Romanticizing white men is outdated

By Albert H. Halder Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/17 20:08:39

I am a German entrepreneur acquainted with many Chinese people worldwide and I have also been working in the field of aviation in China for more than 12 years. Needless to say, I have gotten to know the country very well. However, I have never had the impression that the majority of Chinese people have such a distorted "white gentlemen image" as a recent article in your newspaper titled "Time to stop romanticizing white men" described.

Considering that the word "romanticizing" not only means being romantic, but also implies that perceiving somebody, in this case white men, as more attractive or interesting or superior than he really is, the author is suggesting most Chinese people are not able to form their own opinion based on reality.

However, I think many Chinese people do not have a romanticized image of Westerners as the author described, but their opinions on white men are quite rational. If a Chinese has shown any behavior perceived as "romanticizing white men," it is certainly surprising.

In some cases, Chinese have shown admiration toward the achievements the Westerners have made in fields of Engineering; the ability to make highly advanced products; to improve the environment by implementing energy saving and environmentally friendly solutions. However, this sort of admiration does not necessarily mean "the white men is superior."

Nowadays, Chinese people hardly have any of the views the author described toward Westerners. We are all living in the 21st century and globalization has cleared up many stereotypes through trade relations and cultural exchanges. Understanding and respect have been established between people of all continents and of various racial backgrounds.

To make sure that my opinion is not too self-oriented, I have solicited opinions from quite a few Chinese people. Almost every one of them have said that romanticizing Westerners is an outdated idea and is only applicable to the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

The examples used by the author such as an American mechanic turned ESL teacher bedded hundreds of Chinese women, or a white man in the UK killed a Chinese woman or the movie The Great Wall in which the white army captain is the great hero saving the country, are in no way suitable to be taken as evidence or even proof that white men are superior and Chinese are perceived as inferior or the other way round.  Some people I have spoken to have also commented that the author is, to a very high degree, off the mark with his opinion, because many Chinese people are well aware of their individual worth and power, a level which is much greater than 50 years ago.

As these are only three examples the author felt obliged to state "…these are not isolated incidents but part of a larger pattern." This statement points in the wrong direction, because even a much greater number of examples portraying white men in a dominant position would not necessarily give a representative picture as other factors, such as the motivation behind the men's actions, play an important role in the situation. By stating that white people are aggressive and display predatory behavior is clearly an exaggeration.

I firmly believe that the generalization of the relationship between white men and Chinese people is not helpful in improving the understanding between the two groups. On the contrary, it serves to divide them.

Chinese taking a tougher and harsher stance against white men is not what is needed. However, there is a need to talk communicate in order to eliminate possible misunderstandings, wrong notions and prejudices and not bluntly to say, as the author does, "Time to stop romanticizing white men."

Albert H. Halder, a German entrepreneur. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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