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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Racism in Taiwan?

Recently when strolling about arm in arm with my honey, I’m encountering some hostile looks. Mostly from women, around my age, who are reasonably attractive. They stare at me without smiling. It’s so obvious that Mike has noticed it too, and commented on it.

It is very strange though, for we (or mainly, me) did not receive such glares in the previous seasons. So it might have something to do with. A: Winter B: My advanced and obvious stage of gestation C: Mike’s increasing attractiveness.

Concerning A: It’s winter, the time of the year when people who are single particularly feel the need to have a warm person, thus there is greater angst against couples and PDA in general.

If the issues is B. I’m getting increasingly pregnant, to the point where there’s no hiding it.

Profiling Taipei 101: Very pregnant lady

But, as Mike has noticed, there has been an increase in waddlers in this city. So my pregnancy should not be an issue for consternation. (btw, I’ve noticed that people who give me their seats on public transportation are overwhelmingly women around childbearing age. Another topic to explore!) A particularly twisted explanation for this would then be the fact that we’re an inter-racial couple, and I’ve staked my claim on this particularly desirable white man with my prominent belly. How crude. How absolutely conniving.

C. Mike’s Increasing Attractiveness. Which would increase the jealousy argument for case B. I do think he’s much improved since he married me. I find my husband strangely and increasingly attractive of late. Perhaps it’s the lovely small facial hair that increases his ruggedness. His fit form in long black stockings that somehow puts me in mind of a statue of a Roman centurion, his lovely clear eyes as he kisses me goodbye in the morning… But then, I don’t think I am impartial judge.

In any case, I would consider jealousy of inter-racial relationships a form of racism (also, hostility towards inter-racial couples). Racism is, I maintain, an issue that hasn’t been properly addressed in Taiwanese education on human rights or history. Mostly because we’re taught Chinese ethics, which is tied in with Chinese history, which is inherently racist (China is the Center of the world, and all other nations and peoples of lesser breeding and might —> to the recent decades of –> The West came in with their big guns and defeated us with their superior Western culture! Oh my!). I’ve been looking at some arguments of the situation in blogs across the web. And I daresay that most of them are imperfect. In fact, it is nearly impossible to offer a good excuse/explanation/argument/bashing of racism here in Asia. Too much of it is tied in with emotional responses of pride and the ever-present notions of self-superiority due to having the ‘correct morals’ of not being a racist.

In fact, I believe that people who even discuss the issue are either slightly racist themselves, or have some morbid fascination with the interaction of what can be called societal idealism v.s. the putrid reality of human inclination. Today we may call it a scholarly interest, an intellectual debate, and in the attempt to appear concerned for societal health, strive to come to conclusions about the causes that could hypothetically induce a cure. It is an intensely self-interested endeavor.

This fascination has previously shielded studies in eugenics. Mike has very little interest in discussing the fact that our son will be a mixed-race child, or even using the term, because it denotes the existence of race and the attendant issues. I find it interesting from a genetic standpoint – but I also must admit that I must have some of the fallacies of racism that make the issue far more than a medical interest – but also an issue of social structuring. Every conflict of interest in sociology is a matter of power. The question is, if we choose to propagate this discussion, will it make us better people? (A mind examined) Or is it merely an indulgence of our inner vices and outer morality?

It would be facile for me to say that I didn’t marry Mike for his Caucasian bloodline. It is who he is, and we cannot easily separate our beloveds, once their person become so much etched in our hearts, from their physical realities. I admit the idea of having a child with a person of so obviously distant lineage than my own is appealing due to the strengthening effect diverse genetics holds. I could point to people I’ve dated in the past as examples of my lack of racism. But all I can say is that in meeting Mike, I feel extremely fortunate to be with a man whom I hold in the highest regard, whose every gesture strengthens my affection, and who can also be my best friend.

So really, the glares do not perturb me much. Whatever sentiment is but shallow in my eyes.