Since there is not significant updates this week, this week I'm posting a special post from my personal blog on an minor icident that happened this week.
One of the other students today made a complaint about how he feels he is treated in China. He’s a white american and we’ve hung out a lot over the last few weeks. Chinese like to stare (it’s not impolite here) and he’s often run into problems with some of the locals. Here’s more or less the complaint:
“I’m tired of always being stared at and people thinking I’m a criminal.”
To which my reply was: “Welcome to my world.”
Like a ton a bricks, I could see his heart sink. I wasn’t trying to be mean, just introduce him to what Mexican American’s often have to deal with in the United States. He’s complaint soon turned to compassion (or sympathy?).
To me, China is no different than the United States. Everyone looks different than me. The food and culture are foreign and not what I grew up with. How people talk is different. Values differ, etc, etc. One of the main reasons I’ve had little trouble adjusting to the culture here is that I’ve spent my whole life living in another culture (White American Culture). It’s not a plea for pity, complaint or a desire for people to feel sorry for me. I’ve risen above road blocks society has put in front of me. I use my experience as a bi-cultural individual to be a person of understanding. As one of my colleagues put it last night, people open up to me easily.
My toughest task in China has been adjusting to the other Americans, not to the Chinese. Same thing happened on my trip to Egypt a few years back. I tend to be more frustrated with American culture than other cultures. But, my task is not to be filled with disgust or hatred for Americans, but to use the knowledge and experience I’ve gained to improve American culture. America is a good place with many opportunities, but it has plenty of room to grow. We each have a responsibility and a stake in that growth.