Tag Archives: racist

(Letter from Joel) How should foreigners feel about being called “鬼子,” “鬼佬,” “老外,” etc.?

I’m on an extended visit back to my hometown, Vancouver, a Canadian city full of Chinese. Chinese is the second-most commonly used language after English. My wife and I were running around a Chinese mall for fun to practice Mandarin and buy some Chinese DVDs when we overheard Chinese people talking about us in Mandarin saying, “Those foreigners are speaking Chinese!” I thought it was funny that even in Canada, Chinese people would call white people “foreigner” (in this case: “外国人”).
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(Letter from Joel) Understanding popular Chinese notions about “racism” (help me out here!)

I have a growing suspicion that the way many Chinese people understand the word “racism” (or “racist”) is quite different from the way I use it. This causes communication problems because I use the term “racism” like most North Americans do, but my Chinese acquaintances react in ways that don’t seem to make sense. Obviously there’s a disconnect. I want to know why my Chinese friends and acquaintances react the way they do to the term “racism”. How are they understanding this word?
Continue reading (Letter from Joel) Understanding popular Chinese notions about “racism” (help me out here!)