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Discuss racial, ethnic and multicultural issues. Warning: The topics here are likely to be taboo, so if you are easily offended, you are better off not participating here.
The subject of xenophobia and racism is rarely discussed on all the exciting expat message boards and sites. Shiny books about travel, retirement and culture shocks or language CD covers with smiling local people or any other literature that has to do with living and traveling internationally does not like to breach the subject and pretends that it does not exist. Sometimes they mention funny stereotyping- oh, in such and such a country the locals think that all Americans drink coffee three times a day, hee-hee-hee, ha-ha-ha. How funny! They do not mention that in some countries being an American can get you killed. Yes, siree!
So, I have devised a scale by which you can measure the level of xenophobia, racism, sexism and other types of isms against your kind. I urge international travelers to evaluate countries based on this measurement. I shall from now on call in the Xeno-scale and we will use a point system from 1 to 10. Here we go:
Point 1 on the Xeno-scale. The country treats you pretty much like a local. You can easily make friends, marry into local families and the people are either welcoming to you or indifferent. There is no hostility at all. Legally you are allowed to work and can rent and buy property. An example would be say, a Dutch man who goes to the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. He will have virtually no obstacles integrating and assimilating into the local society. Or a Uruguyan who goes to Argentina, possibly.
Point 2 on the Xeno-scale. The country treats you with no surprises, the immigration is nice but you cannot work without a permit. Dating and friendship are generally no problem. Some people make jokes about you and tease you. Some say half -jokingly that you guys take away local jobs. Some mean it. An example would be a Canadian from say, Toronto moving to Michigan. Or a Costa Rican moving to Mexico.
Point 3 on the Xeno-scale: Locals treat you politely but with suspicion. Not all but quite a few do. You go to stores and some people sulk at you. You try and make friends but it takes time. Many people do not trust you. They are courteous but you are feeling out of place. Dating and friendship is a bit of a problem as local people tell you that they need to get to know you better and that they have never met a person from your country before. Neighbors stare but donâ€™t say hello, some just ignore you. After a year in one place they see that you are all-right and they begin to accept you. Usually they speak a language different from yours. They rent you an apartment but somehow you do not feel too welcome for a long time. Some jobs are for locals only.
Point 4 on the Xeno scale: You do not feel welcome, but more like tolerated. You are not assaulted or anything and people do not hate you but they feel uncomfortable with you. Even if you learn the local language, the still do not treat you 100% well. Local women prefer either local men or men from a similar culture. Local men may like you if you are a woman but still , neighbors may talk and you just feel that you will never fit in. But with great effort people will begin showing some acceptance later on and you will be able to make some friends and even date but with great difficulty. An example- a white man in Thailand or maybe a man from Asia anywhere in small town USA.
Point 5 on the Xeno-scale: People do not like for you to be there but you are an unwanted necessity because they need you either for work or for tourism. Some maybe polite to you but they want you to move on as soon as you can. You can sometimes make a friend but the friend is insincere and not very helpful; and as far as dating, only those who are rebels or those whom no local wants would date you. Getting a place to live will also be a problem as quite a few people do not want you to move into the neighborhood. An example would be a white man moving to Japan. Also, there are all kinds of laws to make sure you do not stay in the country and you can only do some jobs as most are for locals, not foreigners. There is still no crime against you but people do not want to sit next to you on public transportation and many turn faces away when you want to talk to them. Some show hospitality but only as long as you know when to go home.
Point 6 on the Xeno-scale. There is marked resentment and people clearly let you know that you are not welcome. Stone- cold faces surround you and only some very poor people talk to you asking for money or to cheat you. Some locals walk up to you and tell you to go back to your country/place. Some show tolerance. Some businesses do not want to serve you. Most places will not rent to you. Maybe you can stay at a hotel but apartments are out of the question. Friendship with locals is out of the question and dating is impossible. There are no jobs and no housing for you. Just get out as soon as you can. An example would probably be an Israeli in a rural village in some Arab country or an Arab in the USA after some terrorist attack. Or a Black person in rural white South in the 1930ies.
Point 7 on the Xeno-scale: The locals are openly hostile, many businesses do not want to let you in. You get yelled at from passing cars. Forget about working, dating or anything. You are simply not wanted. Virtually no one will rent to you and no dating or friendship or even talking with the locals. An example maybe would be a German in Polan right after the war. An Israeli who decides to be a tourist on the West Bank?
