Playing into the stereotype

From Postsecret:

Postsecret - Chinese

Whenever I make a trip to the large ASDA (a Tesco/Walmart-like supermarket for those not in the UK) near where I live, there’s always a group of Chinese lining the walkway outside, selling counterfeit DVDs.

Yes, how stereotypical.

Seeing things like that, we really can’t blame people for seeing the Chinese (or immigrants in general) as contributing to crime and defacing a community.

Yet, at the same time, I have to give it to them. As annoying as it sounds, wherever the Chinese go, they’ve always manage to make some money, survive, and eventually do well for themselves. Open a restaurant, work as a cook, sell counterfeit DVDs, clean hotel rooms, whatever. The fact is, they are always willing to do whatever grunt work they can get to survive; they save whatever money they can; and they rebuild their lives in an environment previously completely new to them.

But I walked past those DVD sellers with contempt.

If there’s one or two of them, then fine. But I walked by the other night and there are 2 rows of them lining the street. The last thing I want is for people to see me and to associate me with them.

Have I ever bought fake stuff? Oh yes I have. Do I download movies and shows from the internet? Oh yes I do.

But for some reason, I’m not sure if it’s because of the environment that is London, I find myself more aware of race issues: how the different races are represented, and how people see us.

(And only a short while ago was I saying that everyone here is white!

In Shrewsbury, yes, everyone I saw is white. In Godalming, in pubs, Nasty’s friends, yes, everyone I’ve come across is white. I guess it just depends on where I go.)

And so, I am not about to let a small group of people trying to make a quick buck bring down the image of the people my face represents.

Then I read this article on the BBC, and I feel less contempt towards them. I realize that those same people are illegal immigrants who got here through snakeheads and are trying to make some money to repay their debts and send money back home.

I’m not sure what I feel or what my point is.

Sometimes, I feel like I have to prove something here. That I’m not just another lame-ass from China.

Not that I identify that much with China anyways. So what am I saying?

I have not (yet) worked in a Chinese takeway, I have not (yet) sold counterfeit DVDs. (!!!) And Nasty was like, well there’s a job for you then, go join your fellow comrades!

Oh yeah, it does appear to be a big part of overseas Chinese culture doesn’t it? Standing in dodgy street corners selling bootleg cigarettes; chopping veggies in the back of a Chinese restaurant…Perhaps it’s about time I “embrace my heritage” and join my fellow countrymen. *ahem*

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