Let’s admit right up front that there are racists in China and let’s not pretend there wasn’t racial discrimination against Africans in Guangzhou — although recent events there were much more than just an outright expression of discrimination against Africans and black people: it was also a mixture of fear about COVID-19, the legal status of certain immigrants, miscommunication… and, yes, racism.
As someone who’s worked, traveled and studied across Africa, Latin America, and Asia over the past years, I have seen discrimination almost everywhere. Chinese discriminate against locals, locals discriminate against Chinese, locals discriminate against locals, Chinese discriminate against Chinese… and I will admit that I personally think many Chinese are actually more racist than average racists I have encountered around the world: they are used living in ethnically- homogeneous communities where many people were raised with a traditional outlook on race that goes something like this: “if not my race, the heart must be different” (非我族类，其心必异). Furthermore, the fact that most Chinese people have never met someone of a different racial or ethnic background, don’t read the same things on social media due to China’s internet censorship and, even if they do meet face-to-face, often can’t communicate well with one another due a sizable language barrier.
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