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Topic ClosedWestern views of Africans and African descendants

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 11:14
The Shanghai ranking Index is very highly regarded. We can also consult that to be certain of a ranking that filters out Western-centrism.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 11:26
Still, the issue of language has for long hampered Chinese Academia in an international perspective.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 11:32
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Still, the issue of language has for long hampered Chinese Academia in an international perspective.


I am not sure of your meaning here, could you please explain how?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 11:54
Originally posted by Terri Ann Terri Ann wrote:

I agree with Calvo - what do we in the West know about the real Africa and Africans?  Personally I know almost nothing except what I read in newspapers - which for some strange reason veers to bad news and bad events.  Makes me wonder what African newspapers have to say about Europeans and Americans!

I've often thought that the news that we get about countries like Austria & Denmark is on parallel with what we get from much of SS Africa. Actually, I'm sure I hear more about South Africa and Kenya.
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Can anyone here name me a world renowned African university or research center? One that anyone here would choose to send their children to, if they were approved for admission at some modest level Western university, say Queens University Belfast?  (Universities in South Africa where the language of instruction is English or Afrikaans do not count.)

Ahmed Baba institute, Al Azhar.
I'd go to them over Belfast (which I hadn't heard of).

Can you name any East or South Asian universities?

Edited by Omar al Hashim - 07 Aug 2009 at 12:56
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 12:17
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

Still, the issue of language has for long hampered Chinese Academia in an international perspective.


I am not sure of your meaning here, could you please explain how?
 
Earlier, since they mostly published their results in chinese, that research werent so much noticed internationally and it did not reach the big international scientific magazines. I have heard more than one chinese academic complain over that the west knows to little about chinese research. The same is said about for example literature that the Swedish Academy, who awards the nobel lauerates in literature, do not read chinese literature because of language (only one of the members in the Academy reads chinese). And when finally a chinese speaqking author got the nobel prize it was an aouthor living outside China. Some Chinese also interprets that choice as a sort of political marking against China.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 12:55
That's true for literature, in Engineering the Chinese unis are up there with everyone else (but I admit to having read some papers with very poor english from china where I haven't done so from anywhere else)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 13:27
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

If one looks on TV and reads newspapers, and also listen to some discussions, one gets the impression that many people here in the west believes that Africans are rather simple and primitive people.

I was amused by the Belgian Army museum in Brussels.  About 25 years ago, they had a series of military mannequins, dioramas and paintings depicting battles etc. in Belgian Congo.
 
Mannequins or paintings showing hostile Africans were all short with obviously exaggerated dark skin, lips and noses. Everything about their displays from the pottery to the way they grasped their spears suggested primitive "cave men" on a "quest for fire".
 
Meanwhile, Africans in Belgian service were depicted as being tall, light complected and with European facial features. In addition to numerous battle dioramas, there was a diorama or painting on the Belgian Army constructing schools. The light complected African soldiers were shown either playing games with children or presenting books to joyous villagers. 
 
Likewise, the displays on a campaign against Arab slavers depicted Arabs in the process of raiding an African village with obviously exaggerated expressions of glee and lust. Thankfully, the Belgians and the light complected Africans arrived to save the day.


Edited by Cryptic - 07 Aug 2009 at 17:59
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 13:38
I suppose that museum had no diorama with soldiers in the service of belgian king Leopold II hacking the hands of villagers for not being able to fulfill the daily qoute of rubber or other products?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 13:52
Glad to see Carcha has change his crussade from continent.

Edited by pinguin - 07 Aug 2009 at 13:52
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 13:53
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

I suppose that museum had no diorama with soldiers in the service of belgian king Leopold II hacking the hands of villagers for not being able to fulfill the daily qoute of rubber or other products?
No, but a proposed diorama of psychopathic Europeans with exaggerated expressions of greed mutilating innocent Africans while staring with lust at African maidens would just be a reverse of the bias already found at the museum.
 
