Prejudice in China

China as well as many of the countries I have visited hold many prejudices.  It seems that Western countries, Australian included, are the only ones that want to change this ignorant, prejudice way of thinking. Most of these countries believe the darker your skin, the more you’re destined to do a labor job. As an example, if you go to Mexico, you will see the dark skinned Mexicans cleaning the rooms and doing the maintenance.

Now with this is mind I would like to say that I am an American.  I am white and at the time of this incident was in my early 50’s. I never believed I would be the victim of prejudice. The job I do in China requires me to give a 10-15 minute talk at the begging of each presentation.  During this talk, I show a very fast 3 minute movie. I always stand on the side of the room waiting for it to finish.

We had potted plants placed strategically around the room. On this particular day I noticed one of the pots was broke with sharp edges sticking out of it.  I didn’t give it much thought and at the end of the movie I walked to the front of the room. I must have unintentionally brushed the pot with my leg as I walked by. It was obviously cut. The question was how bad.  During the rest of the presentation I kept looking at the floor to see if  any blood was dripping from my leg.

After my talk, I walked to the back of the room and lifted up my pants leg.  The blood had filled my shoe and had completely saturated my talk.  My co workers watched and seemed to think it was much worse than I thought it was.

All of the companies I work for employ a translator for me.  These are usually young girls right out of university. They are basically on call 24 hours a day in case I have a problem or need their help.  Pretty nice set up for me as they would go with me to buy grocery’s, get my haircut, hail taxi’s and basically be my voice where I don’t speak or understand their language.

So my translator freaks out.  She has never seen someone cut and bleeding as bad as I was.   I called the boss and told him of my problem and we were off to the hospital. Now going to a Chinese hospital is a story all on its own.  There are no doctors offices as we know them in the West and there are always thousands of people there.  Se we sit and wait.  Me in my suit and my translator, whom I’m sure everyone thought was my girlfriend wherever we went, getting more anxious as the minutes went by.

It was finally my turn and we went into the office that specializes in stitching people up.  I’ve had many stitches during my life and knew it would take about 3-5 stitches to close this up and stop the bleeding. I pulled up my pant leg to show my wound and thought I was in luck because the doctor spoke English. I looked at him and said, it should only take a few stitches to which he said. “You need to go a different hospital, your a foreigner and I don’t help foreigners.”

My mouth must have dropped open a little as he turned away and went to another patient that was calmly waiting for him.  My translator started crying and yelling at the doctor.  “Does he have a different body than us?”  Etc. Etc.  I looked at him and said. “Why don’t you just sell me the U shaped needle and I can stitch it up my self?”  Cuts like that are usually numb after you cut them and stitching them up is not that painful.  The hardest part is making sure it doesn’t get infected and finding that U shaped needle.

The conversation between him and my translator continued and I sat there watching all of this as if I was in a dream.  “Well this could be worse”. I thought. “This could be the early 1900’s.  I could be black and living in America. And, I could be hung in a tree because of no other reason than my skin color.

I can’t imagine what black people went through during this horrible time in American history and I apologize for every ignorant white person that has ever lived.  I truly wish the racist’s of America could experience something like this. Maybe then they would understand how it feels to be judged and persecuted for nothing more than the color of your skin. Its even harder for me to imagine what black paople go through living in a foreign country.

I have many black friends living in China and feel very fortunate to have been able to meet them. I can’t imagine what they go through living in a Foreign country and have the utmost respect for their bravery and resilience.  They have told me stories and believe me, ignorance around skin color and people that don’t look like them runs rampant.

So anyway, the doctor must have had enough because he stood up and walked out the door. His assistant looked at my translator and said.  “I’ll do it for him but we have to do it fast before he comes back.  He is my boss and I could get into a lot of trouble if he finds out.  He took me into a back room and very carefully cleaned the wound and put in three stitches, smiling and sending me out the door.  I have never been so thankful for the kindness of another.  So yes my friends, prejudice is alive and well in China as well as in most countries around the world.  Fortunately for us, there are always non ignorant people that are there to help us during our time of need and restore our faith in humanity.

The purest ignorance found on our planet today is in the form of prejudice.


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