Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Does it Matter?

On a regular basis, I read several Chinese forums and blogs written by/for expats. Over time I've become increasingly amused by the complaints of Westerners living as minorities in an overwhelmingly homogenous society for the first time in their lives. I don't have the energy to properly develop the parallels between their many statements about the unwillingness/inability of those in the majority so see beyond their characterizaton as "normal" and the subsequent effects of otherness on those who are not part of the majority with the sentiments expressed by minorities in the U.S. [An execellent example can be found here under the heading "A few of those bumps."]

The difference between China and America is the United States' ideological positioning as an inclusive, multicultural society. However, ask almost anybody who doesn't live in the US, and American=white. Like any disfunctional family, we in the US imagine ourselves to be something other than we are while comparing ourselves to more disfunctional societies around the world and patting ourselves on the back.

All this brings me the piece on black-white dating in the New York Times yesterday. It's called, Race Wasn't an Issue to Him, Which was an Issue to Me. (Check it out here.) The article talks about the desire, or lack therof, to engage in discussions about race and the effect that has on a dating/marriage relationship. I think her bottom line was, if you don't care to address issues of race, you shouldn't be in a relationship with someone who does. The author's point of view is interesting as her ex-husband is white.


Amy said...

I can tell you studied sociology! I did for a term and i absolutely adored it - it made so much sense! But onto your actual subject! I think the US is very much like Australia in it's view of 'otherness'. We like to pride ourself on being incredibly multicultural and being able to live united in diversity but we portray this whiteness to the world. I think it's very interesting what you were saying about the westerners actually experiencing being a minority for the first time in their lives. I hate how people bulk at being classified as racist, but then complain about how the Asians are taking over our country or how Muslims have to be just like us and take up the Australian way. But what is the Australian way? Is it an Australian way to force yourself onto a country, steal land that's not yours, place the traditional owners of the land under a 'flora and fauna act', steal a whole generation of people away from their culture to transplant them into your white culture in the hopes to breed their blackness out of them and then have the audicity to refuse to say sorry? Then you claim that you couldn't possibly be racist because after all,you accept the black fellas even though you still want Australia to be the same as your white mindset tells it to be? Sorry to go on a rant but your post but America does have a lot in common with Australia and i'm guessing in many other western countries aroudn the world! Great post, very thought provoking.

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