Tenwest Mandarin School


Usage of "白左"

herenow (345 posts) • 0

On the now-disabled comment thread for the Ye Yongqing plagiarism article, cloudtrapezer wrote that 白左 is "a term used by the sort of racists who happily throw about words like 黑鬼 etc."

I was surprised to read this and would appreciate it if cloudtrapezer or anyone else would care to elaborate. My impression had been that the term is principally used by mainstream Chinese netizens to reflect their incomprehension of the sort of white Western leftists who, for example, recently accused a high school girl of cultural appropriation for wearing a qi pao to her prom. (Whereas actual Chinese-people-who-live-in-China are of course generally pleased when foreigners wear Chinese garb.) But I could well be wrong.

I am just curious about the usage of the term, as it has intrigued me since I became aware of it. I am not interested in reopening the discussion from the comment thread.

cloudtrapezer (756 posts) • 0

Chinese right wing racists use it as a synonym for western liberals by which they mean white people who aren't racist and don't think of the world in terms of a hierarchy of races. As I said this sort also use ugly terms like 黑鬼阿三 etc。I hope I've made myself clear. As for the cultural appropriation example you mentioned It was a young American overseas Chinese who complained about the qipao.

michael2015 (667 posts) • -1

Chinese people including overseas Chinese generally wear contemporary Western garb and fashion, drive western styled vehicles, computers, mobile phones, etc ad infinitum.

The "cultural appropriation" comment by that kid merely shows a lack of depth and maturity in logical thinking - as hopefully demonstrated by the above counterpoint.

As for the young woman - if one can make a qipao work - glory and praises...enjoy the moment and the memories, take lots of pictures...

the.keebler.elf (6 posts) • +1

Cultural appropriation is when one culture purposely tries to appropriate elements of another culture as their own. Merely wearing, appreciating, displaying cultural elements that are not native to your own is not cultural appropriation.

To eat a hamburger is not cultural appropriation, to say the hamburger originated from Xian's roujiamo and thus is a Chinese dish (as my Chinese neighbor is insisting), is.

JanJal (1050 posts) • 0

In a purely non-Chinese context, cultural appropriation has also been brought up with western music festival goers wearing feathered headdresses generally associated with native american cultures.

But, it's probably that if a specific item or practise includes some symbolic association (other than the practical use) in the original culture, then it renders overal use of that piece as offensive cultural appropriation to some.

For example in native american cultures the headdresses had to be earned, while buying one online just to go partee conflicts with that.

And that conflict is there even without claiming it as part of your own culture.

Qipao probably does not have similar associations. It's just clothing, right?

JanJal (1050 posts) • 0

I'd also extend that above comment to the qipao incident, and suggest that perhaps trying to summon the cultural appropriation argument to an object that bears no greater cultural significance, is an effort trying to create that very significance in first place.

Kind of like appropriating your own culture. Putting a bigger meaning to something that inherently has no such. In Chinese context of developing society getting over and trying to get past various turmoils, that certainly has a place.

Peter99 (1246 posts) • -2

Do you guys think it should be allowed to use the term 白左 at all? Or should it be banned?

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