Posts filed under ‘Freedom of Speech’

The Lou Jing Situation

A few months ago, a lot of speculation was made about Lou Jing, a 20 year old Chinese student from Shanghai who entered a Chinese talent show called Let’s Go! Oriental Angel. What gave her the attention in China was not necessarily her talent, it was her skin colour; The attraction from it reportedly made her one of the most famous talent show contestants in China, and she didn’t even win the show.

Lou grew up in China her whole life, meaning she speaks fluent Shanghai and Mandarin chinese. On the show, it was revealed that her mother had an affair with an African American man, resulting in the conception of Lou. Many chinese blogs and forums blew up with insults towards Lou and [mainly] her mother as a result. Some gave Lou the name 小黑鬼 (xiaoheigui) meaning “little black devil” [click here for more comments made about her]

It exposed the narrow minds of many Chinese people and how bigotry is still very much alive in the country during the 21st century. However, as racist as the whole outcome has been, people [especially those criticizing the issue] must remember two main things

1. Lou Jing’s Father
On the internet, many Chinese people used this as an example to justify the stereotype that black men abandon women once they’re pregnant, leaving them to to single mothers. While there is some truth in that, men of other races do the same thing, however it’s highlighted more in black men. In the case of Lou Jing’s father, he left China with no idea that he’d gotten her mother pregnant, meaning he probably still doesn’t know of Lou’s existence

2. Such racism does not only occur in China
As distasteful and offensive as the comments were again Lou and her mother, there are just as many [if not more] people who have the exact same views as those Chinese commenters outside of China. When hearing her story a lot of people seem to forget that such racist views are apparent everywhere. There are people in almost every country who feel the same way about people who are black, mixed or any other race/ethnicity that isn’t the same as theirs. Perhaps what’s given China so much attention on it is the fact that they don’t have a long history discriminating against black or mixed people compared to places like Britain or the United States.

People must also remember that not all Chinese people were against Lou Jing’s racial mix.
She had support from alot of Chinese people aswell as her friends, professors and Chinese journalists. One author even wrote on their blog:

In the same year that Americans welcome Obama to the White House, we can’t even accept this girl with a different skin colour.

– Hung Huang –

China isn’t the first, and definitely won’t be the last country to express such racist views in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Lou, it was the first time she experienced any racial hatred in her life. With such a story, people should also remember that the same views are also felt by those in their countries of residence, not just in the country of question.

Lou Jing’s story [in more detail]:
http://abagond.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/lou-jing/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Jing

An opinion from another perspective [this person is the same mix as Lou Jing]:
http://african-chineseguy.blogspot.com/2009/09/lou-jing-sad-story-of-black-chinese.html

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January 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm 2 comments

The Dangers of a Single Story

Single stories are everywhere. They are one sided stories that give people the wrong idea about a certain place, thing or group of people.
What makes them such an issue is that they create stereotypes. Instead of highlighting how similar people or places are they highlight the differences. We have all believed a single story at one point in our lives, some of us still do.

My Grandmother believed a single story when she left St. Lucia for the UK. People there convinced her she would have no difficulty getting a job, and that England was a wonderful place where the streets were literally paved with gold. Despite this, no one told her that England had areas below the poverty line and that most of the time she would be refused a job as the colour of her skin was an issue. One example of me personally believing a single story is when I went to America for the first time. I found it strange to see poor areas and homeless people living on the streets everyday as beforehand, I didn’t believe that such a thing existed in America. It was nothing like the way I’d seen/heard of it before.

While there’s some truth in single stories, they all have one thing in common, they leave important things out. A good example can be seen with the author Chimamanda Adichie. Raised in a Middle Class family in Nigeria, she decided to go to College in the US. When meeting her American room mate, she was surprised that Chimamanda could speak English so well, despite being told that English was Nigeria’s official language. She was surprised that Chimamanda knew how to use a stove as she didn’t think that such basic facilities existed in Africa. When she  asked if she could hear some of her “tribal music”, she was pretty surprised when Chimamanda pulled out her Mariah Carey CD.

Like mentioned before, single stories leave vital bits of information out, making it very similar to propaganda as they’re used to manipulate people into thinking a certain way about a various noun. In the case of a continent like Africa, vital bits of information are constantly left out. While it’s true that there are people there who suffer from things like AIDs, conflict and poverty this only happens to some of them, not everyone, (in the same way that AIDs and poverty only affect some people in Britain and the United States rather than the whole nation). What’s left out is the fact that there are just as many there with average lives. There are middle class people who work and do things like drink coffee and read newspapers daily just like their counterparts in places like America, however many people will never know or believe this due to them hearing single stories that leave all these factors out.

