Thank You


I found your blog through another Black American female traveler’s site. I was really curious to read your blog because of your ethnic background, gender and the fact that you live in China. I guess after reading your blog I discovered something about myself…my own ignorance in regards to a Black woman who is willingly living in the People’s Republic of China…never would have believed it until I read it. Even though I do not know you I have a lot of respect for you by moving to a foreign country, willingly facing the inequalities head on by being a person of color in a foreign land and slowly changing the negative views of Black people, dating outside of your race (kudos), and taking the time to share your life with us in a country that many find intriguing
Thank you!
Thank you so much for your comment and I needed that on this Thanksgiving Day, with me being so far from home getting a comment like this really makes it worthwhile.

I was always told by my grandmother

To never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something,  You can achieve anything if you set your mind to it.

I guess my life here in China.. proves that she was soooo.. right.  Often times, particularly as a Black American woman, I get snide comments and stereotypes thrown my way, more so in China.    But I just continue to hold my head up, thru the stares and pointing.  However, sometimes it gets difficult and lonely… but when I see comments like this one it brightens my day.  I am so happy that I could help enlighten you by only sharing my experiences.  I honestly feel if I can help people with what I do with my life, then I have left my mark and I am so thankful.

Which brings me to the things I am thankful for…

On this Thanksgiving day want to say ..I am thankful to my husband, who goes through as much as I do to have our life here together, I am thankful to my children for their patience and maturity for me being so far from them for the holidays, I am thankful to my family and friends that stay in touch with me and lend a hand even if I did not ask for one…. And to all my readers… your comments, advice  and support .. keep me sane… and laughing.   I will keep sharing and keep experiencing life.   Thank You!!!

Until next time…..


21 thoughts on “Thank You

  1. chen gang

    Hi, Jo:

    I grew up in Tianjing and Beijing until 26 then went to the US and stayed. I want to say that I really appreciate and admire your attitude towards life — being a black woman and living in a country in which many people have reservations against black people (at least when I was in China). You seem genuinely enjoying your life in a small city in China.

    I share your feeling on the sense of belonging — I feel I am neither a Chinese nor an American ( I have been in the US for 20 years), but what matters most is the people in your community, because we both value human beings first then nationality. Through your interactions with the Chinese people, I think you help profoundly changing people’s perceptions about black people — most Chinese people associate black people either with the hoop stars or the criminals you see in the Hollywood movies.

    I also think your husband is extraordinarily open-minded and a very nice person after reading your blog entries. I know very few Chinese guys marrying to out of race woman in the US, and never know anyone who marries to a black woman.

    Please keep up the good work, I know I will keep reading your very interesting experiences in China.

    best wishes,

    Chen Gang

    1. @Chen… thank you so much for commenting… yes you know first hand how hard it can be…. for me over here. I think i have made some good friends and have a very supportive husband… it has helped me over come a lot of the hardships that i could be facing right now. I thank you for reading my blog… and for the support.

  2. V


    The exchanges between you and Jack have been enlightening. I’m glad you responded to each of his comments. Like I’ve said in the past, whenever I visit your blog, I always learn something. Thanks again.

  3. Jack

    A belated happy thanksgiving to you too! 😀

    About the snide comments and stereotypes thrown at you, its because there are so few black people in China you, so the lack of exposure is a factor to this, plus China has 4+ TIMES (13.4 BILLION) people than America, so of course you get “more” of everything statistically speaking.. 😀

    But generally I would say China is a far FAR more tolerant society than America. Case in point – how many race related hate crimes happen in America DAILY ?? ( And compare that to how many in China? Remember, China has 4.5 times MORE people than America, almost entirely homogeneous (90% Han, 99.9% east asians) and has only “beginning” to expose to the outside world for the past 2 decades (Think 1930 America), it “should” have far more hate crimes than America statistically. But it doesn’t.

    I found it sad that many people ignore these facts, and believe in the western media bias to portray China as the “most racist and intolerant society”. Sure it is far FAR from being perfect, but it certainly is not as bad these media had portrayed.

    1. @jack… in regards to what you said about hate crimes… it will change when more foreigners are here… the reason there isnt a lot now.. because there arent a lot of foreigners here. But as more come, there will be more and more. People always say because there are so many people .. blah, blah…the problem is so many uneducated people…. As a black American… who have had to deal with race my whole life… never have I had people pointing and staring at me… like here. I have never seen advertisements that say ..”white teachers only” in my lifetime.. until I came here… As I mentioned before… both countries have good and bad aspects… but it is not fair to try to compare the two in race relations.. because there is mostly only one race here…. like apples and oranges… honey..

      1. Jack

        I think you take pointing and staring as an insult, maybe they are just curious because of your particular fashsion style :). I think the important difference you need to learn about Chinese culture is “intent”. Many chinese might be ‘crass’ (pointing out you are fat, tall, or any physical difference. Hey I got that too even though I am Chinese, but their intention is for your own good, not of to jeer at you), but majority do not have any malicious intentions when they do that – where as in western society especially in America, it is often malicious, they really want to hurt you because you are different.
        Again, racist hate crimes happen in America on daily basis, but does not happen in China. I think speculating something that doesn’t happen is a weak argument and you know it 😉

        In regard to education – regardless of being “educated” or not, it is not something “education” can “fix”, if you don’t believe me, have a look at how Republican’s racists attacks on Obama, and how harden their supporters are (a whopping 33% of the America!), with many with higher educations and qualifications.

        The truth is, education only teach people to “hide” their racist attitude better.
        It doesn’t really change who they are.

