Thursday, May 26, 2005

Most Assuredly Chinese

Today marks the (count 'em) fifth time some lovely, well-meaning person has said to me about my daughter, "Are you sure she's Chinese? She doesn't really look Chinese."

Deep breath. Suppress all urges to answer grumpily. Assume role of educator:

"What do you think 'Chinese' looks like? Northern Chinese people are as pale as me. Western Chinese people look quite Russian. People with Southern Chinese ancestry look like my daughter. Guess why. 'Cause she's from Southern China."


Imagine how stupid that would sound if a Chinese person adopted a baby from America and was told that her baby "doesn't look American." What in the hell does "American" look like?!

Let's review:

Third largest country in the world by landmass, after Canada and Russia.

Borders include Russia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam, Korea, Mongolia.

1.4 billion people. Fifty-five ethnic minorities in addition to the majority Han. They are Mongolian, Hui, Tibetan, Uygur, Miao, Yi, Zhuang, Bouyei, Korean, Manchu, Dong, Yao, Bai, Tujia, Hani, Kazak, Dai, Li, Lisu, Va, She, Gaoshan, Lahu, Shui, Dongxiang, Naxi, Jingpo, Kirgiz, Tu, Daur, Mulam, Qiang, Blang, Salar, Maonan, Gelo, Xibe, Achang, Pumi, Tajik, Nu, Ozbek, Russian, Ewenki, Benglong, Bonan, Yugur, Jing, Tatar, Drung, Oroqen, Hezhen, Moinba, Lhoba and Gelo.

Let me break it down this way:

One fifteenth of the planet Earth's landmass is China.
One fifth of the planet Earth's population is Chinese.
It shares borders with no fewer than TEN other countries.

So considering that the US borders only TWO countries and (according to the US census) has a measly 295 million people, 75% of whom are Caucasian, wouldn't it be more likely that Americans would all look alike than Chinese? To put it another way, do you really think that it's statistically possible for 1.4 billion people to look just like what you picture in your mind when you hear the word "Chinese?" Might there be some room for variation in skin color, hair color and texture, and any other physical feature you can imagine?

So--regardless--and to answer the question once and for all--YES, I'm sure she's Chinese.


Because that's where I flew to get her.


misterfed said...

You need to learn to speak moron.

The "are you sure she is Chinese" is a sort of moron rhetorical question, a rhetorical placeholder. It's one of the mouthsounds morons make not actually meaning it, but thinking it sounds vaguely amusing to them and it gives their little brains time to frame the second half of the question. So you should head the question like this: "Moronmoronmoronmoron? She doesn't look Chinese!"

Raine said...

Question: "Are you sure she's Chinese? She doesn't look very Chinese..."

Retort: "Well, you don't look like a bloody idiot, boy was I wrong!"

SquareSlant said...

Nothing I could say would top Raine! I say...go with "Well, you don't look like a bloody idiot, boy was I wrong!" Perfect...just perfect!