While we all can’t control what is being said in these single stories, we can control whether to believe them or not. We also have the choice to look more into the topic and find out those vital parts of information that are being left out.
There are two sides to every story, in the case of a single story, we have to option to hear that other side and know the truth rather than one’s misconceptions.

January 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm Leave a comment

Being Veggie: Not As Hard As It May Seem

I originally became vegetarian for a temporary amount of time. At the time I didn’t know much about why people turned vegetarian, so I took the time to look more into it. I was shocked at what I found. While I learnt new things, I was also reminded of things I had heard of before.

For instance, the way animals were treated in slaughterhouses. As ignorant as this may sound, I had no idea that it was as bad as it is now. I also looked at health and environmental reasons for turning vegetarian and was surprised at how much energy the human race simply uses for meat. I could go into more detail on these, but I believe the reasons are better explained on things such as the PETA website [I’ll put links at the end of this post].

The reasons for me turning vegetarian were also more personal. I felt that by continuing to eat meat knowing the information that I just found out, I would only be a hypocrite. Unless you don’t know by now, hypocrites are one thing that annoy me as they tend to have a lot of double standards. I don’t want to be one of those people. Even if I didn’t openly express my views against animal slaughtering, I would still feel guilty in my mind if I continued to eat meat. Which is why I stopped.

A lot of misconceptions on vegetarians is mainly based on one thing…ignorance. People generally don’t know much about what or how vegetarians eat or why they chose that lifestyle, so when stereotypes are bought out about it, they are normally easily believed. This level of ignorance is a problem, as it makes some people out there stick to their own narrows views about the whole thing rather than learn more on the subject. My own personal experience is when I tried to tell some people I know about the process of getting meat, and even showed them pictures. They were clearly disgusted by what they saw, and expressed how they didn’t want to hear anymore as they believed I was trying to make them vegetarian too, when that wasn’t the case. I was simply explaining to them where there meat came from and how it got on their plates. This hypocrisy I explained before also extends to people like them, the ones who have a rough idea of the process, are disgusted from it yet still choose to support that by continuing to eat it [due to what the media tells them].

There was a point when I thought I could never be vegetarian because I thought I wouldn’t like it and that it would be too difficult. Despite this, I thought I should at least try it before coming to a judgement. It turns out that since being a vegetarian, I’ve had much more of a healthier lifestyle. My diet’s more balanced, I seem to have more energy, and any chances of me having major health problems such as cancer have been reduced. I also prefer it (despite what I thought about it before).

I’m not saying that everyone should be vegetarian. As much as it would make things better for people’s health and the environment, I can’t change the way everyone eats. However, I do encourage everyone to try it and increase their knowledge of vegetarianism before they come to the harsh judgements and thought that they have. Below is a few of the websites I found my information from. There’s also a video that made me realize why I should turn vegetarian.

Meet Your Meat

 

Cruelty to Animals
http://www.goveg.com/factoryFarming.asp

How Being Vegetarian Is Better For Your Health
http://www.goveg.com/healthConcerns.asp

How Vegetarianism It Benefial To The Environment
http://www.goveg.com/environment.asp

November 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm Leave a comment

Let Me Guess, You’re Against It Right?

Abortion has always been a heavy topic. It raises the idea of what’s ethical, and it is illegal in some countries or states and frowned upon in certain religions, especially in the Christian Church.

You’ll find it a very controversial topic in a country like the United States where some people [especially those from the Republican] feel very strongly about it. Before people like President Obama and Sonia Sotomayor were elected to their positions, they were heavily bombarded with abortion questions by the press and other political leaders.
A lot of emphasis has been put on how Christians oppose abortion and how it is one of the worst sins…therefore when people think of those against it, it’s not unusual if they think of the person as Christian.

The title of this post was a question someone asked me after they assumed that I was against it because of my religion, which wasn’t true. As someone of Christian faith, I would like to point out how the strong views you may hear about against abortion don’t necessarily apply to everyone that is Christian. I’m not sure about the US, but in the UK such views are only present  in the most extreme of Christians. For me, out of all the Christians I know in England, only a handful have such strong views on the subject.

I personally don’t think that making abortion illegal ANYWHERE will help. The amount of newborn babies will take a sharp increase, and in a time like this where some countries are in a Recession, it’s hard for people to find the money to provide for babies when they may not even be able to provide for themselves. While I think that everyone is entitled to their opinion, I do also believe that the anti abortion extremists out there don’t take everything into consideration when they say abortion should be banned. They get the idea that every woman who gets abortions are careless and they weren’t really thinking when they got pregnant…when that’s not always the case.

