11 January 2012

Seriously? This is the "racism" that gets people all upset?

Being an ignorant foreigner, I only learned about the D&G incident when a fellow Libertine posted this link on the facebook (it seems that CNN has been reduced to publishing Google translations of Apple Daily articles).  Apparently, when Chinese people working for D&G discriminate against Hong Kong Chinese people in favor of Mainland Chinese people, it's called racism.  Generally speaking, "racism" is not something that occurs between people people of the same race.  Discrimination?  Yes.  Stereotyping?  Yes.  Racism?  No.

Ok, you say, so it's not racism, but it still sucks.  That's true, but it's hardly the shittiest thing happening in Hong Kong right now...though you wouldn't know that from looking at my facebook news feed, which is full of anti D&G rage.  I think this is a case of the historical discriminator becoming the discriminated against and not liking it.  If you're used to being a member of a richer, more powerful group who has historically discriminated against other groups, it can be quite shocking to find that the shoe is suddenly on the other foot. I've seen this before, in my own motherland.  Believe it or not, there are tons of white people in the US complaining about what they call "reverse racism" (I love the term, since it exposes them as racists who think that racism has a proper and an improper, or "reverse," direction).  From affirmative action programs which give tiny advantages to the historical victims of white racism, to the color of the current president's skin, these people think they're losing their own country, and they're pissed off!

I think something similar is going on in Hong Kong between Hongkies and Mainlanders.  Hong Kong people are used to treating Mainlanders like....well....Filipinos (ok, maybe they never treated Mainlanders that bad).  Problem is, many Mainland tourists have money now, and very little sense about how to spend that money, so all the overpriced European fashion outlets now prefer Mainlanders to Hongkies, since Mainlanders make for easier victims of the mental colonialism that D&G trades in (in the US, these same gaudy fashion firms mainly target nouveau-riche black people with their marketing campaigns).  If D&G wants to discriminate against me because they think I'm not dumb enough (or rich enough) to buy all their ridiculous overpriced crap...well they're right, and I take it as a compliment.  Look, does anyone have any doubt that D&G has been discriminating against Filipinos, Indians and Pakistanis in exactly this same way for years and years?  But suddenly D&G does it to the group that's used to doing the discriminating, and it's an outrage!

The difference is that Filipinos are used to being the victims of racism in this city, and ethnic Chinese Hongkies are used to being the victimizers (just like white people in the US).  Remember the "bus incident" when some crazy Filipino dude randomly killed some small number of Hong Kong people in the Philippines and suddenly every Hongkie in the city was firing their Filipino housekeeper and spewing all kinds of racist anti-Filipino vomit all over facebook?  I do, and I also remember that fellow Libertines Henry and Eric were the only Hongkies I knew who were pissed off not at the Philippines, but at racism against Filipinos.  So here's the bottom line: if you weren't pissed off by all the anti-Filipino discrimination then, then you don't get to be angry about this stupid D&G shit now.  If you've never spoken out against the very real and very serious racism directed at Filipinos, Indonesians, South Asians and Africans in Hong Kong, and you're suddenly speaking out about this, then you're not really against "racism," you just think it has a proper, and improper, direction.