Previously: All because the “model minority” was told, if you work hard enough and behave well enough, you will become “one of us,” said their “white masters.” Thus they not only live extremely careful to ape white people, but also have internalized white racist ideas about other racial groups (Black, Latinx, South Asians, and Arabs), and are the most racist against their fellow people who have not yet been “model-minoritized.” This is what is called in-group cringe obsession only found in oppressed minority groups—women, LGBTQ+, and racial minorities.
Buckle up we are going to get psychoanalytic here.
Notes: This section’s argument and reasoning were inspired by Natalie Wynn’s reasoning of oppressed LGBTQ+ group, particularly Transgender group, which I see a similar psychological issue experienced by the Asian diaspora community and Anti-China Chinese community. Special Thanks to Natalie’s channel ContraPoints.
Because minority groups do not have the cultural discourse (Foucault) — they do not have a say in cultural matters, thus they are almost always overly generalized by the majority who defines the discourse. Whatever members of the minority do, are seen as representing the whole group they are in, whereas, a member of the mainstream group is always seen as an individual. Because those who define discourse have the ultimate power. For instance, when a trans white woman (this might resonate more easily with our white friends) who still has masculine traits and behaves embarrassingly in the public, (kind) cis-people may feel the vicarious embarrassment with her and feel sympathetic towards her, but members of her own trans-woman community, instead of feeing embarrassed WITH her, feel embarrassed FOR her, cringe at her, and thus feel contempt towards her. She is the symbol of something they hate about themselves; something they are ashamed of, like not passing, estranged families, being abused by cis-peers while growing up, or all of the above. She is damaging the group’s reputation.
“Why xxx [insert any mainstream groups here] hate us and do not accept us? It is because people like YOU who damage OUR reputation.”
There is certainly a group representation issue here. We are afraid that other people will cringe or hate a group that includes us. Particularly if our group members are embarrassing themselves in front of an outsider to the group. We feel not just vicarious embarrassment but embarrassment, because our members’ disgraceful behaviour makes us look bad, too. This is what Natlie Wynne summarised as “ingroup cringe.” It is a form of self-hatred, because you are cringing at your own membership in an embarrassing group.
This embarrassment also prompts fear. The fear of being like the very person who embarrassed the whole group. Then we look into the dark mirror trying to find something that differentiates us from that embarrassing person/ group (under a larger umbrella label), which motivates us to distance from that particular person or group. We do not feel compassionate for this black sheep, because we are horrified and repulsed by the very thought that we have something in common with that person/group. Contempt is a way to emotionally distance us from that person/group. In so doing we publicly condemn and shame that individual/group. Indeed, people who are social outcasts, who are humiliated and stigmatized, long for the experience of being normal, surrounded by fellow normals, judging and humiliating a freak.
Chinese diaspora’s mentality in simple R coding
Library (“China has a negative reputation”) $Config.—global users. Chinese diaspora
Instal package (“Chin*ks are smelly, slit-eyed, dog-eaters, stealing jobs, small penis”)
Instal package (“Mainlanders manufacture inferior products/eat weird sh*t/brainwashed/filthy rich plebs”)
$Config—list. Mainlanders are virus
I speak Cantonese not Mandarin
Cantonese is a language not a dialect
I am from Hong Kong, I’m not Chinese
I am from Taiwan, I’m not Chinese
I’m American/British/Canadian,I’m not Chinese
Chinese are Shina [支那] pigs
They cannot even speak English!
They are so tu (plebeian)…
🚨 MAINLAND CHINESE ARE BAD CHINESE.
I AM NOT LIKE THEM I AM DIFFERENT🚨
Now open Twitter, major news portals, or your deserted Facebook account and look for #ChineseVirus or articles with sensational titles like “China is starting WWIII!” or “Mulan flopped despite Disney trying to appeal to the Chinese market because of the government blackout the promotion of the movie!” No need to waste your time reading the article, just look at the author’s name. 98.5% of chances that person is of Chinese heritage, and most likely Cantonese. Part of the emotional catharsis the overseas Chinese community seem to derive from making this kind of content comes from contrasting themselves as good, presentable, and upper-scale Chinese (高华), with the hideousness of the wretched Mainland Chinese people.
