Tuesday, April 21, 2009

BlAsian: Ding Hui

One of the things I have always wondered about racists is their complete denial, ignorance or dismissing of biology and history. Here's what I mean:

Many moons ago I participated in APA advocacy in media, which led to me being involved in some whoop dee doo boycott of the broadcast networks. I won't say anything more about it because I had my doubts from jump, but, live and learn. Anyway, as a result of this project, I participated on a panel for a local cable show. On this panel were esteemed spokespeople from various guilds and orgs - and schleppy ole me in their midst. I was and felt like the grain of sand in a delicious dessert you just happen to bite into.

Toward the conclusion, after all the nattering, I took the opportunity to point out something; here in LA we have the most diverse population in the world, it's like some kind of weird experiment, with lines crossing everywhere. One of the outcomes of that has been, for instance, areas such as Koreatown, which was formerly populated by blacks, and now Latinos and Koreans.

It goes without saying that any culture is xenophobic and racist, but just imagine this scenario; a school in Koreatown where a bunch of Korean boys are standing around talking. Then a cute Salvy girl walks by. You really think they aren't going to take note?

Everyone laughed at my imagined scenario. But the truth is that no matter how racist and jacked up parents are, there is nothing they can do to stop biology.
Anyone remember Strom Thurmond? What about president Jefferson dipping in the chocolate?

China calls up its first black athlete

A 19-year-old volleyball player from the eastern city of Hangzhou has become the first black athlete to be called up to represent China, triggering fierce curiosity among his compatriots.


By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai for Telegraph

Ding Hui, who is affectionately nicknamed Xiao Hei, or Little Black, by his team mates, was included in the national team's new 18-man training squad.

The son of a South African father and a Chinese mother, Ding is expected to play a key role in China's push for gold at the London Olympics in 2012.

However, despite the fact that he was born in China and only speaks Mandarin and his city's local dialect, his elevation has stirred up some racial prejudices among his countrymen.

Commentators have noted that he has a "pleasant and perky nature" and is talented at "singing and dancing". On Chinese internet forums, he has been lauded for the "whiteness" of his teeth and the "athleticism of his genes".

China's black population is tiny, and attitudes remain relatively unsophisticated. One predominately African suburb in the southern city of Guangzhou is cheerfully referred to as "Chocolate City".

In the run-up to last year's Olympic Games in Beijing, large numbers of blacks were rounded up by police on suspicion of being drug dealers.

However, the black population is growing rapidly. Since 2003, when China started pouring investments into Africa, there has been a significant movement of Africans in the opposite direction. Guangzhou authorities believe there are now 100,000 Africans from Nigeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Liberia and Mali in the city, and the flow is growing by 30 to 40 per cent annually.

Mr Ding told the Shanghai Wenhui newspaper that "people seem to care more about my heritage and appearance, but all I want to do is to play good volleyball". Referring to China's policy of drafting foreigners to boost its teams, he added: "I am not a foreign aid. I want to be included."

Li Shiping, the captain of the volleyball team, said the players had been irritated by the gawping of the Chinese media. "I had hoped the press would not dig out the boy's African heritage or his family details but instead focus on his skills and performance," he said, adding that there would be no chance to see Ding until a press conference next week.