Whatever abuses there were in Belgian Congo, amputating the hands of slow workers were probably not one of them.  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 14:15
On the contray, the amputating of hands was common practice. It afflicted slow workers but more often the headman for the village that were given a certain amount of rubber or other thing that it had to deliver. Also women and children were amputaded in this way.
The practice started when there were armed incidents. By cutting the hands of slain enemies the soldiers could show how many enemies they killed. After a while though the custom spread and also living people were amputated for various reasons.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 14:40
By the way do you know if the Belgian Army museum in Brussels still have those military mannequins, dioramas and paintings?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 16:11
Omar, in re:  "Can you name any East or South Asian universities?"

Sort of a trick question given that I lived in Asia for nearly eight years. I lived near, used facilities, or worked with people who had attended the following: Seoul National University, Catholic Univ. of Korea, Dankook Univ., Ewha Women's Univ. (wife used their clinic), Gwangju Univ. Hankook Univ., Hongik Univ., Kookmin Univ., Sejong Univ. (no-brainer as King Sejong's image is on the Korean Won), Sookmyung Women's Univ. (subway stop up from work), and Yonsei University (Avoid getting your teeth done at their Dental School - ouch!). Others I heard about through colleagues: Kim Il-sung Univ (N. Kor), a real Univ. despite the name. Kyoto Univ. (Japan), Singapore National University (Some really great research papers on S.E.A.), Taiwan National Univ., City Univ. of Hong Kong, Australian National University (faculty included Dr. Li Tana, an expert in Indochina and SEA, and Dr. Andrei Lankov, now at Kookmin in Korea, an expert in North Korea.)

As for Africa, the only universities I could name are Stellenbosch, Witwatersrand, Univ. of the Western Cape, and the University of South Africa, this last a respected extension University I once seriously considered for my own degree. (They have a good website, by the way.)

A ranking of African universities can be found here. Note that all of Africa's top universities are found in SA., thanks to an Afrikaaner respect for education. The unfortunate truth is that the same people who gave the continent apartheid, also gave it the best universities.    http://www.webometrics.info/top100_continent.asp?cont=africa


Edited by lirelou - 07 Aug 2009 at 16:14
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 16:30
Carcharodon, in re: "One reason most of us cannot name any African universities is that we do not get any info about them here in the west."

You don't get any information on them because you don't look for it. It's not your professor's job to spoon feed you information. It's your job to get out and find it. I received my first UNISA catalogue in 1970, thanks to a trip to the library and the postal service. It was not difficult. The frank truth is that there is not much interest in African universities because of their low rankings. To a westerner, it may sound exotic to add "University of Zambia" to one's list of degrees, but for Afirca's best and brightest, Western universities are preferred. Not only for their "cachet", but for the opportunities that attendence at such schools open.

Also, in re:  "Still, the issue of language has for long hampered Chinese Academia in an international perspective."

You don't think that the cultural revolution had any effect? You think that, perhaps, Chinese education miraculously bounded back? Were your assertion true, all Asian universities would be similarly hampered. Yet South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan managed very well. So, hint hint, it wasn't language. China is now catching up, but you don't inflict what the cultural revolution inflicted on China without seriously derailing your educational system and the economy needed to support it.


Edited by lirelou - 07 Aug 2009 at 16:43
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 16:44

I am sure one can find them if one look for them, so is it with most things. I was more referring to the media who all the time gives us info about different research projects from famous universities in the US and Europe. Also popular culture refers often to places like Oxford, Cambridge, UCLA, MIT and so on. But when saw one last time some film which referred to the University of Dar es Salaam?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 17:17
Carcharodon, How about the Botswana Secretarial School?

The only thing I know about Botswana, was picked up watching a series in Home Box Office called "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency", one or whose characters is a graduate of that institution. That sort of shoots holes in most of the arguments you've tried to make here. Perhaps the real ignorance of the African continent and its realities lies in your own mind. You can't just read a single polemic, however well written but flawed it may be, and become an expert on an entire continent. And it's nice that you want to stand up the rubber workers, but they are long dead. Africa is faced with new issues not, mostly of their own making. The last thing in the world that they need is another "white champion".  "TIA, broer, TIA"

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 17:36
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

