When White Privilege Fails You

Hey boys and girls, something happened last night that invoked this post. As most of you that follow me on Facebook may know. I spend a lot of time with my Pinoy family here in China. I connect very closely to the Filipino community here, even more than I do to the Americans that come here. But that’s another post.

Anywho, we were doing our normal after party at the Chinese BBQ place we frequent and we brought along a White American guy with us who seemed to be around 58 to 60 yrs old and he had lived in China for 14 yrs. A little longer than me. Now, we know each other because I tend to stand out but we were not what you may call “friends” just acquaintances but he was friends with the band.

So, there were 8 of us – one Chinese friend, four Pinoy and three of us Americans; me being the only American of color. We were having a good time eating and drinking outside in the patio area, when a group of about 9 Chinese men showed up and sat at the next table. They were obviously drunk and the leader, a man that was pretty big for Chinese about 5’10 and with a pot belly that looked like it held another Chinese person in there. He was shouting at the workers and just being a rude asshole. We ignored them and kept talking Amongst ourselves.

Then it began to rain a little, light sprinkles. Our host the Chinese guy, who had invited us all to eat, asked the waiter to get us the big tent to cover the table. They proceeded to bring it out and open it but began to place it over the obnoxious guy’s table. When the waiter and a few other Chinese guys in his group suggested that they turn the tent to include us. (In Chinese) the leader of that group replied with disgust “fuck, them let the fucking foreigners get wet”. Now, most of us at the table spoke Chinese and several of us spoke very well and we all understood what he said very clearly.

I being the most vocal person of the group usually turned and said in Chinese “What did you say?” Now, that’s when my little Pinoy boyfriend said for me to ignore them. Let’s Just mind our own business, we don’t want trouble. Our Chinese friend suggested we just move our table to the other side of the tent. I loud said in English” I don’t want to share the tent with them. “ But it started raining a bit harder so they told me to calm down and get my ass under the tent.

We relocated to the spot under the tent and continued to eat. But the whole time we could hear the comments and jokes being made at our expense. I even heard them trying to get us to turn around. But I keep my anger in check and listened to my friend.

Well, the White American Male Guy decided he was going to get up and extend his hand of friendship to these angry Chinese men. So he purchased a rose from the street seller and went to their table to give it to the leader. He was met with a strongly worded “No, get away from me. I don’t like foreigners. “ He stood there in shock. Like he had never had anyone say they didn’t like him. He slowly came back to the table. He said to me “I can’t believe that happened to me. In 14 yrs of living in China no Chinese has ever told me the didn’t like me. I had to laugh because the look on his face was honestly shocked and disappointed. I told him “welcome to my life, In every country”.

So this seemed to really cause him some distressed because he kept talking about it. I told him… “hon, I know it’s new to you. And the fact that there is someone out here that doesn’t like you for a reason you can’t change hurts your feelings but this is what I have lived with my entire life you have to just let it go and move on. You can’t change someone’s believe when the hatred is so deep.

He began to talk about how friendly every one treated him in every country and how every Chinese usually lived him. I told him… “this is what happens when your White Privilege doesn’t work for You. “ He said” Jo, I honestly understand now. It really hurts and is insulting. I will never forget this. “

As the night moved on and the angry Chinese guy got louder. My little Pinoy boyfriend decided he had enough liquid courage and was going to try to talk to them. I begged him to leave it alone because I was not wanting to get into a fight at 4 am. But he assured me he was an entertainer and his face calmed people. I shook my head. So he stood up and turned around with a glass of beer and tried to do the traditional toast that Chinese do in friendship. The leader again announced “no I don’t like foreigners and stood up this time”.

But this time, our Chinese host stood up too. He said to the guy, “what’s your problem why don’t you like foreigners?” The leader proceeded to tell him that they were from Mongolia … our friend interrupted … Are you sure? …. the leader corrected himself … Inner Mongolia… and proceeded to tell him that foreigners were disrespectful to his country and his people. Our Chinese friend said loudly “ these are my friends and this is my city and you are the foreigner here. You show some respect to them”.

This seemed to sober up the leader a bit. It seems our Chinese friend pulled rank on him and he seemed to back down. The leader asked where my friends were from and when they told him he seem to accept them. Mind you, the leader still did not accept our White man friend and this was eating him up.

He said “so he can accept them and not us, fuckin asshole”. I just started laughing. I couldn’t help it. He was so pissed that no matter what he tried to say or do they were not accepting him.

Boy, oh boy… 2020 definitely Is the year of Changed .

Until next time……

8 thoughts on “When White Privilege Fails You

  1. taylor

    To me you wrote this story in chinese style. your older post are written differently.

    Culture is such a dynamic thing. I think whats been holding me back in my mandarin is I dont speak to enough chinese people, im not enmesh in it.

    1. I think writing changes when people change. I have been here 13 yrs now and I speak chinese 80% of the time. So I think it’s normal for people’s habits and thinking to change. I am not so new I know a lot more about chinese culture now. My family even thinks my accent has changed I sound more chinese or international some say. Although o don’t feel any different. You have to have some chinese friends to improve your chinese. Even some that don’t speak English. Most of my Chinese friends don’t speak English at all. Keep trying u will get it.

  2. Gary

    I might be mistaken, but the “anti – foreigner” rant by the obnoxious drunk was probably predicated on President Trump’s trade war, racist “Wuhan flu” comments, and his policy on HK.

  3. Aurolyn Lee

    Very interesting. I understand dealing with hostile bigoted individuals. You do have to rise above the occasion. There are always going to be people like the Inner Mongolian man. I agree with you, let it go, because they are not worth the trouble. Keep you head up.

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