It feels good to be the judge rather than the judged. When you point the finger at someone else, you are also pointing away from yourself. Growing up in the West as the Other by default, Chinese diaspora more or less was bullied and humiliated at some point in their lives because of their race, and their safety lies being the one who spearheads criticism at China, by exposing Chinese as evil and lowly, they get the feeling of safety and the relief of having someone, in particular, to blame for the shame and stigma they feel.
“Mainland China is the reason why the world hates us Chinese.”
It’s a simple and naive answer to a complicated racial and political problem.
When I see the anti-China trolls of the Internet, I see a community trying to cope with stigma, and hoping that destroying a scapegoat will bring relief. It is basically a blood sacrifice. It’s not rational. It feels good for a moment, but it won’t ever erase the stigma and shame.
Sidenote: One of my ex-friends is married to a Chinese Internet celebrity who is a PhD student in Maths studying in London. He is famous online for his hatred towards Mainland China and Chinese people. His blind hatred, or shall we say self-hatred, is perceived by Mainland Chinese as a laughingstock. Even on their wedding day he still couldn’t stop talking (rather loudly in a high-tier restaurant) about his obsessive hatred towards China and wished that China should be destroyed or should be colonized by Japan or Western countries. Chinese guests from the bride’s side at the party were embarrassed and petrified. He is socially awkward, overweight, and had rather difficult teenage and young adulthood in China and often complain that he had been unfairly treated. His hate speech towards Chinese, however, gains him followers online outside of China, bonding him with overseas Chinese diaspora who have never been to China but hate China nonetheless out of the aforementioned in-group cringe. He also revealed that he wanted to provoke the Chinese government so he can apply for political asylum in the US to gain citizenship. When I asked him, “why do you hate Chinese so much while you are also Chinese? Why are you marrying my friend who is also Chinese and befriending me???” He replied, “No no, we are different! We are not those lowly Chinese pigs!”
This is already beyond self-critical as a cosmopolitan or anti-establishment liberal dissident. It is blatant racism. I don’t know if I should feel flattered or alarmed to be acknowledged by a super racist person. But I try to understand people. I know people all the way from Antifa, militant feminists, LGBTQ+, social reformers, to American Republicans, disillusioned Trump supporters, Mormons, Anarcho-Capitalists, and even a Neo-Nazi. I admit I have a morbid interest in observing people and their respective worldviews and try to figure out where they are coming from.
Othering their fellow men is the only way to make their logic reasonable. This is how scapegoating works. They repress their uncomfortable feelings of shame, insecurity, and self-loathing, and displace them onto someone else, usually, they can feel superior to. Then they blame and persecute the scapegoat, transforming their painful shame and self-loathing into pleasant, judgmental self-righteousness. It is safe to assume that the large percentage of people who feel the in-group cringe are usually social outcasts themselves. Attacking the scapegoat relentlessly is a way of processing the shame and anxiety of social rejection and exclusion.
We form obsessive and addictive contempt for people who have traits in common with us; people who make us uncomfortable because we see something of ourselves in them.
The diaspora community takes pride in its Westernization and scans its fellow men with extra harsh eyes. This mentality has been recently represented by Andrew Yang, the Democratic presidential candidate. He was so disheartened by the malicious glances random white Americans cast upon him during the early stage of COVID-19 that he felt ashamed of his East Asian identity and called for Asian American community “to show our American-ness” to distance himself from his East Asian origin. Similarly, people from Hong Kong and Taiwan take pride in their good command of English and democratic system ( and I wish them good luck and they are rightly to be proud) to feel superior to Mainland Chinese, but just like the East Asian diaspora community, they are so desperate to fit in the Western world system that they start to discriminate against their fellow people from Mainland China. To this day, I realize the most anti-China demographic is Chinese diaspora, Hong Kongers, and Taiwanese.
People who hate Chinese the most are Chinese themselves.
