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The brown is brown with the brown brown cat, and I am here with my old friend Anthony, who I know from genetic genealogy DNA, and I want to talk to him because he has a very interesting background. He's lived in China and he's not of the typical ethnic group of people that go to China. And I want to talk about his experiences and also his observations about China in general. And they can you introduce yourself and I don't know if you listen about this broadcast, a lot of Indian listeners and I often ask guests their cast, so could you do something equivalent from your perspective, my cat?
Well, I'm African-American. I grew up pretty middle class in the Midwest. And then my family, we kind of working class. And then we my father joined the military and we moved around a lot, some military brat, Navy brat. So I guess that's how I grew up. I went to a few universities. I have I have I have a couple of bachelor's degrees. Information technology, international business. MBA in information technology, I've yeah, so right now I'm a professional, I work as a project manager and information technology as well in the Washington, D.C. area.
Your nerd, basically, yes, yes, Afro nerd here, we got a target, so I guess can you talk about like when you were in China where you were in China so we can situate the listener?
Sure. So I actually lived in China twice in mainland China. So I lived in China the first time in nineteen ninety nine. I was a exchange student. I lived in Shanghai, Shanghai, and and I studied at what was at the time called Shanghai International Studies versity. And I stayed there for a semester and I had studied Chinese for six months before I went there and I studied Chinese there, Chinese language reading and writing, spoken language. And then in two thousand twelve I went back to Shanghai, older and more experienced.
And I work for an American multinational, a mid-sized multinational in Shanghai, and I stayed there for a year. And actually, I also spent some time out in Chengdu working a little bit as a kind of freelance developer, and I worked part time kind of as an English instructor out there at a university as well in Sichuan, which is quite different there. It's hardly any foreigners out there is not very international. It's a very Chinese place. Shanghai is more international.
Shanghai is a megacity world city, whatever you want to call it. One of the global Kosma Cosmopolis is right at the top of that, more Asian people than the usual cosmopolis of that sort. But what I want to ask you then is your black America and your black American actually what's your what's your African percentage are just a little different. Oh sure.
OK, so, so based on I'll use twenty three, I mean you know kind of throw in some, get averaged out with some kid match type stuff. So I'm about 80 percent. sub-Saharan African. Most of that's West African, but I have some some, you know, about 10 percent East African, you know, some Tharaud throwing, some pygmy, some, which is quite funny because I'm six to have a few percentage of pygmy in me.
The rest of it, I have one percent Native American, which is pretty consistent. Twenty three in my ancestry that comes from my mom's side of the family. I know where that comes from. And the rest is European. So I'm about 10 percent European, which is a little bit less than average African American, my mother. So it's quite mix my father's side. I have a feeling they're pretty pure West African based on what I know. Yeah.
Well, you know, one thing I do have to say is. In all my years of consulting and looking at genetic genealogy of African-Americans, black Americans, American descendants of slaves or the what is it like descendants of enslaved people, there are all these new terms that basically people who say four grandparents descended from people that were here in this country in eighteen sixty five.
Well, there's only one case and it was from Mississippi where I found someone that seemed to be 100 percent African.
Wow. Everybody has just a little bit.
And I think one of the issues that I'm listening to Indian listeners who, you know, in a lot of the world, American people are white people.
So, yes, I know you know about that. But one of the weird things or interesting things is black Americans are actually old stock Americans like almost of their ancestry in this country. The overwhelming majority doing the founding. Right, whether it's black or white, right? That's right. And so if it if it goes back that far, I think that explains one reason why you find so few, quote unquote, black Americans that have no European ancestry because of your pedigree goes that far back.
It's really, really hard to avoid the white man. You know what we're joking about. But, you know, I think everyone knows what I'm saying here. And so that's interesting to me. If your mother is like I mean, I think there are community Gullah in South Carolina, there's a few communities of black Americans in the South that are culturally much more African, partly because they're not to be a Marxist. But in the Gulf of South Carolina lowlands, they were rice farmers and there was a lot more family integrity, cultural transmission across the generations and stuff like that.
They weren't put through the more of kind of like capoulas industrial production where human beings were just units that were like cogs in a machine. Right. So what's so good about like 90 percent African, pretty black looking guy. You're not like an undercover black guy like Sean King or anything like that. No, no, no. Yeah. So you so you get off you get off the plane. You're in China and like what is I read multiple different things about like racism in China.
Basically, this is what I know. Racism in China is like, OK, you're white, you're all right. If you're brown, don't stick around. And if you're black, stay back kind of thing where it's like, you know, white people are kind of like, OK, that's like a higher race. They're civilized. And they did all this stuff right. They're respected. Whereas like other non-white people outside of Northeast Asia are not seen positively with Africans in the I mean, a lot of it has to do with skin color.
