March 2, 2010


While you were growing up, you must have watched many movies about racism in the US. If you have not been out of the US, you may think that America and, maybe, South Africa before the end of apartheid, are the most racist countries in the world. One has to be a bit careful in making such conclusions. For one, if you have not been to every country in the world nor have done extensive sociological research involving statistics on incidents of xenophobia and general societal attitudes, you simply cannot think of America being the most racist.

America undoubtedly has a big problem with racial discrimination. However, the new politically correct generation has reduced overt racism and made life for minorities much better than before. People are taught that it is impolite to use racial slur as well as that you can get sued or lose your job if you do so publicly. They are taught by the new educational system that it is bad to be racist. If you call someone a racist or a bigot, it is an accusation.

Nevertheless, racism is still strong in America and inter-racial mixing is not as natural as it could be. Many people live in ethnic neighborhoods and many prefer dating people of their won ethnic groups. Dating across ethnic/racial boundaries is still somewhat of a big deal as people are still very racially aware.

In many other societies, particularly non-Western ones, racism can be much worse and local governments themselves may do very little to stop it. There will be no way for a person who is different racially to obtain legal help or even sympathy if he runs into rejection or persecution for wanting to date someone who is of a different ethnic stock.

One of the most racially exclusive societies can be Japan and Korea. While we are well aware of the White on Asian racism in the West, in the East, Asian on White racism, or Asian on Black or even Asian on Asian racism can be just as bad if not worse. Examples of this can be signs in Japan and Korea on bars and real estate agencies stating " No Foreigners" or " No Americans". There have been cases in some Asian countries most notably Vietnam and Korea of mixed couples spat upon and stones thrown at.

There are also societies, which are much less racist than the US. Such countries would be the Philippines or Brazil, Panama, Venezuela and many other Spanish colonies.
There, racism, even though not completely absent, is less of a problem and social mixing is much easier. People are not as aware of their racial "tags". Few are constantly reminded of their race.

If you decide to date interracially, the best thing to do would be to find out where it would be less of a deal and go to such places. A white man who likes black women should go to Brazil and a white man who likes Asian women and who wants to be able to date them more or less freely, should head for the Philippines.

If you wish to try other, less tolerant places, then you have to prepare yourself for the racial attitudes in the society where you are going. If you are thick-skinned enough not to care about what other people say and how they look at you and your girlfriend/wife, then you are ahead of the game. If not, go to places where populations have a greater history of tolerance and greater degree of interracial mixing.

If you are going to a place where people are of the same race as you, such as a white American heading for the Czech republic, then, you will, of course, have very little to worry about.


We only seem to be as free
As our bank accounts let us be,
And the degrees of freedom fluctuate
With ups and downs of your savings rate.

A lot of money gives you elbow space
To better move within the ol' rat race,
And even out of it you thus can move,
While other live and perish in its groove.

The money is a fifth dimension
To help you move within the other four.
May you be bless't to have a big, fat pension
To give you freedom now, and evermore.

***As an American you have probably learned while growing up that an American can be of any race. There are Black Americans, White Americans, Japanese Americans, Mexican Americans, etc. Anybody can be an American. a nation of nations, melting pot, etc.

This is not how most countries around the world see " Americans". Outside of maybe, England or Canada, etc., where people are in touch with the US culture daily, most people think and believe fully that the word " American" denotes a "race".

An "American" is a blond, blue-eyed , very light skinned, tall human being with a name such as John Smith or Steve Johnson. Everybody else is not an American. Or at least not a "true" American.

When various non-Anglo Saxon Americans visit various countries, they are asked :" What is your nationality?" "I am an American". "But you do not look like an American". "What is an American supposed to look like?"
"Tall, blond, Anglo- Saxon." John Smith.

Isn't it ridiculous?

Mexican Americans wanting to teach in Japan or Korea get turned down for jobs- "these are not Americans". Many people think that Blacks are not Americans but, conversely children of Irish Americans are. Close enough to the English. This is ridiculous to you but billions of people around the world still uphold this view.

The reason is the movies. And the fact that the president is almost always a WASP. And you know what else? Foreign investors in US movies are also the reason. When Taiwanese or Japanese invest in a film in the US they often want "American" actors to play main roles. That is why Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt are chosen for such roles.

There are such words that one hears abroad as a "pure American" or he is " half- Black and half-American", as if "Black" were not American.

For most people in the world an American is just an Englishman who was born and raised in the US.

Live long and you'll see a lot.

For an expat citizen of the world, life in 200 + countries of the world can be likened to watching TV with 200 channels. Each channel has an independent program that is running according to its own rhythm, has news and movies and music and commentaries. If you get bored with one, you can always change channels. If one channel is too violent for you or too annoying, or does not suit your mood, there is always a channel where you would feel more in tune with.

Here is my blank verse about them:

Two Hundred Channel Islands.
Two hundred countries of the Earth,
Like twenty tens of channels
Of some heavenly TV station.
Each channel unrolling its own program,
Its revolutions, heroes;
Staring proudly
From the screen, eyes looking dignifiedly
On his or her people.
And on me, the stranger, with
Half-suspicion, half-welcome.
Sometimes erring, sometimes smiling
All wanting to be great.
Two hundred islands
Caught in their triumphs and tragedies,
Doldrums, recessions,
Complexes and inconsistencies,
Now puffing up their chests,
Now cringing in obsequouisness
Before a bigger channel.
Change your channel and you are
In a whole different world,
Developing of its own
Centering upon itself,
Thinking itself the very core of
The Universe
From which other countries
Spring out as additions to it.
Such is the way people view themselves
In their tribal self-centeredness.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Ladislav,

You are one of my source of inspirations! I knew your knowledge through Winston Wu's web-site. I also bought, through him, your writtings of living as an expat.

Similar to Winston Wu, I an ethnic Chinese.
I am intereted in getting a TESOL certificate
in Vancouver and teach in the Ukraines.
This is because I am interested in living a lifestyle dating the Ukranian girls in the Ukraines.

Your blog about Racism mentioned that many societies do not tolerate interrracial couples
walking down the streets in their countries.

This really got me worried about my safety while dating the Ukranian/Eastern European women in the Ukraines.Will I provoke attacks of the Jealous Ukranian/Eastern European men while enjoying tours down the streets in Ukraine with a beautiful Ukranian/Eastern European girl?

Will a lifestyle of dating multiple Ukranian girls while teaching English in the Ukraines will get me into trouble?

You mentioned that Latin America has the highest toleration towards intteracial dating. I want to go to Argentina---are Argentinian girls more acceptable of Chinese men like me?

I look forward to your kind suggestions.


James Kwok