“Have you ever met a black person?” I asked. “No,” she answered without hesitation.
“Have you ever even spoken to a black person?” Again, without any reservation, she said, “no.”
The vast majority of Chinese people you meet on the streets of Guangzhou have probably never interacted with someone of another race or ethnicity.
She then went on to explain that the only black people she has ever seen are in Hollywood movies and in almost every movie the black person is the violent, bloodthirsty bad guy who hurts people. “So I know what I see from the movies and I just don’t want to take any chances,” she explained with that “duh” look at me as if I was the idiot!
That night I went to a movie theater to try and see the world not as an American who grew up in a multicultural environment but someone who is ethnic Chinese. I saw the Sylvester Stallone movie “Cliffhanger” (totally dating myself here, I know) and sure enough guess who was the bad guy who tried to kill the white movie superstar? Yup, the main black character! Not only that, he had blood dripping from his teeth and depicted to be not only violent but immoral, and since that was the ONLY black character in the film, it highlights just how racist American films have been and continue to be today in their depictions of black and brown people.
As China engages the world and more of the world comes to China, a lot of these views will likely begin to change. It will take time… so in the meantime, the best thing I can tell you is hang in there and good luck!