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WHY DO CHINESE REFER TO BLACKS BY THEIR SKIN COLOR AND WHITES AS WAI GUO REN?

Popularity 4Viewed 3436 times 2014-3-10 22:56 |Personal category:common man|System category:News

i have always wonder why chinese seeing a black man will say KAN HEI REN(see a black man) but with the whites they will say KAN WAI GUO REN.(see a foreigner)sitting in a bus infront of this lovely kid who told her mother to see a foreigner but the mother say no he is a black man.the kid goes on to say his face is black because he hasn't washed it.i was like expecting the mother to educate the kid but to my surprise, she said no is because i don't drink milk.at this point i thought this mother is trying to get his kid to drink milk by scaring him that if he doesn't  he will be has dark as me.guess what, i was wrong.she gave another explanation that i was born white but the sun tanned me.i became the topic with others sitting by saying that if i stay a little longer in china i will become white.i took time to educate them and explain why i am this way and why they are what they are.is there any reason chinese people refer to blacks by their skin color and whites as foreigners?

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report youxiudeyou 2014-3-10 23:23
Kind of sad, but also so hilarious at the same time. In which city did this happen? I don't know the answer for the question, but I am clad at least your Chinese is good enough to cope with the situations. Chinese still don't understand so many foreigners actually can understand what they are talking.
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-3-11 04:43
A very interesting experience you retold! Thanks for sharing!
Reply Report chessgame 2014-3-11 19:06
youxiudeyou: Kind of sad, but also so hilarious at the same time. In which city did this happen? I don't know the answer for the question, but I am clad at least y ...
i am in changzhou city now but this has been happening quite often in many other cities too and this time i decided to take a break and ask why do they think ike this.some chinese forget that the greatest think for a foreigner to be in china first is to take home the chinese language and their culture. so we must do everything in our might to learn even the basic chinese.hardly do some think we can speak or even understand chinese.they have the right to say what they think but it sort of disturbing at times.any way i ahve been here now for 7 years and most of my chinese friends call me zhong guo lao wai.
Reply Report Maierwei 2014-3-11 20:26
Thanks for sharing! Some of my black friends told me similar stories, and one of them actually told that he's black because he doesn't drink milk! And a white African friend of mine says he is not black because he doesn't go out much... :) The ignorance is disturbing indeed, but I'm hopeful that national prejudice and racism will decrease as time goes by. I am white, but have seen Asian people treat me differently when I'm suntanned. I guess there would be a difference if I dyed my hair black or blonde as well. So maybe the root of the problem is not simply racism, but assumptions and ignorance instead.... Looks mean a lot everywhere else, but I find Asians raised as more superficial than people in other regions. Don't let their attitude disturb you and hang on there!
Reply Report tedbrent 2014-3-11 20:47
I would chalk it up to the fact that it's still hard for most Chinese citizens to find black people in their cities. By comparison, most Chinese cities have scores of white English teachers teaching English or white students learning Chinese culture or other related majors; some of them are not Americans or British.

I don't think the Chinese citizens mentioned by you in this article have ulterior motives when they call into question the color of your skin. They just don't realize that it's politically incorrect to talk about a person's skin or privavy. Sometimes you can even  find some Chinese citizens asking you other private questions , say, about your monthly wages or  what is your spouse doing.

  If you don't feel like answering , just shrug it off; you have no obligation to answer all their questions. Just bear in mind that China is not America, where people are aware of the importance of not making racial or personal jokes and taunts. That's not the case in China.  Worst yet, you can find lots of scruffy remarks uttered by some Chinese  lowbrows to describe  other Chinese out-of--towners or even  foreign expats on many Chinese websites.

  Just take it easy once you find such tiresome remarks online . Such foul-mouthed or foot-in-mouth  types are everywhere, not just in China.
Reply Report tedbrent 2014-3-11 21:07
Maybe it's just a joke.  Like I said, China is not America; you can't find such things like politically incorrect in China. I would either  take such jokes in stride or tell the guys making such jokes that it's an obnoxious act if I were you.
Reply Report youxiudeyou 2014-3-12 02:10
chessgame: i am in changzhou city now but this has been happening quite often in many other cities too and this time i decided to take a break and ask why do the ...
I have a feeling, that people are a bit more got used to foreigners in Beijing, where I live. Yet, I have heard some disturbing comments on the public transportation from the Chinese. But, since I understand the language and to some extent the culture as well, I normally take it well, or just ignore. I find Chinese are kind of cute with their very genuine ideas. Also, at the same time the comments tell something about the education level of the speaker.
Reply Report chessgame 2014-3-13 19:25
youxiudeyou: I have a feeling, that people are a bit more got used to foreigners in Beijing, where I live. Yet, I have heard some disturbing comments on the public ...
i share your view but i will appreciate if they learn to keep their mouth in public a bit shut.they have the right to think and say what they want but not to the hearing of the person.as the saying goesif you cant change a man accept him.

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  • RIPPING FARTING,IS IT A CULTURAL THING HERE IN CHINA? 2014-6-1 15:20

    these are people who have been smuggled in to 2014.they are really messed up people second to none on planet earth.in china we are seeing alot and just wonder as you said if there are not taught any etiquette.worser things happen here.i will suggest next tme you remain them that here(scandinavia)things are not done that way.remind them that money doesn't guarantee the freedom to do what you like and where you like.

  • RIPPING FARTING,IS IT A CULTURAL THING HERE IN CHINA? 2014-5-31 07:11

    I am working in hotel in Scandinavia and we have several tourist groups from China visiting us every year. Today we have a group and so far:
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    These things are highly disrespectful and I can't understand why they are not taught common sense and etiquette before visiting other countries. I ALWAYS read up on do's and don'ts before going to a country with different culture- I even try learning a few words- as respect to people living there.

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