They seem to forget about incidents such as rape, where in America, it is said to happen to 1 in every 6 women [according to the Rape Abuse And Incest National Network]. What if those 1 in every 6 women got pregnant from that? Is it ok to deny them an abortion just because it’s “unethical”? If we want to talk about ethics here then why not talk about how unethical it is to make ANY woman live with a child that was conceived by the person who raped them. A person they’ll be reminded of each time they look at that child. Not just with rape, but why not talk about how unethical it is for a mother to tell their child that they didn’t want them and that they were a mistake?

That’s why I think banning abortion won’t help anything. If people really wanted to reduce the abortion rate then they should get to the root of the problem: contraception. By promoting more the use of condoms etc., less people are more likely to get pregnant, which also means less people are going to need to get abortions done, meaning that it won’t be necessary to make it illegal, as the rates won’t be as high.

It’s pretty simple once you think about it: More Condoms means Less Pregnancies therefore Less Abortions. That way everyone’s happy =)

November 10, 2009 at 10:11 pm Leave a comment

Obama: Give Him a Chance!!

He hasn’t even been doing the job for a year yet and already people are making their minds up about Barack Obama and how he’s

doing as the US President.

I’ve heard all sorts

obama8.jpg

He’s worse than Bush

He’s wasting money on the healthcare reform

He’s messed up the American economy


…to name a few. All of which have come from Americans I know in and outside of school.

While I do believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion…I do think that they’re has to be a good reason etc behind it. It seems that people are expecting the “Hope” and the “Change” and the “Progress” that Obama promised to just suddenly happen overnight…when it won’t. And now that it’s not happening straight away and he seems to be making a few slip ups, people are getting mad.

America’s economy was in a bad state a good fews years before Obama was considered to be the US President; so it’s probably going to take at least 2 or 3 years to try and fix it. Almost anyone outside of the US can tell you that the HealthCare plan in America has been messed up for a while. Obama’s current approach might not be the best one out there compared to other countries, but at least he’s trying to do something about it.

Now I’m not American [obviously]. And while I watch some American news Channels online, I’m not exposed as much to what Obama is doing as Americans are [obviously]. As I result, I don’t have an opinion about him and what he’s doing right now because there are a lot of things I don’t know. In other words, I’m not supporting him 100%, but at the same time I’m not against him.

But I will say this. You don’t have to be American to know that being the US President is a very difficult job. It’s something that only 43 other people have done, and as a result, almost all of us have no idea what it’s like to be in such a position. So it’s easy for us to sit there and make rash judgements…but like I said before, it hasn’t even been a year yet.

I’m not saying that every American has to like him, I’m just saying that they should give him a chance. The man’s not even halfway through his position as President…why not wait until then to make such a huge judgement?

So to any American reading this who is against Obama that much…just give it a go. Give it some time. If things are still as bad as you think two or 3 years from now, then you can say what you want. But who knows…things might have turned around completely by then for the better

September 20, 2009 at 8:12 pm Leave a comment

Human Rights…Do We Take Them For Granted?

A few days ago I was told this story about a man in Afghanistan. It was around the time of the elections, and he was going around his local area telling people to vote  against the Taliban

[if you really have no idea about who they are and what they believe in, then read “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseni…either that or just Google them].

It wasn’t long before they [The Taliban] found out, and as a result they kidnapped him, and didn’t release him before cutting off his nose and ears. When trying to get medical assistance, he only ended up being rejected, later on taking refuge at a friends house. When BBC News found him to report on it, he was still at the friends house, with no medical assistance.

To me that is beyond sick. It’s events like these that prove how corrupt and messed up the Taliban are. So what if the man tried to get people against them? That’s not a good enough reason to cut parts of his face off! With an organization like that, they should know that not everyone is going to support them whether they like it or not. Clearly they are too ignorant to see that, and try and change that by doing things like this.

As human beings living in “free countries”…a lot of us take advantage of the fact that we can say our views and opinions on things without there being any consequences. Whether it’s through debates, campaigns or maybe through blogging like me. It’s no secret that if I was Afghan for instance and said just one of the things I wrote on this blog, I’d end up just like the main mentioned before, [if not worse because I’m female].

A lot of us assume that the whole freedom of speech thing applies to almost everyone…when it doesn’t. It wasn’ t that long ago that I found out things like how you can’t research certain topics in Communist China because of it’s high controversy in the country. A lot of us aren’t grateful enough for the freedom we get. I didn’t think about it so much until hearing this story.

And after hearing that, I’m starting to be more appreciative about the freedom I do have opinion wise…& I suggest you do the same.

September 2, 2009 at 9:12 pm Leave a comment


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