User profile: aaronb

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Is Kunming Racist?

I only read your first point and stopped reading after that. If you believe what you wrote, then here is not enough common ground between us to have any real conversation. Not a mere difference of opinion, but a difference of what constitutes a topic, a question, and an an opinion.

For those who might be interested I wrote this, and only this-

New York is not a conglomeration of individuals, it is the name of a place and the name of a government and of institutions with actually existing practices, customs, mores and laws. There has been quite a bit of study highlighting the fact that the amount of people of color who are stopped and frisked in New York is greater than the amount of people of color residing in New york. A far higher higher percentage of adults under 45 (of color) in New york,will be detained, searched or surveilled by the city than whites wiil.

Crucially, this does not match up to higher crime or conviction rates at all. Lacking that correlation, most people call this racism. People of color do not sell or consume drugs at a higher rate, but undergo far more drug related searches.

It doesn't require the individual attitudes of new yorkers to be positively racist. This is how the world works-environments exist, customs exist, groups exist, practices exist. It does not come down to personal attitudes or to individuals.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Do the Chinese of Kunming stare a lot at Laowai?

I have come to the conclusion that most of the people who don't mind or think it is not negative are basically travelers. Mentally or in reality, travelers. They don't expect any kind of integration or acceptance and wouldn't think to settle down, their best friends in this world are not Chinese. If they don't meet any serious problems, that is enough for them. That is all they are expecting, as they feel they are not at "home".

Anyone who thinks laowai is a respectful term is drinking the kool aid, but the point is not in being referred to as laowai, it is in being named it. Having been the "Paki" in various racist situations in the west, having witnessed race riots in the west, and having been surrounded by an angry xenophobic mob in Kunming because a taxi hit my bike, I think of these things as linked, not as contrasting. I have no idea what a wettie is.

Not sure why people are unhappy to see criticized something that they would criticize in many other places, which is people just doing unto others what they wouldn't want done to them-even if without evil intent.

Anyway, people can speak for themselves. I for one have had lots of close calls with people who liked to stare and shout stuff at me, and were angered when I didn't keep moving but instead went and asked them what I could do for them.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Do the Chinese of Kunming stare a lot at Laowai?

I hope you are right but unfortunately I think I do understand what you are saying and I think it is inappropriate.

1. the "a lot" means in an extreme way. Of course people will stare somewhat, that is not the issue here.

2. We are not living in all of China, but in Kunming where many, perhaps most, of the people have seen a foreigner before.

3. people here DON'T stare at just anything that is different unless it plants itself on the street and stops moving.

4. The analogy of green naked in nyc might seem apt to you, but I can't imagine why. Even if it was, you would have to add "everyday for 1 year" to your question. I wouldn't stare after a few months of seeing the green nudist everyday, but my neighbors have seen me everyday for one year and still stare intensely.

5. Your narrative perhaps rests on a kind of, for lack of a better word, orientalism. You are not in the comfort of your home anymore, you are off to exotic lands, you ain't in Kansas no more, etc. etc. I don't feel that way.

6. I didn't suggest a solution, certainly not the ones that you mentioned. Some people (certainly not you ) might think that invalidates my right to criticism, but then those people aren't very good at thinking.

thanks for coming out

Forums > Living in Kunming > Do the Chinese of Kunming stare a lot at Laowai?

@Gaya.C @ Nutsdrop

I see the your attitudes, (also Ocean, tonyaod) as part of the problem. You attitudes are very common, too.

You can say that it is friendly, but you know that you wouldn't like people to do it to you.

When you hear about it, you either deny it, or say that it shouldn't bother people. But! It would bother you. It would bother most people.

You should change your attitude to accepting that it makes some people, maybe even most people, uncomfortable.
You don't have to change your opinion about it being MEANT in a friendly way, but you need to admit that you wouldn't want people to do it to you. Otherwise, you are no help.

Ps. I dont think we are talking about green lake area.
Also, people say they stare because we are foreigners. That is true. But it is also true that we are foreigners because they stare. The ritual of loudly naming someone a laowai, of warning others of the presence of a "laowai", is also a way to maintain the existence of the laowai. It is a way to keep the concept alive.

Forums > Living in Kunming > Is Kunming Racist?


I think the 1st way that you make it is easy is by re-reading the title of the thread. It is not called "Are Dai people racist?" Or are "Han people racist?" Or "are Chinese people racist? "

Would you also think there is something intolerably self-contradictory if the title was " Is New York racist?" (which it is, btw).

The next thing to make it easy would be to not put too much faith in the sociopolitical sophistication of a dictionary. If there is any particular topic that you are very familiar with, try looking it up in the dictionary-you will probably be disappointed by the inadequate definition you find. That is why it is not called an encyclopedia.

In fact, there are quite a few people who devote their life to studying "racism" that would find the definitions you quoted to be totally wrong at best, and, you guessed it-racist- at worst. (because they would consider racism to be a kind of social system, not a kind of attitude). By any definition, racism is not simply discrimination. I don;t think you can be racist against someone for being a plumber, Yankees fan, or a social democrat.

Certainly, some people DO say things like, "Chinese people are racist".

But this is only in itself an absurd and racist comment if the person is presenting Chinese people as a race. Usually, they aren't unless they are stupid and/or drunk, and in that case, your criticism would stand.

I heard someone make this same comment last week, and in the context of the long conversation we were having, it was clearly not racist. I took it to be an abbreviation for something like:

"Practices which promote racial stereotypes are currently practiced, in an unqualified way, with much less apparent censure, and with more common acceptance, in many parts of the current society in the country China,at least compared to where I from. This is a visible trend stemming from social conditions in a certain place today, and not from anything like an inherent characteristic of the Chinese race, which probably doesn't biologically exist anyway."

No one is going to say all that. At least not on an online forum, because he is banking on the fact that all that is a given, so he doesn't need to spell it all out for you. It becomes a given once the person convinces you that a. they are not an idiot b. they are using terms, ways of speaking, themes, questions, etc. that wouldn't make sense without underlying universalist assumptions. I think zitony's posts meet both requirements.


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Tiger Tiger should be ashamed.
9 or 10 inches for a large pizza is not fine. This same tiny pizza will run you around 45 yuan, possibly more. The cities of Chicago, New York, and Seattle, should be called in to cast judgment on this Pizza Crime. It should be called a "small pizza" and cost 20-25 yuan. Desserts are OK but overpriced.