Why are they like this? Sure, the Chinese government does have many issues to be criticized and improved. Mainlanders criticize the government, too. There are many Mainland Chinese people who are indeed rude and badly behaved while they were travelling overseas, AS ARE PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. Mainlanders also cringe at them and criticize them. But the anti-China Chinese do not see them as individual cases and generalize that all Chinese from the Mainland are lowly, evil, badly educated, unhygienic mass, etc. They take on what their white masters told them. “You are like us, so you are better than them.” This group of people was delighted by the potentiality that they may finally be accepted as “us” and their fellow people are the “Other.” They can finally make friends with white people who are anti-China out of other political and economic interests.
 This literally is an article sent by a very close French friend of mine. Why Mulan (2020) flopped in China is another topic I can go on for hours about. But I will just stop here, otherwise, this article will be too long. Basicaly, 1). Asian American actors are percevied as very ugly in Mainland Chinese’ aesthetics — I happen to have a few friends in the entertainment business in the UK and also LA. I got to know that Hollywood producers have an unspoken rule when casting Asian actors. If they do not have the stereotypical “ ‘Chinese face’—slit eyes, a bulbous nose, flat and wide face”—they are considered not Asian enough and thus won’t be cast. However, this kind of look is the stereotypical racist idea of “Chinese face,” considered super ugly and insulting to Chinese living in Mainland China, as the entire Central and West Chinese people look drastically different and thus do not identify with this look as Chinese;
I can imagine people will say that Mainland Chinese people’s aesthetics are “Westernised.” However, ever since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (1949)— see actors like Wang Xiaotang (王晓棠), Tang Guoqiang (唐国强), Zhou Jie (周洁), etc. and before in the Republic of China — see Xia Meng (夏梦)，Zhou Xuan (周璇), Jiang Ying (蒋英), Lin Huiyin (林徽因) and even earlier in the Qing dynasty (the earliest time in which photographic evidence can be found)—see Princess Zhen (珍妃), etc., good-looking Chinese have always been oval faced, big almond-eyed, with a small nose, smallmouth, and delicate fair skin. This idea that Chinese aesthetics are Westernized is in itself racist against Chinese people, thinking that good-looking Chinese people “look like Westerners” and that Chinese people MUST look like those stereotypical actors/ actress in the Western production, and assuming that those who are good-looking are either mixed or they had plastic surgery. This is ridiculously racist. This is not to say that the stereotypical looking people do not exist or they should not be cast. I am not attacking stereotypical looking actors and actresses per se, rather, I am openly attacking the dominant Western narrative perpetrated by Hollywood producers and fashion designers. In this age of inclusivity and diversity, why is it not okay to ask for nuance and respect when casting Asian/ Chinese actors and actress/ models for an Asian character/ or in a fashion campaign? And how ridiculous it is to say to a native Chinese person “why don’t you look like Chinese” simply because this person does not have the stereotypical face. This is exactly like to say to a black person that “you are black but why don’t you like fried chicken!” or “you are black but why don’t you have the dreadlocks?” Black people who like to eat fried chickens and black people who have dreadlocks are objectively existing, but it is wrong and racist to assume that any random black person you meet must have these two stereotypical traits.
“Looks” is an essential constituent of identity and is susceptible to Foucauldian reading of power discourse. Brah notes in the “Introduction” to Cartographies of Diaspora (2005), “they [‘looks’] mattered because discourse about the body was crucial to the constitution of racisms. And racialized power operated in and through bodies” (3). As for East-Asian looks, the following statements are widely circulating in Western countries: “East-Asians all look-alike” and “East-Asians all have squinted/slanted eyes.” They are popular stereotypes with a strong sense of racism because such statements subjugate the East-Asian ethnic group as a subordinate mass with one vague contour, unworthy of specificity.
2). The Chinese culture represented in the movie is grotesque and exotic to any Chinese who have a basic knowledge of history and basic Chinese culture. Disney Mulan is another “General Tso’s Chicken” type of movie, meaning only Asian Americans can enjoy it because of rare opportunities of being represented in the West, while Mainland Chinese are disgusted by its ugliness and grotesque Orientalism, just like Crazy Rich Asians, which also flopped in the Mainland due to same reasons. Mulan’s failure really has nothing to do with the Chinese government, the article’s blind hatred toward Mainland China without even doing any research on Weibo or Mainland’s movie rating website is rather obvious. Unsurprisingly the author is from the overseas Chinese community.