it is the US media, aka MSM. The US media is recognized as the beacon of free press, and hels at high esteem by almost the whole world. But fact is it has been the best Propaganda machine in history. The best propaganda is one where hardly anyone recognize it as propaganda, well thats what the msm has turned into over the past 30 years or so. Even when people realize their news souce is providing bad or fake news ( ex Saddam has WMDs etc) people continue to treat it as dependable source of information! I find it funny, or perhaps illogical, to find people basically have this strange belief with the western msm – a Serbian will complain about bias in us news on Serbians, a Russian wwpuld complain it is bias and full of fake news on Russia, a Chinese would then say its full of prejudice on China news, an iranian will say its full of BS about Iran, and so on, and yet, almost all of them would then go believe everything else from the same sources about other countries! Its totally bizarre. I mean if you found a weatherman to be totally unreliable about weather in ypur area, why would you then go ahead and trust the same weatherman for weather elsewhere! But thats exactly how people treat the msm!

  2. N.M.Cheung
    March 4th, 2018 at 19:57 | #2

    @alanking
    There were about 330,00 Chinese students in U.S. during 2015/2016, most of them supported by their family costing over $40,000/yr. I would guess growing up in China in a hot greenhouse environment they can easily fall under the propaganda, drugs, pornography, and Western liberal values. The recent graduation speech of University of Maryland student can attest to that, so are some of the tragic stories of suicides and murders. I do not mind the censorship practiced in China, but I do wish she would expose the younger generation to some of the vaccines for viruses to generate some immunity against them. When I was in China in the 50s in the middle school I already knew plenty of Chinese history. Knowing the history of Opium Wars and their effect on Chinese forever immunize me against drug or even smoking.

  3. July 1st, 2018 at 09:23 | #3

    Yes, “blackface” has no history in Asia, so to condemn it was foolish. However, that does not excuse that shocking gala show from racism: the same cultural tropes once employed by the whites and the missionaries were in full display. The Chinese pretending to be saviours of the Africans, or the Africans wanting to be Chinese-embraced: a very typical colonising and imperialist mentality. But that was not something new: one could see China’s so-called “minorities” themselves being treated in the same way earlier, as happens in all the gala shows. If racism were not so deeply embedded in the mentality of many of today’s Han Chinese, a starkly racist film like “Wolf Warrior 2” would not have been a big hit. The blog post writer may be blind of course to the racism, as the writer themselves is subsumed by it, as I already point out on my blog. It is the usual habit to depict any criticism of CCP-run China as “brainwash” … why not wear the shoe otherwise, and also start to see all praise of CCP-run China as “brainwash”?

  4. N.M.Cheung
    July 1st, 2018 at 11:31 | #4

    Do you understand the definition of racism? Racism is discrimination based on race like white supremacy. You may have been brain washed by hostility to China. The skit in the gala deals with an African elder female thanking Chinese for building the railroad which made her life and fellow Africans easier. Do you think this is Trump type of fake news? As for treatment of minorities quite a number of Han Chinese would disagree with you, they think it’s affirmative action and reverse discrimination. As for “Wolf Warrior 2”, it’s sort of Chinese Rambo type of movie which I have not see, and the villain is suppose to be some white man and war lord. The main audience of the gala is for Chinese internal consumption. I have no problem on criticism of China or CCP, but it should be based on fact, not fiction.

  5. July 1st, 2018 at 12:24 | #5

    @N.M.Cheung
    Yes, haven’t I understood it well enough then, in your own words? If the African woman, so stereotypically portrayed, complete with a set of attendant African animals, didn’t you see the Han supremacy? Maybe you didn’t: after all, the attendant pandas were missing. I have nowhere indicated any hostility to China: if you read my blog, I in fact speak very highly of Chinese heritage and culture. Many lands, which suffered from colonialism or from invasions, carry today elements of racism. Today’s Chinese society is but an example in that series: the adoration of Western brands among Chinese youth, as well as the gala show’s attitudes towards Africa are but two of the examples. And you should see “Wolf Warrior 2” to argue further: it is not about who is the villain, but it is about how Chinese portray themselves as the world saviours, just what till now a racist Hollywood used to show. China has merely picked up what Hollywood has been doing since decades: isn’t imitation of the West the real homage of China to the West, that they do accept Western superiority? The humiliations of previous history survives thus in today’s bullying and being bullied.

