why i don’t like chinese people even though i am one, part 2.
it would be hard to invent something so hateful as this: pushing needles under the skin of a baby. a baby girl, of course.
twenty-six needles, to be exact.
and people act as if misogyny in chinese culture is something feminists overstate.*
One [needle] in the top of her skull could only have been stuck there when the bones in her head were still soft.
when i read this i had a visceral reaction. the kind where you almost double over in pain. because not only did they stick needles under her skin in the hopes of piercing her innards so she would die, and do this—repeatedly—but clearly the men in the family starved the women of love.
Her father beat his wife and daughters and denied them meals and the right to sit at the family table, relatives said.
Luo’s earliest memories were of huddling in tears with her sister and mother.
yes, there are vicious, vindictive people in all cultures. but i loathe with a passion those in my own backyard the most.
you see why i would take the most jagged knife i can find and hold down traditional chinese culture with its sickening male worship and, without any drugs to deaden the sensation, cut that red, raw cancerous heart out with my blunt blunt knife?
because if any surgery is required, it’s the removal of whatever made that hideous grandfather torture luo cuifen as a baby AND THINK IT WAS OK.
make no mistake, i love my son. i love him IN SPITE OF all the really really wrong chinese reasons to love a boy. because a culture that would say i, his mother, have no value because i’m female or i have value only because i gave birth to a son can go fuck itself. this is no warm fuzzies about a hat that provides no shade, this is the ugly underbelly of chinese culture, where the reptile part of the brain dominates and assesses the worth of one life versus another. my life as lesser than his…never.
so, you see why i’m in no rush to have him learn to speak chinese or go to china or throw himself headlong into a culture that, while i’m sure is urbane and modern-appearing and equally horrified by the country-bumpkin cruelty manifested in this story, nevertheless has this unholy legacy as part of it.
i don’t know how you can separate the warp from the woof, how you can take a few threads of chinese culture and have it keep you warm, and lock away the more radioactive parts of it.
but you have to try.
* and as trivial as it may seem, i include the men who love to hate on JOY LUCK CLUB in that continuum. too many of my undergraduate asian american male students fell in this category. and you know what? it was a pleasure to leave academia if this was all asian american studies could teach them: new methods for bottling old w(h)ine. so here goes eight years of wanting to slap snotty undergrad males (and not a few older asian american men who’re STILL on this vibe) and not being able to.
you want to hate? BRING. IT. hate all you want because it lets us see who you REALLY are: you can’t stand it when the world isn’t revolving around you, can you? not even one little story where it’s NOT ABOUT YOU. for fuck’s sake, THE JOY LUCK CLUB is about your sisters and your aunts and your mothers and grandmothers. you can’t let those women take center stage for even a moment, can you?
yeah, i put you on the same continuum as the monster who tortured his granddaughter. because you are the suburban, well-fed, better educated man WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER than that needling “dirt-biscuit” in china who’s too ignorant to hide his misogyny.
you know what? the fact you experience racism does not make your misogyny okay. and you know what else? just because you were tenderly raised by your own mother to believe that you matter more than she does IS NOT OKAY.
i, for one, am not that kind of mama. i don’t put up with that shit.
get outside yourself. grow up. stop being infantile and open your heart to the women in your lives. your male privilege is not worth more than their pain.