American Hypocrisy

January 28, 2010

 

The American Hypocrisy and Multicultural Respect

Why am I writing about China? Simple—many Americans do not respect the differences between cultures. They say they do, but I don’t believe them. During the 2008-2009 school year, our daughter returned home one day to tell us that her history teacher talked about China and said the people had to be very depressed to live under a totalitarian government like the Communists.

Retired citizens playing Chinese chess in a Shanghai park.

When our daughter attempted to disagree, the teacher and the entire class put her down, so she shut up. Now it is January 2010 (another school year), and she came home recently and said the same thing happened during another class discussion, but this time she stayed quiet and fumed.

 I taught English and journalism in American public schools for thirty years. The high school where I taught was a spicy multicultural soup where I learned that teachers should know what they are talking about or keep quiet.

Our daughter, a senior in high school now, was born in Chicago and grew up speaking English. Her mother was born in Shanghai and survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution (which caused the deaths of at least thirty million). My wife came to the United States in the 1980s when she was twenty-eight. Our daughter has been to China sometimes twice a year during her eighteen years, and she speaks fluent Mandarin with no accent. She has also been learning Spanish since Middle School.

I wanted to educate that ignorant teacher with facts about China, but my wife and daughter said not to stir the pot (very Chinese). I’ve been to China many times and have never seen the people depressed as I’ve seen in the country of my birth. I was born in Southern California soon after World War II. My ancestors come from Ireland, England and Europe.

When in China, you hear little about the government unless you listen to the official, government media. The people are too busy enjoying life to be bothered by a government that is doing all it can to raise the standard of living for 1.3 billion Chinese. I see more depression and anger in America during more than six decades of life than I have seen in China the last ten.

There are seventy million communists in China and more than a billion people that love life and live it to the fullest without chasing one material thing after another with credit-card debt.  

My wife has an American-born friend who broke into tears once because she couldn’t charge a two thousand dollar jacket–her credit cards debt was maxed out. I’ve never seen or heard of that type of behavior in China. I’m sure it happens, but I haven’t witnessed it. Most Chinese live simple lives in simple, but crowded, surroundings. Over the years, I’ve discovered that family, friends and gaining an education are more important to most Chinese than buying material junk.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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