Black in China
” Chinese people are racist, they view having white skin as smart or upper class, historically light skinned people were scholars or officials who worked in doors, which dark skinned people were field workers, manual labor”
Yeah, this is what I read a lot before I first went to China, and yeah, it kinda deterred me. But, I ain’t scurred man. To be honest, China is the first place and probably only place in the world, with maybe South Korea, that I got called cool, a few times, for being black. I actually think they like black people more then ever. The new generation is so into hip hop, basketball, new urban fashions, freestyle dancing, that I felt like I was in a CSHBCU ( Chinese style Historically Black College or University). Man….. they be break dancing, spittin’ rhymes, balling from 5am – 2am, even saw Chinese guys saggin’ their pants lol. But I think it goes further than that, what I feel that Chinese people get from the black or youth of America culture is breaking away from the system.
To my personal experience, there was another black girl in my program, my first time in China, she was also from an HBCU (historically black college or university) and whenever we were seen together, people went crazy, I had a full family take pictures with me. They each took a pic, then they put a baby in my arms like some sort of black mail…. and took a pic. We often had our hair, touched, pulled, grabbed….I had curls and a fro at one point. They also wanted to rub our skin to see if anything came off…(okay that’s racist) but funny.
Black in China speaking Chinese? I wish I had a reality show for this one, two quick stories. I was walking down by my school, East China Normal University, and had a girl riding a bike staring at me. I ignored cause I wasn’t in a great mood, but she was all up in my face, so I looked and said 怎么了 zen3me le which translates to, ” whats wrong? or I’m my case, what do you want?” and her shock was so initial, she rode the bike into the back of a stationary parked car. The second time I walked into a 7 – eleven and an employee did a “triple take,” at me ( she looked three times, because twice her eyes deceived her since, “black people don’t exist in China”), and dropped her merchandise. To be honest I love speaking with locals, especially old ladies. Here’s why lol. Young people, mostly girls, want to speak English, no help if you don’t like teaching, which i don’t sorry to be a little selfish, young dudes use so much slang I’m like wth? (side note, I know many awesome Chinese dudes) Older guys speak with a heavy accent in which I don’t hear a single word, but I still get a kick, I only understand the “haha” at the end (especially with Beijing dialect…), but, old ladies they speak slower and calmer. But sometimes you get that one lady in the park, my 奶奶 (grandmother) as I called her, who wouldn’t let me say anything wrong or with slang. She would make me say a phrase over and over till it’s right, and I got recorded too, being, “disciplined” by the grandma. (she hit me…)
Next topic; Black needs!….gonna get stereotypical for a little. Black people have certain needs. I’m a guy so the majority of it will be guy based, sorry ladies.
Haircuts – the most important thing for a fresh, nice cut brother. The first haircut I got in china, the lady messed me up so bad, I was wearing winter hats in the heat. She grabbed a chunk of hair and cut in any type of fashion (with the clippers I gave her) and I was expecting a fade, especially since the guy before he has his bangs all nice, with dyed color edges, and all i thought she was gonna hook me up like that, but she decimated me.
Chicken – Chinese chicken is weird. Very weird. Back home I never used to see my live chicken, but I’m in China, I seen white chickens, black chickens, purple chickens,multiple colored chickens, crazy stuff man. And fried chicken in China is just as crazy. I used to go to the fried chicken man, upstairs in the cafe, and while his chicken was decent, the taste, texture, was so bizarre it seemed fake. I’ve never seen baked chicken in China, but I did see plucked chicken, where they pluck the feathers and from the presentation that’s all they really did. It was cold, the head was left on the plate, all dead it freaked me the hell out. And last, the chicken feet. My mother loved to chase me and my brother with chicken feet, but I never thought Chinese people would love those scratchers so much, it was everywhere.
Hip hop, rap, r&b soul – just a little stereotypical, Chinese youth love hip hop, maybe even more then I do. I remember some girl approaching me and my friend and was talking about T.I and Drake??? Like you know them??? Most of the Chinese people I know, (and there’s a lot of them that I’ve met), know Usher, MJ, Ne-yo, Lil Wayne, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys ( big one), essentially all the big names. At my school there was some Chinese kids breaking dancing to some hip hop song I’ve never heard,with their hats tipped to the side, and some jerseys on lol. They were more black then me.
Girls hair – again sorry ladies, I can’t comment too much on you all, but what I will say is the girl in my group was trying to get some dreads in there too at one point. But man she had to flip the city to find someone, it’s hard, but I think with the increase of black people I noticed over my trips there, this difficulty should disappear.
Overall, what I’ve learned, are Chinese people are not all that racist, rather curious, and a lack of knowledge about black people. We don’t really go there, so they know only a few blacks such as Obama, Kobe, etc and cause of this they observe us heavily. The amount of stares you get are doubled and the pictures you take will make you think of a scandal but all in all. Take it as a compliment, each black person they see is an ambassador. But word of caution, behave (please), each time they meet a foreigner, the next foreigner they meet or see, is held to the standard and opinion you left them with so leave them with a good impression. Remember we’re the guests.
Disclaimer: This article is written only from my perspective and views + experiences, this does not relate to the majority since there are like 1.5 billion people in China, many more around the world. Not everyone will have the same experiences as me, but this is sorely in my opinions.