没落的中国种族主义仍在围观骆家辉 – The decline of racism in China

(注:此文在纸媒公开发表时遭到较多删节。以此为准。)

 

最近几年一个令人感动的现象是:中国人当中的种族主义者是越来越少了。最新的一个证明就是:当骆家辉被任命为美国驻华大使后,如果是十 几年前,中国人一定会欢呼雀跃,期待这位黑头发黄皮肤的华裔恩待中国。如今,多数同胞已经能够相当淡定地看待这个事实:此人彻头彻尾就是一个美国人,无论 依其出身还是价值观。

 

很多年前,我曾经有一个私下的判断,说中国人是世界上最大的一个种族主义团体,而且最关键的是:我们自己对此丝毫茫然不觉。那个时候, 中国人控诉万恶的西方资本主义,头一句话往往就是“西方国家存在严重的种族歧视”。那时的新生代中国人移民出国,凡混得不如意的,十有八九将此归咎为“被 西方人种族歧视”。总之,种族歧视主要就是白人对黑人等有色人种的歧视,是西方殖民主义者的痼疾。而我们中国人从来没有搞过殖民主义,所以不可能是种族主 义者。

 

其实,倒退一两百年,世界上大部分民族都是种族主义者;倒退三百年,所有民族都是种族主义者。概莫能外。从这个意义上说,中国人的种族 主义思想根子,不比别的民族深,也决不会比他们浅。只不过,西方民族从十八世纪的启蒙运动以来,慢慢发育出超越种族主义观念的所谓普世价值,并且历经了几 次动摇整个社会的、甚至大规模流血牺牲的反种族主义运动,才慢慢走到今天这个比较强调种族平等的文明阶段。即便如此,种族主义余孽在西方还会不时沉渣泛 起。而中国一直没有完整经历过这个阶段,更没有发生过任何大规模的种族平等运动。所以,中国人残存的陈腐种族主义观念,相比西方民族,只会更多,不可能更 少。

 

中国人之所以对自己的种族主义思想茫然不自觉,一个重要原因是:多数中国人误以为,只有以为自己种族胜过其他种族,才是种族主义。其 实,所谓种族主义,就是认为同一个种族出身的人(主要由肤色、眼球颜色等一系列生理遗传特征而界定),先天地就会在社会、文化和道德的层次上,具有一些共 同的品行。这不一定是奉自己种族为最优。比如说,一个黑人认为白人最优秀,行事时时向白人看齐,处处瞧不起黑人,甚至千方百计漂白自己皮肤,这黑人就是一 个如假包换的种族主义者。同样,一个黄种人,如果认为白人比黑人优秀,赞白人而歧视黑人,也同样是种族主义者。中国人种族主义的一大表现,正是崇白而贬 黑。此类行为在普通中国人当中,一度非常普遍,今天依旧时有发生。即使在受过良好教育的中国人口中,也经常会蹦出一些令人瞠目结舌的、针对黑人或白人的种 族主义言论。

 

不过,对大多数中国人来说,并没有太多接触其他种族人民的机会,上述种族主义思想不容易有外在的表现。所以,大多数中国人的种族主义倾 向也更加隐晦,主要表现为对自己种族的一种混合着自卑和自大的评价。很多时候,它是一个模糊混沌的种族信念:相信中国人身上因为基因遗传,有一种与生俱 来、永远不会改变的“中华血脉”之类。这种血统论的种族主义,在上个世纪80年代,达到了高峰。那时全中国人都在唱这样两首歌。一首说:“黑眼睛黑头发黄皮肤,永永远远是龙的传人。”另一首说:“洋装虽然穿在身,我心依然是中国心,就算生在他乡也永远改变不了,我的中国魂。”

 

今天看来,这个思想显然是荒谬的。美国黑人总统奥巴马不会有什么肯尼亚心,他的血脉里也不会永远流动着非洲魂。一般而言,海外移民的第 一代和母国之间,会有较紧密的联系;第二代移民因为父母的关系,多少会受一定母国文化的影响;而到第三代移民基本就同化于当地文化,和母国彻底无关了。但 是在当时,多数中国人对这种“华人世世代代都是华人”的种族主义谬论却深信不疑,以至于“海外华人”一度居然成为中国官方外交工作中的一个正式用语。试想 一下:假若欧盟政府每年发布报告,宣称要做好“海外白人的工作”,或者非洲国家联盟每年发布报告,要求“动员全世界黑人报效非洲”,将会是多么地可笑?

 

现在,我们终于进步了很多。当骆家辉就任美国驻华大使,我们终于不再期待这位“海外华人”为中国效力了。不过,还是有很多人以不同寻常的热情 在“围观”骆家辉,极度地关注他的一举一动,似乎总要在他身上发掘出什么不同寻常的特质来。还有一些网络舆论断言:他这个“二鬼子”为了主动划清界限,将 比纯种美国人(天下有“纯种”美国人吗?难道是指印第安人?)更加反华。一些人还是在期待骆家辉更比其他美国驻华大使更了解中国人,虽然从此君基本不会汉 语(据说略通广东话)来看,他对中国的了解恐怕还不及其前任、中文流利的白人洪博培。看来,种族主义思想在中国虽已没落,却还远未消亡。我们还远远做不到 “肤色上的色盲”。

 

@ 2011-8-16

(Note: this article was published in the print media as an abridged version. Regard this version accordingly.)

