by
on October 10, 2015 on 10/10/15

Am I American? Or am I Chinese?

Hi Everyone!

Today I would like to talk about my experiences (as a Chinese-American) in China. So if I do not speak English, Chinese people (in China) will assume I know how to speak Chinese and will speak quickly to me (in their Beijing accent which is difficult for me to understand). Once I attempt speaking Chinese (slowly), some will wonder what’s wrong with me because they expect me to be able to speak it fluently. And one person even commented that my Chinese was terrible. If I speak English, people will stare at me as if I were an alien. Once I tell them that I am American, I leave some confused because in their eyes, an American is someone that is white. At times, I do feel like I am not Chinese enough to be Chinese, and not “white” enough to be American. Although I understand why they don’t believe I am from the United States, it sometimes is frustrating. :(

On a side note, I also wanted to mention that for the most part, I am really enjoying my time in China and I have no regrets at all for coming to China. I am enjoying my time here so much that I don’t want to go back home. I was actually considering working in China after my program ended.

So anyways, this week I started searching for jobs in teaching English for next year. I sent a company my resume and asked about job positions starting next year. She sent me an email and wanted to set up an interview with me. We connected through an application that many people in China use called wechat. The first questions she asked me was, “Where are you from?” And I told her I was from the United States, California specifically. She responded by saying, “Okay honestly the jobs are only for Caucasians…” I was completely shocked after this message. I have never been rejected because of the color of my skin, until I came to China. I did not want the job after she told me that, but I just wanted clarification. Why was I being rejected because of the color of my skin, and wasn’t the point to teach English? I am a native speaker of English, and I have years of teaching experience at my university. However, she blocked me.

After speaking to other people about this incident, I understood why there is a preference to Caucasians vs Asians. There are many Chinese people that just simply do not believe that an Asian can speak English fluently, and they would prefer white people instead. I mean, I do understand what these companies are trying to do, but having someone reject you because of the way you look is just awful.

Yup, this is me. I'm Chinese-American. Or what some Chinese people call me an "ABC" (American Born Chinese) or a "banana" (white in the inside, yellow outside).

Yup, this is me. I’m Chinese-American. Or what some Chinese people call me an “ABC” (American Born Chinese) or a “banana” (white inside, yellow outside).

Well other than that, I did check out a cool place called “Nanluoguxiang” yesterday. I really liked exploring this area because there were really many small cute stores and street food! Also this is a really touristy location, and there were stands selling mojitos in broad daylight! That is pretty interesting because they would never do that in the United States!

This is the cute stand selling mojiotos!

This is the cute stand selling mojitos!

-Jen