Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The correctness of being politically incorrect.

After our mad weekend on the coast we crashed on our Brazilian friend’s Sao Paulo apartment couch exhausted and depleted while he worked. We spent hours watching TV that we didn’t understand and making up translations for news stories. After the news, the channel flipped to a cooking show.The Chef demonstrated how to make a traditional Brazilian dish that made The Other Tracy want to vomit. So began her love of gooey Brazilian cuisine. After the chef was finished he went on to advise us what he will be making on the next day’s show. He pulled back his eyes making them squinty and said amanha vamos a tenhar comida china (Tomorrow we are going to have Chinese Food). Tracy and I just looked at each other in shocked and laughed our asses off. If someone on TV in our countries did that they would be fired right on the spot. That would be very offensive to the Chinese community and so so politically incorrect.

We later saw many more examples of this such as our favourite restaurant (to laugh at) China in Box or as the advert says, “Chinaaaaaaaaaaaaa in Box!” in a horrible Chinese accent.

This was all quite shocking to us but at the same time when the Brazilians we were with called a Japanese Brazilian girl Japa Brazilian she didn’t seem to mind.

I have noticed this before in Latin American countries such Peru; anyone who is white is gringo, if you are Asian of any sort you are Chino and if you are from anywhere in Latin America you are Latino. I met a Japanese Peruvian and everyone just calls him Chino and he is clearly not Chinese. The thing is though no one really minds and they aren’t making fun of each other. It’s also like in Mexico if you have a friend that is fat, you call her Gordita (little fatty). It’s a form of endearment not offensive. I have never seen a Mexico woman complain when someone calls her Gordita and they do, from the women in the tiendas to friends and relatives.

It seems Latinos just say it how it is, you know the saying, "if it walks like a duck, talks like a must be a duck." But in our countries we seem to skip around this fact. For example my friend told me she was working with a guy in a restaurant who is black. The customers he was serving had forgotten something and was speaking to the manager trying to figure out who their servers was. They said he had brown hair, glasses, average height....hmmm could have been anyone there. Didn’t help they eventually saw the guy and pointed him out. What he wondered was why could they not have just said the black kid? He is obviously black and that would have distinguished him from the rest of the crowd.

We are so sensitive that it’s too much. Maybe we should reach a nice middle ground between us and the Latinos. Maybe not calling someone Japa or pretending to be Chinese on TV by pulling back your eyes but if someone is Chinese call them Chinese, if they are black, they are black.

I am white

I am a Gringa

I am female

And I am Canadian

1 comment:

  1. This is great, and true. In Latin America they call me Gringo Moreno!


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