Racism has been said to have reduced drastically over the years, but still very much exists in subtle ways across different countries. Unfortunately, blacks are the most discriminated people of color in the world, as some other colors still perceive them as primitives. However, in China, Guangzhou is famous for hosting “Chocolate City”, the famous African neighborhood, that is inhabited by about 200, 000 Sub-Saharan Africans. In a country like China where being white is a sign of citizenship, a black person walking down the streets can be seen as a visitor, not welcomed and may experience many funny situations. Marjanne Mabialah, a Junior Digital Marketer at the Gentlemen Marketing Agency, shares her story about living in Shanghai, so other blacks can have a clue of what to expect whenever they visit China.
1. The “You are so Beautiful” Reaction
Black is beautiful no doubt and the Chinese are also aware of that. When someone looks at you with a big smile, and tells you how beautiful you are, it puts you in a pleasant mood. And if you are able to say a word or two in Mandarin you will get the bonus reaction –“You speak Mandarin so well.”
2. The “Oh My Goodness” Reaction
Imagine yourself walking in a metro station, and you suddenly bump into a Chinese. The surprise on his face might make you wonder if you are the first black he is encountering. The fact is, a Chinese will always stare long and hard at a black no matter how many blacks he has seen within the last hour. Juts don’t fret or feel embarrassed, stare at him or her back with the same surprised look. Like “What are you looking at honey?”
3. The Protective Boyfriend
Chinese guys are very protective when it comes to their girlfriends or spouse, mind you, they have great defense skills as well. Take it as normal when you walk pass two Chinese lovers and all of a sudden, the guy pulls his girlfriend against his chest as a way to keep her away from you. Would you mind this silly piece of advice? Walk close to them… really close, until they can’t help but get comfortable with your presence.
4. The Incognito Selfie
Just so they have an evident photo of you to show their friends and family about their encounter with the black ninja, they will fake an urgent need to take a selfie, and then include you in the photo.
5. The Invasive Selfie
When you are far off and can not be included in a selfie, someone will take a picture of you, without even hiding, and with the camera’s flash right in your face. The idea is not to get angry at them, just charge them 10 Kuai (Yuan) for invading your privacy.
6. The Scared Child
Chinese children are scared of humans that don’t have their skin color. As soon as one sees you, he will try to avoid you at any cost. The scared child might even burst into tears and run to his parents or any familiar adult around. Relax, you don’t look scary, its just the child who isn’t sure what he is seeing. Just smile and the child will be reassured.
7. The Clueless Kid
This kid will stare at you for hours. No matter how many obstacles there are between the two of you, he will find a way to keep his eyes on you to really understand if you are human, or an animal for pet. A piece of advice: engage in a staring contest with him and see who wins at the end.
8. The Chinese Who Covers Their Nose
Now this is the most annoying – pot calling kettle black. Whites generally think blacks stink. They even think blacks do not bath as often as is necessary, hence the darkened skin. This is just uncalled for and it is not funny at all. A piece of advice: do the same, or rather sniff on the person who is covering his nose – you might perceive something worse – a stench of raw garlic and ginger.
9. Being Compared To a Celebrity
This doesn’t happen only in China. People tend to believe that all black people look alike and that they are somehow all related. Don’t be surprised if a Chinese person compares you to a random black celebrity. They all had their share, Oprah, Diddy, Balotelli, and Obama…A piece of advice: just say “yes that’s me, or he is my brother.”
10. The “Where are you originally from ?” Question
Many of you have heard this question before. As long as you don’t share the same skin color with the major population, you are bound to hear this. If you say Liberia, they treat you like a plague immediately, as though you brought them Ebola, If you say Nigeria, they you are all of a sudden under strict scrutiny. So just say the truth that you were raised by a family of lions in the jungle – they just might feel more comfortable with this response.