Point 8: You can barely get the visa or get rejected for the visa. On the social front, even if you are let in, you can get beat up or shot for being what you are. Most of the time, it is just hateful looks but attacks are frequent. You are advises to stay indoors and leave at the first opportunity. Few countries are like that, but maybe, being an American in Somalia in 1992 would be something like this? Do not go.
Point 9. You will most certainly be hated and attacked just for showing your face or speaking your language or practicing your religion. There are marches on the streets calling for death to your kind. If you want to survive, you have to pretend to be someone else which is not always possible. Dating? Jobs? Apartments? Donâ€™t make me laugh.
Point 10. People like you are shot or arrested and tortured just for being there. On a civil front, a mob can attack you and tear you to pieces and most probably will That is exactly what happened in Iran to a Russian ambassador in the 1800's. He was torn to pieces and stomped by the mob because of a war between Russia and Iran. You are advised to not even think of traveling to any of such places.
The above scale is not complete, and there are many variations on the theme. Some countries may have great governments and very liberal visa regimes but very hostile civilian populations. Some may be vice-versa- great people, but it is impossible to get visas to live there. Most countries are kind of hard to pigeonhole into a specific point and may be assessed on several â€œfrontsâ€- visa-wise, friendship-wise, dating wise, and also whether you are rich or poor, whether you are there as a visitor or a tourist and other such factors. But it is a beginning, and I would like you to help me by adding more examples and more criteria. However, the Xeno-scale, although not perfect, has been created and you can now start measuring countries by how they will treat you and your kind as well as attaching points to the next country you will visit when you recommend it to others.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
Mexico for an American falls most closely under point 2. Friends are easy to make, in fact much easier than in the United States, and dating is easy if you learn Spanish. Mexicans hate the US government but by and large have no problem with individual Americans. However, there are still a lot of visa issues that make living and working legally a hassle. There is also a law saying that in any Mexican business, at least 90% of the workers must be Mexican citizens, so the government has made it a bit hard for Americans to legally work here; however, it is still a lot easier than what Americans in countries like Japan go through.
The one caveat to this though is that learning Spanish is a must. Until you learn Spanish, you will never be accepted unless you have money. Once you learn Spanish however, people start viewing you as a human and will go out of their way to do anything for you. I seriously have never seen a country with more helpful people than Mexico.
From the point of view of a young white American male, I would say both China and Thailand are somewhere between a 4 and a 5. There were occasions in both countries where I felt the people treated foreigners even better than the locals, but there were just as many (if not more) occasions where I felt discriminated against and unwelcome.
But even considering the above, I'm very happy I lived in China, and I'm glad to be living in Thailand at the moment. I want to live in Japan and/or Taiwan at some point down the road. I love being an expat, and I couldn't imagine my life any other way.
I wouldn't doubt this. My grandmother lives in a small mansion with my uncle, his wife, and my cousins in the next town over from me. Next door are my great aunts and uncles and the whole neighborhood is like this insular Asian community. This is in a New Jersey suburb.
American racists in the past used to be better educated. They would never confuse a "chink" with a "jap" with a "gook" and a " flip". They could distinguish. This is what made a white racist in the US to stand apart from Asian racists in Asia. At least they had 4 different categories for Asians and were smart enough to not confuse one with the other. Whereas Asians would have only one category for all white people expressed with many words white devil, foreign pig, red haired monkey, devil from the ocean, ghost-man. There was no separate category for say, Americans and Russians and Aussies. They all look the same to them. So, a Japanese person will hate Australians for...dropping a bomb on Hiroshima.
Now, not only Americans are racist, but they do not display even a perverse sense of international awareness. Not only one does not feel welcome but now one needs to be insulted by a slur reserved for another nationality.
This reminds me of a Saudi who went to the US and one day he was walking down the street and someone walked up to him and said "F--k you Iranian!" He was in shock and decided to go back and explain things to the racist. He said
"-Sir, you just told me f--- you Iranian! I am not Iranian.
-So what the f*** are you?
-I am a Saudi.
- Same f***g s**t!"
At least if you want to be racist, please have the courtesy to discriminate against a person for what he is.
And I remember one Aussie I met in Japan who told me angrily- "In our country we call Asians- Nips".
I protested-" but most of them are Chinese and Vietnamese- I am sure they are very annoyed by you calling them "Nips".
To which he snapped with a smirk and a chuckle- "and I am annoyed when they constantly get on my case here for being...an American!"
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
Will this law also forbid Asians from discriminating against whites? You whine and bitch so much like only your people have ever faced discrimination when the worst discrimination I have ever received in the United States has come from Asians. Go fix your own people before trying to fix mine.
