Chinese should rise above fuss over ‘slant-eyes’ gesture

By Duo Mu Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/4 23:03:40

The 2017 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show will, for the first time, take place in Shanghai, and according to media reports, supermodel Gigi Hadid will take part. However, a video in which Hadid seemingly mocked Asians by squinting her eyes was uploaded on social media in February of this year and as news of the latest Victoria's Secret show was released, Hadid's actions have continued to ruffle feathers among Chinese people.

There have been other similar incidents. In May of this year, Ezequiel Lavezzi, who joined Hebei China Fortune Football Club in February last year, was criticized by some Chinese people and fans for squinting his eyes in a promotional picture for his club. For this, both the player and the club made apologies. However, there were still voices calling for Lavezzi to be expelled from China. Finally, the Chinese Football Association released a statement and appealed to media not to over-interpret the issue.

In the past, making "slant-eyes" was a Western impression of Asian people. When Westerners deliberately make this gesture, it is considered as being mocking and thus racist against Asians. Other signs such as the Fu Manchu mustache were also regarded as carrying racist connotations against Asians.

In the video which caused the storm of criticism against Hadid, she is seen puffing up her face to apparently make fun of a cookie in the shape of a Buddha. We don't really know for sure whether Hadid knew the racist meaning of squinting eyes.

We must assume that while most people may now know that this is an offensive gesture, there may be a few who are not familiar with the past racist connotation.

Some Chinese people are, rightly or wrongly, very sensitive about it. In history, China suffered humiliating defeats by Western powers, and the effect can mean that even today, Chinese people have lost a sense of national and cultural confidence. But we can't always wallow in a mind-set of being bullied by the West.

The national inferiority complex is reflected in two aspects. On the one hand, some Chinese people think the Western world is perfect. They don't believe in the essence of Chinese history, culture and its political system. On the other hand, some cannot tolerate any negative comments about China at all.

Even though some Westerners hold prejudices against China, their opinions exert few influences on China. It is not necessary for us to interpret these negative sentiments from a national perspective.

There will be a process of psychological adaptation for us as China comes to play an increasingly important role in the international community. We cannot indulge in an inferiority complex while also being excessively concerned about others' opinions about us.

China is at the center of the world stage and is the second-largest economy in the world. How foreigners adapt to this fact is not our business.



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