Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Chinese food, Mexican food, Indian food. Boycott them all!

In contemporary America, it seems like every Republican, following their standard-bearer's lead, beats up on China, Mexico, and India--that these three countries are responsible for the stagnation/collapse of middle-class jobs and wages.

Forget the economic (il)logic for now.  Here's something to consider: How many of the rabid supporters of this POTUS will be able to name the heads of the governments of China, Mexico, and India?

Think about it.  What does it mean when people don't have a freaking idea about those leaders even as they beat up on those countries day after day?  Shouldn't they be familiar with their names as much as they know the name Putin?

Especially the Chinese president.  It might come as a surprise to most Americans that China is the world's largest economy.  Add to that its military might.  The names of Chinese leaders ought to be familiar even to high school students, right?  Like how everybody knew about the Cold War leaders on the Soviet side?

So, if you are a Chinese, what would you think?  My guess is that they will be pissed off at the Rodney Dangerfield treatment that they get from America and its people.  Do we really want to ignore and intentionally isolate them?
Mao was clearly petrified of closer ties with America, telling the Soviet ambassador in January 1955 that a lack of relations with the United States “gives us the chance to more freely educate our people in the anti-American spirit.”
Starting a trade war with China or gearing up for a military conflict in the South China Sea will do very much the same.
Mexico is our neighbor.  Why don't people know the name of Mexico's president, but they know the name of Canada's prime minister?

What the hell must a non-white do in order to get some level of a recognition?

Forget the maniacal supporters this president--these things do not matter to the fake news they read and watch.  I would love to ask students graduating from colleges and universities across the country in the spring whether they can name these three people.

My guess is that it will be a tiny minority who can score the trifecta.  Of those who name one or two, they perhaps will have a personal connection to those countries, or might have majored in disciplines where they studied something about those countries and the governments.

I try my best to tell students that if they really want to understand the world through a study abroad, then they should spend at least three to six months living and studying in China.  Preferably in a place like Xian--a huge city, with a phenomenal history, and far away from the typical haunts of Beijing and Shanghai.  (Well, I have had this plan to travel to Xian for a long time, ever since reading about it in high school in the context of the Silk Road.  And, especially after meeting a few years ago, thanks to the friend, a Chinese environmental lawyer from Xian.  Some day!)

But then I, too, suffer from the Rodney Dangerfield problem of no respect.  Nobody cares about what I have to say.


2 comments:

Ramesh said...

Why Xian ? Yes, it has history, but so does Hangzhou. If you want distance from Beijing, then why not Guangzhou ?

Yes, a little time in China is a fundamental requirement for any global citizen today. A fascinating country, fascinating people and it will give a great understanding of a nation that will be the most important world player for the next 20 years or so at least.

The Chinese "election" or more accurately the machinations that will lead upto the new Standing Committee of the Politburo in autumn this year deserves as much attention as the US Presidential election. I will write my own prediction on this shortly !!

Sriram Khé said...

I, for one, cannot wait for your prediction ... does it mean you are re-starting your blogging????

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