        I was actually just reading about Lou Jing now, while in the western media (such as CNN/BBC) which painted China as the most “racist country” in their report, UK’s Telegraph who actually interviewed Lou Jing has this piece:

        Historically, China has been very intolerant society – itself been a “mix-race” itself (Han/Manchu/Mongolian) with Arabian traders who eventually settled and mixed with Chinese to become the Hui people which practice muslim religion in China) to the Jews (Kaifeng Jew) and Roman Legions.

        1. @Jack.. you know I asked my students if they thought it was rude to point and stare at other Chinese people on the street.. they said it is rude we dont point at each other like that … I said then why do they do it to foreigners? It is easy to justify WHY.. it happens with what ever answer .. however, when you are the one being pointed at everyday, and stared at everyday…. there is only so much tolerance you can have.. one day you will just snap… which is what several of my foreign teachers have done in the past. They just cant handle the alienation that comes with living in China. I myself have to psychic myself up before I go outside everyday. It just gets that bad… Here it isnt as much as Black, White,… it is more Foreigner or not Foreigner. The Chinese people here are very judgemental… it maybe different in a larger city .. but where I am … they will stand and stare at you with their mouth open. I even had to move one of my Black Teachers from her apartment because the neighbors complained that her blackness scared them. .. I know you are trying to say… it isnt as bad as America.. but… actually it is very bad here. I have just learned to adjust to it. I guess it is hard to explain to you .. how it feels when you encounter these things day after day. But trust me.. it isnt the same as American racism….

      2. Jack

        Correction, I don’t mean racism doesn’t happen in China, I meant it doesn’t happen on the scale compare to America.

        Sure racism happen in China – there are actually many incidents of such Nanjing anti-African protests in 1988 which ironically led to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. But statistically, NOW, is racism really as bad in China as in America?

        1. @Jack.. I guess that depends on who you are asking .. doesnt it… ? If you ask Chinese people .. they would say NO.. but if you ask a Black person .. they would say … Yes… the feeling is worse. We know American racism… we know how to avoid those kinds of people for the most part… but in China… you cant avoid it.. it is everywhere….

      3. Jack

        Actually about the pointing and staring, if you read other expat blogs, EVERY expat says the same thing, its not just YOU. Is it racism? I don’t think so, I think its more to do with curiosity than anything else.

        However I would tell you MY experience growing up in Australia, as an asian, where I was physically attacked, being called names on the street (the usual Ching-chong Chinaman, gook, chink), giving fingers and telling me to “go back where I came from”. I was beaten unconcious when I was 13 on a busy street by a group of young men; and had people trying to run me over with their car a few times on the street, and even beer bottles thrown at me from speeding car. These were just MY personal experience. I have also been accused of “taking the job from local” even though I am Australian, I paid the tax here like everyone else, and I serve this country like everyone else.

        Again, I think its all down to the “intent” – if people are just making a light hearted joke, or generally being curious, I am fine with that. But if they are not, then its generally bad. Its how you read the situation and people’s intent.

        1. @Jack.. you dont think it is racism against foreigners? and How do you know someone’s intent? …. I am sure if you came back to China you would also be treated differently… especially now that you are Australian. I am not saying there arent some nice Chinese people.. I married one.. hehehe… but.. I am saying that … They may be too afraid of us to actually touch us… but that doesnt mean they want us in their family.. or their home. Can you honestly say that your parents would be happy if you brought home a black girl and said you wanted to marry her?

      4. Jack

        This is actually pretty funny we are arguing about racism here. It reminds me of Monty Python’s Life of Brian…. “YOU LUCKY BASTARD!” What I wouldn’t give to be pointed and stare at!”…. 😀
        Watch :

        Actually, my parents are very open minded and maybe that’s why it hurts so bad when I experienced racism growing up. I would love to bring home a black girl and I am sure my parents would be thrilled! The problem is, the girls I am interested in are not interested in me (is that a form of racism too?) because they believe the media bias against asian men. So, even black girls wouldn’t date me because I am asian. What’s the deal here?

      5. Jack

        Another point about pointing and staring, you are absolutely right, if your student think its impolite to do so to fellow Chinese, they shouldn’t do it to foreigners. Again, I think majority do it just out if CURIOSITY. Nothing malicious about it. Because they are simply curious.

        BUT REVERSE IS TRUE TOO – IS IT POLITE FOR YOU TO TAKE PHOTO OF PEOPLE WITHOUT ASKING? Like you said in your other blog post – you seem to take delight in taking photo of China / Chinese like so many expats whose only intention of taking those photos are to jeer at or mock China or Chinese people. Think about it. There is a difference in the intent. One is of the innocent curiosity, the other, not so.

        And even being Black (American), I am sure you get “foreigner privileges” as you had mentioned in your blog – high paying job, being know it all of all things western… again, (in Monty Python voice) “what I wouldn’t give to be in your shoe!” 😀

      6. Jack

        As Chinese, I get none of that. None of the “foreigner privileges” (“OH WHAT I WOULDN’T GIVE TO….”). Nor do I get any of the minority privileges! (I am sure you know what they are… Affirmative action that exist in many countries – eg. America, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, England….etc etc that reward / advantages the minority except CHINESE) As a matter of fact, Chinese get none of the advantages as minority, but ALL the disadvantages as minority (racism). Its a reason why Chinese/Asian have hard working ethics because we don’t expect to be given ANY of the privileges except obstacle and disadvantages thrown our way. There are laws that tried to exclude the Chinese in every country, and to be disadvantaged at seeking higher education or jobs (to give more places to white and other minorities)…generally asian (particularly Chinese) are treated worse than any other race.

  4. Great post. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    You (almost) make me want to live somewhere else. I think about it, but I don’t know if I could adjust as well as you. Whenever I travel after 3 days or 3 weeks, I cannot wait to go home. Maybe the difference is when you have something to stay for. Your husband sounds like a really great guy. Good for you.

  5. Pingback: Things I have learned in China 2011 « Life Behind The Wall

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