Words are such powerful weapons. That is why we should all be careful with what we say. The words that come out of our mouths and the words that we type could either shoot a bullet at someone or blow up in our faces, or both. People can have different interpretations of what we say especially when we're just kidding around. When sarcasm and humor come to play, the use and understanding of words become complicated. What happened to me is a classic example of someone trying to fool around and then somebody takes it seriously and gets offended. It's a one-act, one-hit verbal war.
I was accused of being racist to Chinese people. It's quite funny because I actually love Chinese. I like Chinese food, I'm in love with Chinese culture, and one of my favorite seasons of Survivor is Survivor: China. Wait, does that count?
My interest in its culture, its people and its history made me take an Asian History class this term, and fortunately for me my professor did not fail my expectations. I'm having so much fun in his class. I mean, I've been spending gazillions of hours in the lab for the past couple of months, if not seated in a very cold class room, often quiet, attempting to understand reaction mechanisms and sample analysis instrumentations. Among all of my courses this term, Asian History is the one that stands out in a good way.
So how was I accused of abhorring the very culture I love? It's because of my words. Here is the story.
Something that was building up within me, that's sort of like a Chinese frenzy brought on by the awesome discussions in my Asian History class, led me to a place I've never been to which I finally decided to visit just recently. I flew to Shanghai. I visited a Buddhist temple and then went biking on top of the Great Wall. Come on, I'm just kidding. That would be awesome though! But seriously, I went to Chinatown last Sunday. I did see a temple, I'm not sure if it's Buddhist or Taoist, and uhm, I saw a tall apartment wall. I didn't actually go to China!
I'm not going to narrate what happened and what I did in Chinatown. That would be long and quite boring. I just have to tell you that I had fun 50% of my time there, enjoying the Chinese atmosphere all across the streets and all over the stores and restaurants. And then, the other 50%, I tried to have fun but it got really difficult when I started to realize I was getting lost.
I got lost in Chinatown.
When I got home, I was just so glad I was actually able to get home, being a bozo who didn't bring GPS or a map, and a phone with full battery when he went to a place for the first time, with a couple of people who didn't bring any of their stuff. My "Chinese Frenzy" episode did not end when I got home. It's because of Twitter. Here it is. Here's what I said.
I tweeted, "Chinatown is like a frickin maze. It's so confusing it gave me a headache. It must suck to be Chinese."
My friend, appreciating the humor, re-tweeted that.
She should've known she has Chinese friends. Ten seconds later, I found out that two people were already calling me racist. Two of her friends are Chinese-ish (probably have some Chinese ancestors, or are actually Chinese, I don't know) and they saw that RT. My friend told me they thought I was racist. She replied to her friends saying that I just like being an ass. She had to call me an ass to calm them down, maybe.
And so I told her, "I am not racist. I love Chinese! I was just kidding."
Her: "I know. But they saw your tweet, and they got mad."
Me: "Tell them I love chop suey! I'm having chop suey right now for dinner!"
I tweeted, "I LOVE CHOP SUEY." Sure enough, she RT-ed that. Peace out.
I understand that my words when I said that were quite wrong, but. . . I was just trying to joke that if you were Chinese you would have to live in a maze. I was just. . . but. . .
Later that night, I tweeted, "Chinese people are amazing. They built those frickin pyramids." This time I was just trying to make it obvious that I was kidding, although I know I could be adding insult to injury.
Then my friend said, "Do you want me to RT this too? And be called racist again!?"
And I was like, "What!? Do you have Egyptian friends too?"
I am aware that words can hurt other people and I strongly believe we should all be careful with what we say. This is a lesson learned since ice age.
It's really tough when your jokes are seen badly and result to you being accused badly. I already got lost in Chinatown, and then this? I get this for trying to joke about something that I love? Come on, who could be racist to Chinese people in the first place? Chinese people are amazing! No sarcasm, no joke-- just straight up, China is a wonderful country and its people are awesome!
China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The country has a unique outstanding culture that its people have preserved for more than four hundred decades already, bringing colorful artworks, amazing architectures, picturesque landscapes, valuable inventions and several remarkable intellectual progressions to this planet since the very beginning of its history. I love China. What's not to like? You know you love China too!
kudos to China and the Chinese people.