Like the darker skin, the less positively you're portrayed, all things equal, which obviously that's rare that all things are all right. But I've been talking for a little while. You don't want experiences.
Yeah, well, I mean, I also have another comparison for going to China. Just very briefly, I, I study after after my undergraduate, I, I, I taught English in Japan for a year in Tokyo so I can compare that as well. I think in China what I've noticed is you're not you're not completely wrong about what you said and that I think the average Chinese person sees it comes down to class. I think it comes down to perceived social class and benefit.
So the Chinese person sees the average white person as educated and fairly wealthy by Chinese standard. That's a stereotype. They have you have that white person from like, you know, Romania from a farm and they're teaching English illegally. The stereotype of being white is that they're from a developed Western country and they at least if they're in China, they have some form of higher education. The stereotype of being black is that they are they're either illegal immigrants, they're there as traitors, kind of when I say traders, I'm talking about importing, exporting small items, manufacturing from China back to Africa.
There's a lot of people doing that in southern Africa, sub-Saharan Africans or their students who are there on scholarship. Or there are or they're they're doing very bad things or drug dealers are doing something else illegal. So from a Chinese perspective, I feel at least my my understanding is they feel that Africans don't really provide a benefit. If anything, they're either making money off of Africa. They're being I mean, sorry, making money off of China, supporting China, being supported by China, are they're doing bad things to Chinese people.
That an all blacks are considered pretty much African if you're visibly black. So if you're African-American and you look like Beyonce, they probably won't assume that you're black. They won't know where you're from. You can get anything from Middle Eastern. Some people might even say some kind of Southeast Asian because they really are not familiar with maybe what people in Indonesia look like, for example. So you might hear something strange like this, but if you look like me, then they will assume you're sub-Saharan African and they will treat you as such.
However, where the class situation comes in is, for example, I had friends who were white English teachers from Anglophone countries. And I've had this situation a couple of times where I would be out at like, let's say, an expat bar. The Chinese there, usually English speaking, usually a university educated, usually associate more with foreigners. They will ignore me and talk to the white people until one of my white friends says Anthony is a manager at a multinational.
And then the Chinese people will ignore the white people and start talking to me. So it's a mix of racism. But I think what it is, is that race denotes class in the mind of many Chinese people and and value. And so when they figure out that you are worth something in their mind, then they will treat you a little bit differently. Like when I worked in my company, everybody knew who I was. And I was one of three Americans who worked at our Chinese office.
The other two are white Americans. I'm the only black American. I had no problem with anyone in that company from an obvious racial perspective. However. Yeah, go ahead, Ron. But on the street where people don't know me, then it's different. Sometimes people can be very dismissive. I've had situations many times, at least once or twice a week where I'll be in public. People will call me Hegyi, like for black devil, white girl loggi like foreign trash, you know, monkey holes or something like this.
And because I think you can't understand and they'll make some kind of joke. He's very dark. You so black. Sometimes even Chinese people ask you things like what are you what do you do here? How much money does that make? They watch white people. That too. But they will ask me things like work outside. Is that why you're so black? Now that so and I will say this, compared to the United States, I will say that Chinese people are much more blunt about talking about specific physical characteristics, overweight.
They will just say you're fat to your face in Asia. Yeah, but they also I will say there is racism and discrimination, but it's not like in the US there's not deep seated hatred. So I've never fear for my safety anywhere in China. And I've been to the most rural village where I know I was the only black man for them, definitely like a hundred square miles. And I never I was never afraid. Definitely people were more afraid of me than I was of them.
So. So there's that too. It's different. The type of discrimination is different from the US. People here hide their discrimination more, but there's also a level of animosity and hatred that go that goes back centuries you don't have in China.
So, I mean, do you think you can't even compare like is racism worse in China or the United States? Do you think it's just not comparable because it's so different?
I think it's not really comparable because like I said, probably there are places in the US that I've been when I lived in Texas for a few years, there's places like Vider, Texas, and there's other places in East Texas where literally I'd be concerned for my safety. There are real sundown towns. I still exist in the US. I know Utah.
Yeah, go ahead.
The listener, the Indian listener with a son downtown in some downtown, as my grandfather used to say it met the son. Better not said on your black ass in this town. So black people were not allowed to live in that town or be there after dark. The reason they say after dark is because you had no purpose there. You weren't working there. If you were there during the day, you might have a job there. You might be filled in a maid, a cook I'm talking about decades ago.
