Chinese baizuo gibe a rebuttal to West’s moral superiority

By Zhang Yi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/22 0:13:40

A Chinese-created term is catching attention on American social networks. Baizuo, or literally the "white left," has triggered heated discussions about how it should be interpreted.

The term can now be found on Urban Dictionary, a crowdsourced online dictionary of slang words and phrases. The dictionary describes the buzzword as "meaning a naive Western-educated person who advocates for peace and equality only to satisfy their own feelings of moral superiority."

A baizuo only cares about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment. The term first became a hit amid the European refugee crisis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the first Western politician tagged with the baizuo label because of her open-door refugee policy. Reporters said that Chinese students and job hunters complained that they had to try hard to stay in Europe, while unskilled refugees could just claim asylum and get welfare.

But the anti-baizuo discourse in China's Internet sphere is a fresh indication of Chinese netizens' dissatisfaction with the Western approach of solving global issues, which is often biased, elitist, ignorant of other peoples' concerns and constantly applying double standards.

For instance, the "elite" Western media, out of their deep-rooted bias and double standards, refuses to recognize the violence and attacks in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as acts of terrorism. In their portrayal, only terrorist attacks on Western soil can be defined as acts of terrorism.

To many Chinese, the ideology upheld by Baizuo only shows their ignorance as their self-claimed superiority is based on a shaky ground. The sense of superiority of Westerners stems from the advantageous position their countries enjoyed under an unfair global economic system. People from the developing world had to work in labor-intensive, low-income and high-pollution industries, but the dividends were taken by those from the Western countries who were able to live a decent life.

As the explanation in the Urban Dictionary goes, "The Chinese see the baizuo as ignorant and arrogant Westerners who pity the rest of the world and think they are saviors." Obviously, the "saviors" scene only happens in American blockbusters; the reality is the Western approach is creating problems in many places of the world.

A fair global system needs to be strived for by all countries. It is unrealistic to expect the Westerners to surrender their advantageous position, be they white left or white right.

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