On the contray, the amputating of hands was common practice. It afflicted slow workers but more often the headman for the village that were given a certain amount of rubber or other thing that it had to deliver. Also women and children were amputaded in this way.
The practice started when there were armed incidents. By cutting the hands of slain enemies the soldiers could show how many enemies they killed. After a while though the custom spread and also living people were amputated for various reasons.Pic from: http://www.answers.com/topic/king-leopold-ii
The amputation was practiced in Sierra Leone by the rebel groups in the 1990s.
There were 2 options: long-sleeve or short-sleeve.
I'd leave it to your imagination as to what they mean.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 17:46

On the whole, I must say that Africans and African descendants are still the people who suffer the most discrimination worldwide, mostly because of 2 things:

- the slavery past
- today, Sub-Saharan Africa is still the poorest part of the world
 
What I'm amazed is that I've often hear blatantly racist statements against "blacks" coming from people who have absolutely no connection or no dealings with "black people" whatsoever.
 
The other day, I was at dinner at a friend's place, and his had a Senegalese family as his neighbours. One of the dinner guests said: "I hope that these dark-skinned gentuza (scum) don't start moving into my neighbourhood".
Amazingly, the person who said that has never been near a black person in his life.
 
On other ocasions, I've met Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners, and Chinese people who make blatantly racist statements about "blacks" and how they wish to keep away from them, yet they've never encountered these people.
 
Other ethnic groups, such as Jews, Arabs, Moors, Mexicans, Indians, Rumanians, Ecuardoreans, or Chinese might face discrimination in certain countries, but almost always from nationalities who have a historical grudge against them.
Only black africans face rejection from a large sector of the ignorant population no matter in Europe, Asia, America, or the Middle East.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 18:08
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

By the way do you know if the Belgian Army museum in Brussels still have those military mannequins, dioramas and paintings?
I do not know. They were there about 25 years ago when I visited.  The mannequins looked old and were possibly made in the 1950s or even earlier. 
 
I imagine that the mannequins have probably been changed (they tended to have the most obviously exagerrated African features or romanticized European features) and would have drawn the most complaints.  Most, or perhaps all of the paintings may still be there though.


Edited by Cryptic - 07 Aug 2009 at 20:06
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 18:28

Calvo i have a large circle of friends from different backgrounds of the world and not once have any of them displayed any kind of discrimination towards me or eachother. If you go looking for racist folks you will find them doesn't matter their skin color and origins.

This thread is beginning to divert into one where African countries are nothing more than a helpless mass of children that need to be saved, which is ridicilous. Africans are the ones who are responsible for their countries failures or triumphs. Malawi ignored western designs on it's agricultural industry and because of that is now producing surplus.  Zimbabwe ejected a large community of skilled farmers based on their skincolor without having anything alternative (to those skilled workers) in place and now they suffering because of that rash decision. 
 
The media thing to be honest is also silly to me, Hollywood didn't make movies like ''Hero'' or ''House of Flying Daggers'', Chinese production companies did!  Even one of the largest grossing movies in History features Morgan Freeman as an inventor and engineer.
     
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 18:50
No, I don't go around looking for racist people. In fact, most of my friends are not racist.
Nevertheless, I hear these comments come from acquaintances: workmates, neighours, friends's friends, cousins, family friends etc.., people whose company I don't choose. This shows that these prejuidices are present in the minds of many people on the streets.
One of my friends who is Finnish is married to a Camaruneseand has a baby. She said that when she took her baby daughter back to Finnland, she got verbal abuses from kids on the streets.
In Spain, there's also a lot of negative comments about Gypsies and Moors, probably more so than Blacks.
The case is; some of the anti-black statements I've heard have come from the people who have the
least right to say it; such as a Rumanian barman, a Chinese grocery store owner, and a Brasilian flatmate that I once had.
 
The main problem is that most of Africa is poor, so people tend to automatically associate Black africa with poverty. I'm sure that if one day the world's greatest economic power is in Sub-Saharan africa, most of these prejudices will dissappear.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 19:00
Calvo i didn't mean to insinuate that you and your friends are a racist bunch, do accept my apologies if that's what you deduced from my previous reply. What i had in mind was more of the sort that goes to a country with a people very different from their own and then paints the entire population as 'racist' because they bumped into one or two bigots during their trip. Secondly Africans aren't without their prejudges to people from other continents either.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 19:02

Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

Carcharodon, How about the Botswana Secretarial School?

