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The worst of these threads generally devolved into a low-brow, expletive-laden conversation more appropriate for a bathroom stall. Back in , I discovered a post on a now-defunct blog authored by expats in Shanghai. These are very critical discussions that we need and should continue to have. But what about the conversations about expats themselves and their own homegrown stereotypes and prejudices about Asians and Chinese people? And sometimes, their dislike was just shocking. When will we as expats begin to confront these, our very own baggage that we inadvertently pack along with us in our overseas journeys to the Middle Kingdom?
I've experienced my share of cultural misunderstandings in my relationships in China, including my own marriage, and have even blogged about why it's actually harmful to ignore cultural differences in a cross-cultural relationship. Even Chinese-American men don't feel the love from their fellow Americans, lamenting this in essays such as " Are Asian Men Undateable? At the time I was only beginning to learn about negative stereotypes of Asian men that American TV, movies and the media had perpetuated over the years: There was a brief time when I tried combing these forums in search of discussions about dating Chinese men, hoping to gain some insights, but I soon gave that up. She tells me how she was instantly associated with being quiet, analytical and nice when she started working in London, and describes fighting for opportunities to speak and chair meetings. But I figured surely I wasn't alone in my feelings. Until popular culture's depiction of Asian women changes for the better, it's up to us to stop the stereotypes. In September -- my first month in China -- I had a huge crush on a guy. China's economic might makes stereotyping more 'acceptable', say experts She points to how British Chinese do well academically and professionally. Whenever anyone dared to broach the subject, usually someone would quickly pounce on the thread and sully it with some juvenile comment about Chinese men that wasn't all that different from that Long Duk Dong movie still. Yet a decade and a half later, I'm still pondering this issue. Whenever expats discuss racism in China, we usually focus on Chinese people and their racist attitudes such as the experience of being black in China. He always opened doors for me and wouldn't leave my side until he escorted me all the way to the entrance to my apartment. But what about the conversations about expats themselves and their own homegrown stereotypes and prejudices about Asians and Chinese people? Zhang's findings -- that Western women from around the world have consistently pejorative ideas about Chinese men -- remind me this isn't a problem confined to some insular expat circles in China. My husband posing with our nephew. This Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences professor surveyed over Western women from diverse countries including France, Germany and the USA via questionnaires, and then interviewed over 20 of them in a focus group in Shanghai. Back in , I discovered a post on a now-defunct blog authored by expats in Shanghai. But essentially, it told the actors to be patient. The experience of being in a foreign country and culture somehow liberated us from our usual American expectations for men and dating itself. We could try new things. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. He even watched The Bridges of Madison County with me -- one of the weepiest chick flicks ever made -- and actually shed a few tears when it ended. Negative impressions ultimately dominated as the women criticized Chinese men as "not so gentlemanly," "poor physique, not enough exercise," "no personality, lacking unique opinions," even condemning them on perceived personal hygiene problems. And I as I came to know him better, he didn't disappoint me. It's also 15 years since I first learned that most Western women in China refuse to date Chinese men. We could even reinvent ourselves and what it meant to be in love with someone.
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