More Perspective

You’d think that Nick Kristof’s conversation with a friend from Beijing would give him perspective on the underlying ethnic tensions and prejudices in China and not, you know, merely an opportunity to wax poetic about the bounty to come from Obama’s election. Seriously. Kristof is the Times’ biggest Sinophile and he can’t even identify the big point when he’s writing about it.

Here’s the conversation Kristof relays in today’s column:

She: Obama? But he’s the black man, isn’t he?

Me: Yes, exactly.

She: But surely a black man couldn’t become president of the United States?

Me: It looks as if he’ll be elected.

She: But president? That’s such an important job! In America, I thought blacks were janitors and laborers.

Me: No, blacks have all kinds of jobs.

She: What do white people think about that, about getting a black president? Are they upset? Are they angry?

Me: No, of course not! If Obama is elected, it’ll be because white people voted for him.

[Long pause.]

She: Really? Unbelievable! What an amazing country!

I read this conversation as one that informs his readers about China, not the US. Substitute “non-Han Chinese” with black and “Han Chinese” with white and you’ll get some perspective on Han chauvinism in modern China. Not that Kristof notices it.

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