While browsing Facebook yesterday my attention was drawn to a link posted by a friend about racism against blacks in China. In particular the black population in Guangdong province was mentioned as it has seen a large influx of African migrants.
Pan Quinglin, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, that nation’s top political advisory body had this to say,
“Black brothers often travel in droves; they are out at night out on the streets, nightclubs, and remote areas. They engage in drug trafficking, harassment of women, and fighting, which seriously disturbs law and order in Guangzhou… Africans have a high rate of AIDS and the Ebola virus that can be transmitted via body fluids… If their population [keeps growing], China will change from a nation-state to an immigration country, from a yellow country to a black-and-yellow country.”
Of course, we all know this is stereotyping at its best, and in countries where the ills of society are always piled on the backs of immigrants and minorities it is no surprise.
Not surprisingly this article brought my thoughts to the sudden upswing in anti Chinese rhetoric which has begun to pervade the discussion about the viability of the DSH project in Vieux Fort. Slowly and steadily the fear mongering that a Chinese horde overrunning our small island has been increasing in volume. Predictions of low wage workers comprising of Chinese criminals who will remain after the construction and breed our women have been heard. In fact, many have called it the Chinese strategy of new world colonization by leaving their workers behind wherever they have completed projects.
Sadly much of these fears have been fed by political mischief and propaganda, designed solely to ferment discord and minimize support.
The apprehension of Chinese in Saint Lucia is largely unfounded as the numbers residing there are hardly notable. Unfortunately, what has caught the attention of Saint Lucians is the high visibility of those Chinese who have been successful at establishing businesses on the island.
It is rather ironic that the qualities that any country would want in immigrants, entrepreneurship and not depending on the state, is what has directed unwarranted scrutiny and hatred at them.
The fact that thousands of Saint Lucians left the island in droves during the 50s, 60s, and 70s for a better life in the United Kingdom, America, and Canada is testimony to our own emigration elsewhere. The tales of racism and xenophobia, experienced by our own people in foreign lands, are what we now extend towards others who have not yet arrived on our shores. The hypocrisy and denial is as thick as a London fog.
A bit bewildering is the fact that our own people spare no criticism of Donald Trump (the Pussy Grabber in Chief) who has particularly targeted Mexicans, calling them rapists, murderers, and criminals. Riding high on his clearly xenophobic campaign he has pushed the idea of a wall along the U.S. – Mexican border.
Our people rail against the immigrant roundups in the States, Haitians in the Dominican Republic, West Indians in England, and the anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe. Strangely, those pushing that agenda of convenience in Saint Lucia see nothing wrong with it. And those latching onto these manufactured and despicable fears, all whipped up out of thin air, in advance, should be ashamed. Many who will doggedly push this anti-Chinese sentiment, themselves have relatives in similar circumstances in foreign lands. Circumstances which they vehemently denounce as discriminatory, xenophobic, and even racist.
The almost knee-jerk reaction by many of you reading the opening paragraph shows how we feel when prejudice and racism are meted out to those with whom we identify (Africans). What makes us any better when we do the same to others?
Recently we witnessed the unashamed, asinine, and criminal behaviour of visitors to our shores. The incident, which occurred at the newly opened Royalton Hotel, was captured on video recorded by the very perpetrators of the acts. Viewed more than a million times in various copies on Youtube, these wild ghetto guests from Canada proceeded to destroy hotel property and threaten to kill hotel workers because of a stuck elevator.
Even with video evidence and live victims, no charges have been filed! In their home country an arrest and charges would have been guaranteed.
Of course Saint Lucia can’t be a free-for-all, but lets not perpetuate the behaviour we condemn.
Do we lie prostrate for some and vilify others?