The only thing I know about Botswana, was picked up watching a series in Home Box Office called "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency", one or whose characters is a graduate of that institution.

 

That sort of shoots holes in most of the arguments you've tried to make here. Perhaps the real ignorance of the African continent and its realities lies in your own mind. You can't just read a single polemic, however well written but flawed it may be, and become an expert on an entire continent. And it's nice that you want to stand up the rubber workers, but they are long dead. Africa is faced with new issues not, mostly of their own making. The last thing in the world that they need is another "white champion".  "TIA, broer, TIA"

http://www.hbo.com/no1ladiesdetectiveagency/

 

Well, maybe its some differencies between countries, here in Sweden they do not show so much of those things.

Mostly they do not show many fiction TV shows or similar that depicts Africa at all (more than Tarzan and similar of course).

And serious documentaries about African research, science and similar are even more rare. Sometimes there are more documentaries on African wildlife than about African people. And if there are documentaries those are mostly about negative things:  female mutilation, AIDS, conflicts, pirates and similar.

 

And what  polemic you talk about I do not know. And the rubber tappers lives in Belgian Congo I mostly mentioned because the museum in Brussels came up.

 



Edited by Carcharodon - 07 Aug 2009 at 19:09
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 19:46
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

Calvo i didn't mean to insinuate that you and your friends are a racist bunch, do accept my apologies if that's what you deduced from my previous reply. What i had in mind was more of the sort that goes to a country with a people very different from their own and then paints the entire population as 'racist' because they bumped into one or two bigots during their trip. Secondly Africans aren't without their prejudges to people from other continents either.
 
Apologies accepted.
 
The point I was trying to make is that most prejudices and bigotry against certain nationality and ethnic groups come from negative personal experiences with these people, or a historical grudge of one's nationality agains these people. In no way do I justify these prejudices, but I could understand more the reason if an Armenian talks badly of Turks, a Palestinian of Jews, a Russian of Chechens, a Bosniak of Serbs, a Christian Sudanese of Muslim Sudanese, a Georgian or Russians, a Spaniard of Gypsies etc..., because there is a personal or cultural background to this conflict of nations.
 
What I find unacceptable is that a rather large minority of ignorant people from all over the world have a certainly bigotry against "blacks" when they've never dealth with Africans, nor has their nationality ever had a problem with them.  They reject Africans just because they are black and full stop.
 
Strangely enough, I haven't met so many people with a similar rejection towards East Asians, Arabs, Indians, Europeans, or Latin Americans just because they are what they are. The reason could only be that Africa is poor, so people automatically associate Africans with primitive tribalism, poverty, war, and corruption.
 
The only other population which I've seen people have a similar "unjustified" aversion to are the Jews. I've heard so many anti-Jewish comments come from the mouths of people who have never met a Jew in their lives!
 
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 20:37
I get what your saying, it would be weird for a Japanese guy to display bigotry towards all Egyptians when there is little history (good or bad) between these two groups. It's bandwagonism or simple spite,  just recently a fellow AE member made the ridicilous statement that most men on this planet found a specific group of women from a region in Africa ''unattractive''.  The people you provided in your examples usually have a hierarchal system that covers the entire world, so you will see them grovel to those they perceive as powerful while degrade those they consider below them or unworthy.
 
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 21:11
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

...
What I find unacceptable is that a rather large minority of ignorant people from all over the world have a certainly bigotry against "blacks" when they've never dealth with Africans, nor has their nationality ever had a problem with them.  They reject Africans just because they are black and full stop.
 
Strangely enough, I haven't met so many people with a similar rejection towards East Asians, Arabs, Indians, Europeans, or Latin Americans just because they are what they are. The reason could only be that Africa is poor, so people automatically associate Africans with primitive tribalism, poverty, war, and corruption.
...
 
There is nothing strange about the causes of bigotry at all. To underestand it, though, you have to open your mind and let the prejudices besides. If you expect people should act in a given way, and discard theirs oppinion because you judge those show ignorance, then you will never understand why people discriminate.
 
