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Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Black Chinese

In my book series, The Beijing Family, the main character Kara Chan is a Chinese American.  Her boyfriend is black.

GASP! OH MY GOD! HOLY SRIRACHA!   

That’s right, you heard me right.  A Chinese-American female urban professional is with a Black man!  This is how they might look:



Aiya! Tsk, tsk, tsk…..(if you ‘re not sure what Aiyah means, see my blog “The Real Meaning of Chinese expression Aiyah! click here: http://bit.ly/OIgn3f) 

That’s the reaction I got from my mother’s friends one fine Sunday afternoon when I was having brunch with them. 

Albeit, Eden Malone is a Harvard graduated attorney working in Hong Kong and fluent in Chinese in my book.  The fact remains he is Black.  Black as in African American, Negroid or my favorite - Hei Gwai 黑鬼, the Chinese slang for black person with a literal translation meaning ‘black devil’.  I didn't invent this crude and offensive slang, so don’t hate me.

That afternoon, I sat at a restaurant table with my mother and her girlfriends while enjoying Sunday brunch.  The bright California sun shined through the French door windows while a pianist delighted the room with classical music in the background.  A few months prior, my mother proudly gave her friends free copies of my books to show off her daughter’s accomplishments.  She was hoping that her girlfriends would read my books and enjoy them.

One of my mother’s friends wearing a strand of pearl necklace turned to me and complimented, “I read the books your mother gave me.  Congratulations on being published." 

I replied with a smile, “Thanks” and continued to eat my brunch.  I then asked her, “Did you enjoy it?”

Mrs. Pearl Necklace paused, placed down her glass of mimosa champagne and commented, “I did enjoy it.  It was funny.  However, I have to ask….do you have a Black boyfriend?”  Suddenly, the table turned quiet.    

I was caught off guard.  “Er…..what?” I asked.  

Mrs. Pearl Necklace asked again, “Do you have a Black boyfriend?”

“No...I don't have a black boyfriend” I replied.  Why is she asking me if whether I have a black boyfriend and where are they going with this? 

Then the lady to my right with a designer handbag placed visibly next to her plate chimed in, “Ahh….yes, ….Eden….Eden is Black.  He’s the attorney who speaks Chinese.”

“That’s right” I agreed.  I smiled in appreciation that they read my books. 

Then Mrs. Pearl Necklace turned to me with steely eyes and asked, “If you don’t have a Black boyfriend, then why you have Black boyfriend in your books?”    

I was stunned. It felt like the death-threatening Chinese interrogation by the Red Army Soldiers in China only with added racism and ignorance twisted in.   


"WHY YOU HAVE BLACK BOYFRIEND??" 

Immediately my mom chimed in to ‘save face’ for me and said in Mandarin, “Oh you know, these young generation….they’re always up to something.”

Then Mrs. Designer Handbag commented, “In The Joy Luck Club, the men were Asian and White, why you Black?”  

I sighed and couldn't help but rolled my eyes.  

Immediately, I replied, “I Black...because I’m not Amy Tan, this is not the Joy Luck Club.  It’s 2014 and the US has a Black president….for two terms! You know, the guy with the big ears?"

There you have it!  Sign of the times.  But is it really a sign of modern times?  Is this really just a modern trend?  History shows that the Blacks and Chinese have been weaving in and out of each other lives dating back thousands of years.   

According to historians, there is substantial evidence that blacks inhabited early China during the early migrations of early man beginning in Africa.  Archeological studies have located a substratum in the earliest periods of Chinese history and reports of major kingdom ruled by Blacks are frequently in Chinese documents. (Kwang-Chih, The Archaeology of Ancient China, Yale University Press and Irwin Graham, Africans Abroad, Columbia University Press).  Archaeology and forensic tests confirm that China's first two important dynasties, the Xia and the Shang/ Chang, were Black Afrikan.  In northern China, the Blacks or Africoids founded many civilizations.  The Shang/Yin dynasty (1700-1050 BC) and the Zhou dynasty were founded by black tribes living in ancient China.  In fact, one of the legendary Chinese emperors Fu- Hsi (son of heaven) was a black man with an afro.  (Afrocentric Culture by Design.blogspot.com). 

I wonder if Emperor Fu-His looked like this?

Don Cornelius, founder and creator of the American television franchise, Soul Train.  


Or did he look like this?


Don King, prominent American boxing promoter for champion fighters including Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson 

 Both men with impressive backgrounds and equally impressive afros.

These findings also support the theory some scientists believe that all human life began in Africa from one race, which was the original and aboriginal Black Afrikan race from the tropical regions of Afrika, in particular the Omo region of Ethiopia.  







School textbooks in China have been teaching that the Chinese race evolved from Peking Man , but Shanghai scientists and international researchers have recently dismissed this theory after discovering that early human families evolved in East Afrika some 150,000 years ago.  In 2005, a Chinese DNA specialist, Jin Li, leading a team of Chinese and other scientists, proved through DNA tests that indeed the first inhabitants of China were black Africans.  This claim is based on the DNA analyses of 100,000 samples collected from around the world, which prove that the 65 branches of the Chinese race share similar DNA mutations with the people of East and Southeast Asia, and have originated in Afrika.



For more exploratory reading about Blacks in Modern China:  


Written by Don J. Wyatt 
For more information about the book, click link here: 


Today, there are Black Chinese or “Blasians” worldwide including fashion runways and television.  
  

Naomi Campbell, world famous British model. 
Her grandmother is Chinese Jamaican and is named Ming.


Tyson Beckford, first African-American Ralph Lauren male model.  His mother is Chinese Jamaican.  I’ve had the pleasure of running into Tyson one Saturday evening on a flight out of Las Vegas.  Many women of all colors and sizes were trying to chat up with him and take pictures for obvious reasons..... 

Whether we are Chinese or Black, history shows that we as people have cross cultural breeding more often than we know.  Many of us carry genes of other races from long ago that we may not even be aware of.  We are more alike than we are different.  Whatever race we claim ourselves, we are descendants of the human race.   

Here are my favorite Fung Brothers on Youtube- "What are the similarities between Blacks and Asians?" 

"What are the similarities between Blacks and Asians?" 

The Beijing Family book series is a comedy drama about a Chinese billionaire and his family living in Beverly Hills where people derive from all walks of life.  It is only befitting that my characters reflect the different races, gender, sexual orientation and the variety that make up the greater metropolis of Los Angeles. Most importantly, I developed Eden Malone as a successful black man dating an MBA graduated, business owning Chinese American girlfriend in my book series to step out of the box for a change. Isn't it time we break away from that all too familiar bordering on monotonous White man-Asian female combo for a change?  So often, people stifle themselves with their own limiting and often thwarted viewpoints and the same thing gets repeated over and over again and nothing ever changes.  As a writer, I like to entertain with good stories but I hope to at least open people’s minds.  If I can’t enlighten readers with a slice of the world they've never seen before, then what good are we as writers?  What good are we if our art can’t relay a positive message to society?

If my ancestors were black and if she were female, I hope that she might be someone like: 

Queen Latifah, Golden Globe and Grammy award winning singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, television/music producer and television show host. 


And if he was male, I would want him to be someone like:


Barack Obama, the 44rth and current president of the United States.  The first African American to hold office. 


If your ancestors were black, who would you want them to be? 



Written by Gina Tang, author of The Beijing Family book series, www.thebeijingfamily.blogpost.com 


Photo credit: Google, Wikipedia