  6. N.M.Cheung
    July 1st, 2018 at 20:29 | #6

    Actually I do not know your blog. If you will email me to Xeroid47@yahoo.com of your blog then we can discuss in more detail and I can understand where do you come from. Let me explain my point. You were offended by the skit as racism personified. True the skit is somewhat saccharine in portraying Chinese aid to Africa. I must ask you to stay with the facts. Did China has any colony in Africa? Did the railroad help Kenya’s economy or hinder her? The skit’s audience is Chinese people in explaining the friendship. China is neither a savior nor an invader. Sure China embraces some aspects of Capitalism and what you cite of youth’s worship of Western values are some of the negatives which China is dealing by isolating internet from the West. “Wolf Warrior 2 is made by private company in China and by no means reflect official Chinese government. In what way is China bullying Africa? Please stay with actual facts instead of general charge of bullying in which I cannot respond.

  7. July 3rd, 2018 at 08:53 | #7

    Sorry, couldn’t reply earlier as some urgent things came up. Friendship is on equal terms, isn’t it? At the most, it can be called China’s patronising of Africa: I don’t see what friendship is implied. I mentioned a “colonising mentality”, not that Africa is already a colony of China. When one country portrays itself as the saviour of another country, in my books, that is a “colonising” mentality. If China invests in Kenya, it is because of two reasons: (1) Chinese companies, many of which are state-owned, need newer markets; (2) China wants to expand its geopolitical influence. It is not some largesse for the Kenyans: China is not concerned with Kenya otherwise, it is not running a charitable funding organisation. All aid, loans, or grants are political in nature (and that applies to any country): so if anyone is saying, oh see what a good job we’re doing, those people are looking up to us, that’s quite a lot of varnish. That is why the gala skit was such a brainwash and so much insincere. It is like what the missionaries used to tell back home, that we are civilising the savages. Remember those so-called savages included the Chinese too. Why is China doing the same what the West did to China and other parts of Asia? That’s painful for me. China today is quite powerful: it should use this power to recast the world in a better mould than what the West did. I am pained at the direction that modern China seems to be taking, not hostile to it. I do not want China to become another Britain or France or USA, another big bully. If you click on my name, you will reach my blog. But thanks for sharing your email: I will write to you soon.

  8. pug_ster
    July 3rd, 2018 at 16:59 | #8

    @KRam

    Western form of colonization in Africa, is taking over their lands, installing their own to run the country, taking away slaves, sending arms there to kill each other. Chinese form of ‘colonization’ is building roads and hospitals, improving people lives, eradicating diseases, and etc… I’m sure that many Africans like Chinese form of ‘colonization’ compared to the western model.

  9. N.M.Cheung
    July 3rd, 2018 at 18:09 | #9

    @KRam
    That’s a totally cynical view of it. China has always proclaim it’s a win-win relation, beneficial for both side, neither exploitative nor totally selfless, as it should be. For a nation giving aid to others cannot be anonymous as you prefer, which West will portray as underhanded or subversive with ulterior motive. An individual can donate to a cause anonymously. A nation cannot but be transparent. When Ebola virus broke out in West Africa, U.S. and China both sent medical teams. We in West read about the U.S. contribution to the fight from media such as NY Times, and China cannot tell her people what they did? If they portray the heroic deeds of the medical personnel risking death and praise them you would consider that as big bully?

  10. July 4th, 2018 at 09:51 | #10

    @pug_ster : well, the West also built roads and bridges, eradicated diseases, etc., in many parts of the world. That is exactly how they glorify their imperialism! They call it “bringing civilisation”: so you do admit that China is also “bringing civilisation” to Africa? @N.M.Cheung : Did I say that the West does not glorify itself? I don’t see why your argument to say that China is doing everything fine is that the West also does it. So? If Person A is a robber, that’s no argument for Person B to also become a robber.

  11. July 4th, 2018 at 09:57 | #11

    @N.M.Cheung : If tomorrow some African country (or let’s say U.S.) were to send medical aid and personnel to China in a disaster, would you consider it a dignified portrayal of Chinese people if that African country’s (or U.S.) TV show portrays some African (or American) person putting on made-up squint eyes, trying to walk crouched, putting on the complexion, then walking around with pandas, pangolins and yaks, and wanting to be African or American? The gala show is under discussion for how China portrays other people, in this case Africans (I say China, because CCTV is state-run),

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