Black people in China are the hardest hit by racism of all the ethnic groups. For instance, many people in China believe that being Black means you’re poor. This stems from the class divisions within Chinese culture, according to http://www.chinaexpat.com. In a familiar refrain, light-skinned Chinese people looked down on darker-skinned people for thousands of years, and those dark-skinned people were relegated to being peasant farm.
Chinese Language Reveals Negative Attitudes Towards Blacks
The first character for the Chinese word for Africa, “fei” (非), means “to not be; not have; not; wrong; incorrect; lack,” and many Chinese look at Blacks with that definition as the core of why they limit contact with Blacks and want to keep them in certain neighborhoods. But the defaming slang used for people of color is “Black ghost.” When Georgetown’s basketball team played in an exhibition game in China about three years ago, a racial remark by a Chinese player sparked a bench-clearing brawl.
White is Right in China
Zahra Baitie, a student from Ghana, brilliantly chronicled her yearlong stay in China for The Atlantic and labeled it an “ordeal” because she said she was often the topic of conversations among Chinese people on the trains and was so viewed as strange that citizens took her photo everywhere she went. She wrote that a Chinese woman said to her: “Excuse me, if I may be so bold to ask, in your country do people consider black skin beautiful?” I responded: “Of course they do and to be honest I wish I were darker.” She was … aghast at my response and said, “I would never have thought that in my lifetime I would hear someone say all you’ve said. So you really don’t want to become lighter skinned? In China, we believe the whiter your complexion is the more beautiful you are and there are many ways to achieve this.” Additionally, there were people “rubbing my skin to see if it was dirt or pigment.”
Chinese Violence Against Africans
In 1988, a violent mob of 300 Chinese people broke into African students’ dormitory at Nanjing University and destroyed their possessions — simply because they were African — while chanting “down with the black devils.”
Segregation in China
Although Africans have populated cities like Guangzhou, where 20,000 Africans (200,000 undocumented migrants, according to scholars) live, Chinese people hardly associate with them. Barry Sautman, a professor of social sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology who specializes in the issue of race in China, said: “In the media, Africa is portrayed as a house of horrors, with a huge number of people dying from diseases, wars and extremely high crime rates.”
Africans and Indians Face Similar Discrimination
Much of the racism by the Chinese toward Black people is not limited to Africans or African-Americans. Dark-skinned people from India, as noted on CNN.com, have been told they could not live in certain areas because “police didn’t want brown people in the vicinity,” Hatim Shah from Mumbai said to CNN. “”They assume dark-skinned people are doing something dodgy. If there’s a white person in the room, they’d rather speak to the white person.”
Famous Blacks more Tolerable
A study conducted by Yunying Zhang at Austin Peay State University and Alexis Tan at Washington State University indicated that many Chinese look at famous Blacks — like President Barack Obama or basketball star Stephon Marbury — not as “violent, loud or aggressive” as they do other Blacks because they see them on TV — a common position from whites about Blacks in America.