The law should forbid all kinds of discrimination.
And as far as Yakuza b-tching, one's own pain hurts the most, of course. And what "own people" is he going to teach? And how? Get on a truck and ride through Little Tokyo with a loudspeaker? Then go to China Town? Then visit every laundromat in town run by Koreans with a flyer saying- please be nice to white people?
And one must admit that Asians in the US rarely physically attack white people or beat them up ( Hawaii being an exception but it is the Hawaiians doing it mainly). The same holds true in most Asian countries- physical assaults are rare- it is mostly taunting and social shunning. Just as painful I must admit, but still better than being killed.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
The idea of laws barring discrimination in the private sector never sat well with me. I definitely think there should be an anti-discriminatory policy in the public sector, but I'm not sure how well these things work outside. The law can't actually change people's minds. Say a black person or an Asian person tries to eat at a restaurant. In a society without anti-discrimination laws, a White restaurant owner can kick these potential customers out of his restaurant on account of their race. He is a racist and he loses business because of it. On the other hand, in a society that does recognize anti-discrimination laws, the White, racist restaurant owner would be forced to serve minority customers. The owner would be forced to pretend he is not a racist, which leads the minority customers to give him their business, since they don't know he's really a racist. I don't want to give my money to racists if I can help it. I'd rather know which stores to boycott.
YOU, ladislav, say that the law should forbid all kinds of discrimination, but lone yakuza does not. He is a definite Asian supremacist and doesn't care if other races get discriminated against as long as his own is legally protected. I have read enough of his posts to know just how much of a racial supremacist he is. And before anyone accuses me of hating Asians, let me say that I have also called out djfourmoney and ChosenTraveler before for being black supremacists as well as odbo for being a white supremacist.
Lone Yakuza has contributed nothing of value to this forum regarding being Happier Abroad. All his posts are are about how bad his life is because he's an Asian-American, which may very well be true. If that is true, then why has he not discussed his plans for going abroad? Why has he not talked about the countries he plans to visit? His posts are all about how bad the USA is, a fact which we established a long time ago. Here is what his posts amount to:
I'm 5'6 and Asian and white people are evil because white girls won't date me. I am strong and can beat anyone up because I took years of martial arts. This country hates Asians. Thank you.
He almost reminds me of The Arab who in every single post had to tell us that he was 6'4 and had had sex with lots of white women.
So, I worked as a 100% traveling consultant in the MRO industry for over a year. Visited 20-30 US States (lost count after 20!) and 5 Canadian provinces. Many of my customers are in the mining, energy, and heavy industry, located in small towns or remote areas. Like, middle of a corn field, middle of a wheat field, middle of Amish country, middle of... snow, and middle of nowhere.
I'm East Asian, and the only time that I was ever yelled at during a work trip was in North Vancouver. Some local teenagers have nothing better to do, so they drive down the street, stick their head out of the car and yell at people as they come out of Tim Horton's. The driver hit the breaks at the red light and the passenger still had his head out, so, ouch for him.
Canadian customs in Vancouver also gave me the most trouble, since I was going there to work. But the Canadian customs in smaller towns were pretty laid back.
The most friendly folks that I meet during those work trips were the small Southern rural towns. My rural I mean the ones where the locals would pull up a truck with BBQ / smoker trailer on side of the road and plunk down a sign that read "whole pig roast 6 pm". No health department certs.
The South is also the only place in the US where the locals said to me, "come and stay a while", and "you should consider moving here". In small town Utah, strangers at the restaurant would be polite and say "enjoy your meal" as they walked pass me.
I'm pretty sure there are people with worse experiences, as there are many a-holes out there. But in general, I find small town USA to be polite and sometimes welcoming. If you dig deep enough, you'd find skeletons in the closet (i.e. local kids getting high on bath salt), but that's also true just about anywhere else.
Anyone shop at Piggly Wiggly? I was low on clean shirts and bought some of their t-shirts during my travels.
AmericanInMexico, you do have a point! Yakuza is angry and upset at being treated badly because of his race (which I understand since I'm also Asian), but he does not want to think about moving overseas. I keep telling him to start planning to get the hell out of the country, but he does not seem to take the advice to heart. He says he will be discriminated against if he goes back to Asia, but in my opinion, he'll do better over there than by staying in the United States. And there's lot of other countries besides the Asia-Pacific region where Asian men will be accepted and embraced--such as Mexico or other Latin American countries (see Falcon). Yakuza, buddy, start planning like I did a couple of years ago to prepare for the move! Otherwise, you're going to end up miserable to the end!