Lou Jing, China, and Expressions of Racism Online (Updated)

by Latoya Peterson

Readers Carleandria, Eugene, and Johnathan tipped us to this story about Lou Jing.

Abagond explains:

Lou Jing (1988- ) is a Chinese student from Shanghai who took part in the television talent show, “Let’s Go! Oriental Angel”, in 2009. Even though she lost she became famous in China because of the Internet firestorm she caused, bringing to light how racist China still is (old news to Tibetans and Uighurs). As Hung Huang put it:

    In the same year that Americans welcome Obama to the White House, we can’t even accept this girl with a different skin colour.

One night during the show they brought out the families of the contestants. There on live television her mother told China that she had an affair with a black man who returned to America not knowing she was going to have his baby. Then her Chinese husband left her after he saw that the baby was black! She had to bring up Lou Jing on her own. [...]

The hosts of the show called her “Our Chocolate Girl” and “Black Pearl”, which might be innocent. But people on the Internet left no doubt what they thought, calling her things like “Black Chimpanzee”.

They were saying she was not truly Chinese – even though she was born in China, has lived in China all her life, speaks perfect Shanghai Chinese (to the surprise of many) and can sing Shanghai opera better than most.

Because she looks black American or black African to the Chinese, many believe she is not truly Chinese.

Over at ChinaSMACK, they detail the racist abuse heaped on Lou Jing.  A small sample:

    Jesse_Q:

    Her mother’s skin is pretty thick.
    At the time finding foreigners was indeed a fad, but you still can’t pick blacks!

    滢滢:

    Kao.

    Fucked by a black.

    How come a zebra wasn’t born…?

    黑丫子:

    Ugh. Yellow people and black people mixed together is very gross…only black skin, not yellow skin, chocolate skin…

    Not even knowing this common knowledge, ruining a child’s life.

    老实人春生:

    There is nothing wrong with the daughter, but her mother is indeed a bitch/slut, married but still getting involved with a black person, probably for the great “love” too. Too bad the black man treated her as a toy. Chinese girls, please have a little more self-respect.

Lou Jing responded to many of these comments, directly, saying:

I am DragonTV Angel Lou Jing, and here I make a statement!

1. My father is American, not African.
2. I am a born and bred Shanghainese person.
3. I should not have to bear my parents’ mistake, I am innocent!
4. Sternly but strongly protest some people’s racism, my skin color should not become a target of attack!

I reserve the right to take legal action!


When Eugene sent this in, he noted that the controversy made him feel sad. I feel the same way.

Update:

Reader dustyasymptotes added this to the comments:

Latoya,

In the interview that Lou Jing did with Netease (video with translated transcript here: http://www.chinahush.com/2009/09/15/netease-interview-with-shanghai-black-girl-lou-jing/ ), she is very adamant about not having made that four point announcement, and feels that it was maliciously written to stir up trouble. (”I think there wasn’t any racial discrimination, until he wrote the article and caused it.”)

While it’s possible that Lou Jing is trying to reduce the amount of hate directed at her by minimizing the situation, I think it’s important to take what she is actually saying into account, and I would appreciated it if you could update the post.

The full interview is here, and Lou Jing does deny posting the statement, noting that it is based on rumors. She also answers a lot of questions on her experiences in society:

Netease: I see the information that you have several nicknames as a child one is called “Gong Gong”.

Lou Jing: Yes, “Gong Gong” in Shanghai dialect means “stupid”.

Netease: Stupid? Why do they give you this name?

Lou Jing: Because I do not get angry at people. For example, generally my mother always taught me to be generous, tolerant. So to my classmates, when I thought I was angry, other people think, this is called angry? It’s like I cannot get angry, always ok, ok and only know how to help people. Another stupid thing is when you are good to others, others might not necessarily be good to you, and then I would think it does not matter. Anyway, I think I am good to other people then I am happy, but other people think I am stupid like that, therefore classmates gave me this nickname.

Netease: Another nickname is “Little Black”?

Lou Jing: Yes, this is coming from skin color, only my close friends call me this, normally no one else calls me that.

Netease: Isn’t calling you this “racial”?

Lou Jing: Not racial, because we are close, normally middle school and high school classmates that are close to me and sit around me in class call me that. But they are weird, when they heard other people calling me that, they would say “Who told you to call her that? This is our exclusive name for her.” It’s like that.

Netease: Were you angry?

Lou Jing: First time I was then I got use to it. Because when we were little, classmates were very close, also when we were little, we had good intentions. Other people gave me nickname I also gave them nicknames. (Laugh)

Also, please note that xenophobic comments will not be approved. -LDP