My experience is that people have many reason for discriminate: language, customs, culture, religion, political, even the soccer team they belong. In the case of Black Africans, though, they may be discriminated because those reasons as well, that true. However, the main cause of discrimination against Blacks is pure and simple the physical aspect. It is not ignorance or anything like that what causes that reaction. Is simply the archaic and ancestral warring attitude of the ancient tribes that attacked the strangers as a matter of survival. Today the "different" aren't attacked but many time simply ignored.
That behavoir is displayed in animals of different species. I believe that's the cause Blacks are discriminated in many groups is because they look different from locals.
Actually, Asians and Whites could also be discriminated in Africa because the same reason.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 21:30
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

My experience is that people have many reason for discriminate: language, customs, culture, religion, political, even the soccer team they belong. In the case of Black Africans, though, they may be discriminated because those reasons as well, that true. However, the main cause of discrimination against Blacks is pure and simple the physical aspect. It is not ignorance or anything like that what causes that reaction. Is simply the archaic and ancestral warring attitude of the ancient tribes that attacked the strangers as a matter of survival. Today the "different" aren't attacked but many time simply ignored.
That behavoir is displayed in animals of different species. I believe that's the cause Blacks are discriminated in many groups is because they look different from locals.
 
  I completely disagree with you, but I'd rather not enter into a discussion with you.
 
Black Africans look as different to Europeans as East Asians do. How come is that in many nightclubs in Europe Black Africans have difficulties getting in, and East Asians do not?
In a same way, a Swede or Norwegian would stick out in Spain and Italy as much as a Nigerian; how come people never complain about having Swedish and Norwegian neighbours, but they do complain about Nigerian?
 
I heard that in China, when a white guy dates a Chinese girl, they say "what an exotic boyfriend", when a black guy dates a Chinese girl, many of her friends and family would strongly dissaprove.
 
I think the ecomomic factor weighs far more than physical aspect. I've heard many negative comments against black Africans made by people who had never met them; yet these people usually don't express any rejection (or a far weaker rejection) towards East Asians and Northern Europeans.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 22:12

What do you think is irrelevant. What matters is what you observe in practice. Actually, I bet you know the answer already of why the discrimination against Blacks is stronger than Chinese. It is just looks.

In Latin America there are places like DR, Cuba and Brazil with lot of mixed people between African and European, but still 400 years afterward the discrimination exist. Explain me that.

Edited by pinguin - 07 Aug 2009 at 22:14
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 22:25
Calvo, in re: "I heard that in China, when a white guy dates a Chinese girl, they say "what an exotic boyfriend", when a black guy dates a Chinese girl, many of her friends and family would strongly disapprove."

You have been brutally misinformed. Asian women going out with non-Asians is a sore point among peoples who views themselves as a "superior" race, or members of a "superior" culture, and that attitude extends to all non-Asians. Occasionally, even mixed married couples get assaulted on the streets of Korea, but the attitude is not just Korean.  I've read accounts of it in China, and experienced it in Vietnam. If you followed Asian expat blogs, you would have seen some lengthy discussions on this. I normally recommend the "Marmot's Hole" (rjkoehler.com) in Korea, but the Metropolitician's blog (http://metropolitician.blogs.com/scribblings_of_the_metrop/) is probably the best place for getting a feel of Asian attitudes towards Blacks. The blog owner is an African-American living and teaching in Korea, and his posts should have some responses from Whites who have experienced the same, though there is a stronger prejudice towards Blacks. The Metro's politician Podcast #25 gives his view of being Black in Korea.


Edited by lirelou - 07 Aug 2009 at 22:27
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 22:29
 
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

What do you think is irrelevant. What matters is what you observe in practice. Actually, I bet you know the answer already of why the discrimination against Blacks is stronger than Chinese. It is just looks.

In Latin America there are places like DR, Cuba and Brazil with lot of mixed people between African and European, but still 400 years afterward the discrimination exist. Explain me that.
 
Here you go again, you're claiming that there're more discrimination towards Africans because most people instinctively find them ugly....... this is one of the most ridiculous statements I've come across for a long time.
 
Anyway, I shall argue with you no more, as most discussions with you get nowhere. But I'm just letting you know that it's not because I agree with you.
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