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Pet Sins September 2006

Polarity between an African American's experience in Asia, and his experience among Asian Americans

I just recently spent five weeks in China studying, touring, and shopping. One thing that I noticed was that the Chinese people were very welcoming, nice, and friendly. They made me feel like a VIP when I was there. The went out of their way to make sure that I was comfortable, happy, and safe. I made so many friends when I was in China.

To further illustrate my point, one night, my friend and I went to eat Korean food at this restaurant near our hotel at 2.00am. After we were seated, this guy came over to us, and asked if he and his friends could sit at our table and we agreed. Once he sat down, he said the food at the Korea place we were eating at was not the best, and he offered to have another restaurant open up that night so that we could have "good Korean food." I was actually really tired, so I declined his offer. Nevertheless, I was impressed that he would go through so much trouble just for me. It turns out that he was wealthy.

Another example: while at Mc Donald's in Beijing, these girls were trying to get my attention, so I said hello to them. They then asked me if I was an American, and I told them that I was. At that point, they got one of the workers at Mc Donald's to come to me and take my order before I reached the front of the line. That was very nice of them, especially since they did not work at Mc Donald's.

Then one day I go lost on my way to the Beijing Natural History Museum, and I stopped to ask this guy for directions. He showed me the direction to the museum, which was not too far from where I met him. After talking to him, I walked to the museum, he saw that I made a wrong turn, then he came over to me, and told me that I was going the wrong way. From that point, he actually walked me to the museum, and made sure I got in. There was another time that I was lost in Beijing while looking for my friend's work place, and this Chinese guy at the park spent about an hour trying to help me find it. I tried to give the guy money for his time, and buy him water, but he would not take it. Once we met up with my friend, my friend made the guide take money for his time and effort.

I also found a fashion boutique to shop at while staying in Shanghai. It was owned by this nice lady and her husband. So a few times a week, I would go there and buy clothes. The lady and her husband would offer me dinner, candy and drinks when I went into their boutique. They also helped me get to the market when I needed to buy stuff. I did not know my way around, and they would had one of their friends walk me to the market. That was really nice because it was a long walk and it was hot. After returning from the market, I offered the lady that helped me some money, and she did not want it.

I am really impressed with how nice and genuine the people in China are. I had so many pleasant experiences with them. It was just amazing that they loved taking pictures with me, and were willing to do anything in their power to make sure that I had a good time. I do believe that relations between African Americans and Asian Americans are improving. However, these experiences I had in China are not typical in the United States.

It seems that there is such a polarity compared with how many Asians in American interact with African Americans. In general, African American and Asian American relationships are almost non-existent or are driven by fear. When I was young, I was not allowed to even enter the house of some of my Asian friends in America, but the people in China really rolled out the red carpet for me. I have heard other stories of Asian Americans losing many of their associates, business and personal, because they dated or married African Americans.

I understand that America is full of white supremacist ideas, symbols and values, but it is really getting us no where. In the global economy, it is a well known fact that if one does not target an audience, that they are losing out on potential profits. Other countries have already figured out that it is best to look at a person's character instead of their skin color. However, it seems that many Americans are unable to get over their xenophobic ideology, and this will hold our economic development down. I know that this is trite, but If we could learn to work together, business and personal relationships would be so much more enjoyable and lucrative.