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有點種族歧視的讚美 – “racist” compliments

Momzilla is here for less than two days and I already know I will have bunch of posts to write – can you believe that last time she flew to the US we had a little car crash, and this time our car completely broke down?
It’s going to be fun three months!
But this is now what I wanted to talk about today, Momzilla will get her 15 minutes.

If you read some of my older posts you can figure out I enjoy writing about stereotypes, good or bad. You can check some of them out:

  •  收入與異國戀的關係 – earnings and interracial relationship stereotypes
  • 波蘭女人 – Chinese men on Polish women
  • 為何愛鬼妹? – Why you’re dating a white girl?

I like to discuss them, share my point of view, and get to know your opinions!
These topics often come up during conversations with Sing as he often lurks on Hong Kong forums. In the past I used a lot of my husband’s help to look through these forums and get people’s view on particular topics.

They can be a great source of information, but they also spread stereotypes.
This time I decided just to focus on the looks, what are the stereotypes of “gwai mui look” and what it all has to do with my husband, and this post’s title? 

We can lie to each other that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but what made you grab the book in the first place? The cover doesn’t need to be beautiful, but it needs to grab your attention.

I’m that kind of average book that you can find only when you look for it, rather than getting your attention the moment you enter the bookstore, but I found that one reader who read the summary at the back of the cover and thought the content of the book is pretty entertaining.

My self confidence is nearly zero, but despite how crappy I feel or look, Sing is very supportive and always compliments me.
Even if I have a pimple on my forehead that makes me look like a rhino (let’s face it – I’m not the unicorn type) he would try to say something nice about my eyes, or simply throw “You look cute today”.

That’s fine, I love it and I think every girl would love a sweet man like that too. However, the difference between sweet man and Sing is the fact that I think my husband emotional intelligence is equally proportional to my self esteem.
He is great at work, he’s a very smart engineer, but the biggest problem I have is he doesn’t think much before saying something.
A sweet guy knows something that would make his significant other upset and he doesn’t say it. Sing makes sure to say it twice, in case you missed it the first time.

Sometimes I know he wants to be nice and cheer me up, but he just doesn’t do it the way he should.
And this is how we get to racist compliments. Why racist? Because if a white guy complimented his Asian girl in the same way he would probably had all the social warriors on him. 

Am I bothered by them? Enough to write a post, not enough to divorce him.
But I wouldn’t want him to compliment someone else like that – it’s a bit like those ‘You don’t look THAT fat today’ types of compliments.

Let me explain – my husband spent most of his adult life in foreign countries (Australia, USA and now Ireland) so it’s not like I’m the first white person he had seen or dated. He would read Hongkongers’ opinions or stereotypes they have about white girls, evaluate his experience and compare them to me.

As every stereotype, there’s some good, some bad and some ugly. I will focus only on the bad ones, as Sing often tries to use them in the context of the compliments he gives.
Here are some of the most common written stereotypes on white girls on Hong Kong forums and how my husband tries to change them into compliments!

  • White girls don’t have good skin, it’s very rough – Sing’s compliments how soft is my skin, completely ignoring the fact that me and whoever has a soft skin puts like 45231423474 layers of cream each day to keep it, only to complain later why I spend so much on creams. It’s either this or sand-paper hands, you choose. 
  • Bye bye meat on arms – if you don’t know what’s “Bye bye meat” stand in front of a mirror and wave goodbye. If your arm is wobbling, that’s a bye bye meat. Every single time Sing says something nice about the arms, I wonder if I look like The Mountain from Game of Thrones or maybe that I’m the only one carrying groceries in this house…
  • Bigger bone structure – literally ‘I’m glad your not big, sometimes when I stand to ******** (our coworker) I feel so small. They are all so tall and look like they could beat me up’. I bet if they hear him ever saying that, he will get beaten.
  • Have strong body odor – that’s called shower and deodorant, but thank you. He once even said ‘Do you ever sweat? White girls should sweat, you’re not used to hot weather’ as it was 30-something degrees Hong Kong summer outside and Sing seemed to sweat for both of us.
  • They always sun bath and get tan – said a man living the most pale country in the world. “You’re so white”. That’s it. Like – I know, I have a mirror. Could that be a compliment? For most people not, some could get even upset as it means they could look sick. But for a lot of Hong Kong people, bright skin without tan is healthy and desired. My mom is always asking me to get some sunshine, don’t cover the freckles I get so easily, but Sing’s whole family will say ‘Your wife’s skin is so pale’. If you ask me – this is the worst ‘compliment’ of them all. 

You wouldn’t want someone say ‘Your partner is good looking… for (put here his/her ethnicity here)’ that’s why I try to kill my husband’s habit of racist compliments, but I know he doesn’t mean harm.
All he wants is for me to gain some confidence, but he does it a way he may offend others.
Some men just need bit more time to realize what really is OK and what is not.

What is your opinion on racist compliments? Did someone ever give you one like that? Would love to hear your opinion and discuss! 

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