Over the last few years there has been an impressive phenomenon: fewer and fewer Chinese people are racist. This is the latest proof: after Gary Faye Locke was appointed as the American ambassador to China, if it were 10 years ago, Chinese people would be thrilled that it was a black haired, yellow skinned ethnic Chinese. Today, the majority of citizens would be unperturbed by this: this person is American through and through, regardless of his origins or values.

Many years ago, I used to say this in private: China is the largest racist organisation in the world, but the key element is, we’re all blissfully unaware of it. At that time, Chinese people accused Western capitalism of a thousand evils, often starting by saying: ‘there are serious racial discriminations in Western capitalist countries.’ And when the new generation of Chinese migrants felt unhappy overseas, they would no doubt attribute this to the ‘racial discriminations of Western capitalism’. In short, racial discrimination is mainly discrimination of white people against black people and other coloured people, and is a chronic illness of Western colonization. But China was never a colonial country, and so we cannot be racist.

In fact, for the last two hundred years, most nations in the world have been racist; and if we look at the last three hundred years, all nations are racist. Without exception. From this point of view, the root of racism in China goes no deeper than in any other nation – but neither is it closer to the surface. However, since the 18th century Enlightenment, Western Nations have slowly developed so-called ‘universal values’ which go beyond racism. Beyond, only through multiple campaigns against racism, some of which have shaken the entire community, sometimes even with blooshed, have they finally reached today’s stage of civilization which comparatively emphasizes racial equality. Even so, the remains of racism are still rampant in the West. But China hasn’t yet entirely gone through this stage, and even less has it undergone large movements for racial equality. Therefore, compared to Western countries, there cannot be less residual racism in China, only more.

One important reason why Chinese people are not aware of their own racism is this: the majority of Chinese that only when you believe your own race is better than other races are you actually racist. But in fact, what we call racism consists in the belief that people of the same ethnic origin (as determined by physiological and genetic characteristics such as skin colour, eye colour, and others) will have similar characteristics at the social, cultural moral level congenitally. This doesn’t necessarily entail a belief that one’s own race is the best. For instance, a black person may find white people the most beautiful, always act in line with white people, and despise black people everywhere, and even do everything possible to whiten their skin: this black person is a racist in disguise. In the same way, if an Asian person considers that white people are better than black people, praises white people and despises black people, they’re also a racist. A great sign of Chinese people’s racism is that they worship the whites and despise the black: that kind of behaviour was once extremely common, and still occurs today among ordinary Chinese people. And even among the well educated population, you will regularly hear surprising racist remarks pop up about the blacks or the whites.

However, most Chinese people have few opportunities to encounter people from other races, and so their racist beliefs are unlikely to have an external manifestation. Therefore, the racist tendencies of most Chinese people are more obscure, and its main manifestation is a kind of mixed denigration and high consideration for their own race. Often, it takes the form of a blurry racist belief: a belief that, for genetic reasons, there is an innate and never-changing ‘Chinese blood’, or things like that. This kind of ‘inherited’ racism reached its peak in the 80s. At that time, all Chinese people were singing these two songs. One says: ‘black eyes, black hair, yellow skin, we are forever the heirs of the dragon’. The other says: ‘No matter what clothes I wear, my heart is still a Chinese heart, no matter what land it is born in, it will never change, my Chinese soul.’

Today, this idea seems obviously absurd. Black American President Obama won’t have some ‘Kenyan heart’, and the soul of Africa won’t run forever in his blood. Generally speaking, there will be relatively close links between the first generation migrants and their motherland; second generation migrants, through their parents, will receive some influence of their original culture; but third generation immigrants are basically assimilated within the local culture, and completely independent from their motherland. However, today, most Chinese people are convinced by the myth that ‘a Chinese person, here or overseas, remains a Chinese person’, and ‘overseas Chinese’ (海外华人) has become an official word within the lexicon of the Chinese diplomacy. Imagine, if the EU government published a report every year, inviting the white people overseas to ‘do their white person’s duty well’, or if an alliance of African Countries published a report every year inviting ‘black people from around the world to serve Africa’, how ridiculous that would be.

We’ve finally progressed a lot. When Luo Jiahui got a position as US ambassador, 我们终于不再期待这位“海外华人”为中国效力了。不过,还是有很多人以不同寻常的热情 在“围观”骆家辉,极度地关注他的一举一动,似乎总要在他身上发掘出什么不同寻常的特质来。还有一些网络舆论断言:他这个“二鬼子”为了主动划清界限,将 比纯种美国人(天下有“纯种”美国人吗?难道是指印第安人?)更加反华。Some people still expect Luo Jiahui to understand China better than any US ambassador before him, although considering he cannot speak Mandarin (even if he does speak some Cantonese), he probably will understand less than the previous ambassador, who was fluent in the language. It seems that, although racism is on the decline in China, it is still far from dead. We’re still very far from being entirely colour blind.

@ 2011-8-16

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July 18, 2014 at 11:15 am

[…] Is China really a racist country? And what is the changing form of racism in China? Wu Xianghong offers a few elements to help us understand the question in ‘The decline of racism in China‘. […]

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