As China rapidly climbs to world economic power, some enterprising individuals are emigrating here in the hopes of finding a new version of the American Dream. Blogging For China translates an article from the Southern Metropolis Daily on African traders who move to China (notably the city of Guangzhou, which currently holds an estimated 100,000 Africans) with the same burning desire of an earlier generation who emigrated to America: a better life. Many of them face strong prejudice against blacks in China and struggle to integrate themselves into their villages. The reporter follows one Liberian trader as he greets Chinese store-owners in his neighborhood:
He’ll loudly greet them, “Friend, how are you recently?” His “friends” don’t respond. Some pull out a cell phone and intentionally ignore him. Others impatiently wave at him, and say in a combination of Chinese and English: “If you’re not buying anything, then go… quickly GO!”
It seems friendship only exists between the Africans.
While many poor black traders struggle with racism, Bill Dodson, General Manager of Asia Base A/S and author of the This is China! blog, states in his 2007 post “Black Like Me in China” that he has never encountered racism in five years of living and working in China. Dodson claims that the only color the Chinese see is green:
The bottom line in today’s China: “money talks”. Chinese are equal opportunity opportunists. If you’ve clearly got money and are interested in doing a business transaction with them, they don’t care the color of your skin or the origin of ancestry.
Dodson does acknowedge that the Chinese have their stereotypes of dark-skinned Africans, but these stereotypes are free of a history of institutionalized slavery (and enforced political correctness). If China truly is replacing America as a world superpower, it remains to be seen how the Chinese will react to the inevitable consequence of cornering the world economy– can China be the world’s new melting pot?
On the flip side, some ambitious Chinese entrepreneurs are trying to make it in Africa. For more, see here.