But after dark, you should be gone. And so these towns didn't just exist in the south. That is a stereotype, but they existed. I'm from the Midwest originally. They existed in Indiana. They existed in Ohio for certain. I know that for a fact. They did. Yeah. So so this was where I grew up. Oregon was a standout state, literally. It was a sun down state. So I don't know if I mentioned this story on the podcast before.
I mean, in Oregon, we know all this. It's not like a deep secret. Yeah. When jazz when or century or not early. Twenty, thirty. When jazz troops would play in Seattle, the train would stop in Vancouver because there was no hotel in Oregon that would take black people and the train would start again and it would keep going and then it would stop right as it crosses the border of California and then the trains then because then they could spend the night there.
But there was no place where they could spend the night in Oregon. So this is not just a Southern thing.
No, but but going back to your question, I think it's not comparable. The racism is not comparable between America and China. Because one thing is here, I feel that just minorities in general, I've met other minorities in China. I met weaker people. I had a good friend that was actually weaker. I had I met more people, ethnic Koreans, etc.. I would say this in China, most of the minorities look like Han people who are the majority population.
So as long as they act like can dress like Han speak like Hyun, there isn't really much discrimination against them. The discrimination comes against those who are ethnically act ethnically different and especially look ethnically different. And there's no legal protection for them really that's ever enforced by law in the US. I have some recourse if I can prove discrimination, which is not always easy. But at least in the society there is a ideal that these type of things are bad.
We don't all live up to that. But at least it's a common, I think, everywhere in the country. It's a common attitude that racism is a generally bad. We can argue about what racism means or what it is, but most people would agree with that in the US and China. I don't think that's the case. And Chinese people usually think racism means you physically do something to somebody like I attacked you because you're South Asian or black.
Not that I won't let you move in this apartment. Not that I won't hire you. Those things don't seem to be something that most Chinese people think is really wrong or anything like that, so so you have to deal with those type of things, right. And, you know, I think in China, it's very clear. I mean, even if you look at the government, the top levels of the government, there are very, very few ethnic minorities in the poll that have ever been in the Politburo and the standing committee.
I'm not sure there were ever any ethnic minorities. There might be some people with ancestry that might be Mongul or or Manchu or something like that. But they identify as Han, you know, so so that gives you that gives you definitely an idea of how the situation is.
What's so I know you said I mean, I know you admit it's not really comparable, but you're in the United States now. We're talking a lot about the fear of life of black males and stuff. And maybe we'll get into that a little bit since you have some perspective that most of our guests do not, but. If you want to pick and you want to pick China with the United States, well, I have a child now, so I definitely picked the United States because I think.
I think first off, I have much I have many more opportunities in my career field in America than I would in China as a foreigner. And I think my child growing up, who is actually half Chinese, who looks at this point racially ambiguous, but perhaps you will look more stereotypically black as she gets older, I think she would have a very hard time growing up in China for various reasons, not just overt racism, but the obsession with light skin color and the Chinese society, etc.
. I think it would be. A lot harder for her than it would be to grow up in the United States. Yeah, so your wife, is she a native Chinese? She is from Hong Kong, so she was born when it was a British colony, but when she was a teenager there at the handover. So she is a Chinese citizen and she's a resident of Hong Kong legally. Yeah. OK, and so, I mean, how did you guys meet?
How did it work with the families in terms of, you know, the interracial thing? And I mean, listen, you know, I'm in an interracial relationship, but, you know, I'm American and I like to think of myself as Americans. So it's really not that big of a deal. It's a little bit different. More international. Yeah, sure.
Culturally, I think that well, first I met my wife at a movie theater. I'm pretty friendly guy. So we were both going to see the movie Boyhood and we were new in the city where we were at in the Midwest and we were both there alone. I used to watch movies by myself to unwind after work, and I didn't know many people. So I went by myself. She was in line waiting and I just started talking to her.
It's that's pretty, pretty simple. Her family finds this story to be very bizarre because typically men don't walk up to strange women and start chatting them up. In Chinese culture, that's not typical. So my wife's family, I will say everybody is at least to my face, to me, they've been very nice and very kind of very open. A lot of her family now, like a lot of Hong Kong girls, live in Canada or Australia.
They they left soon after the handover. I guess just a short story is that her father's side of the family is been in Hong Kong for generations. On her mother's side came after the Cultural Revolution from China. So a lot of them have very much anti party leanings. They suffered during the Cultural Revolution because they were landowners. And so they were punished. Their father was put in jail, the grandfather, just because of his family history. And so a lot of them fled and went to Hong Kong.
And then when the communists took over, the CCP took over Hong Kong, a lot of them thought, this can't be good. So they left and went to Canada and Australia. So. So your daughter is the child of very global people. I mean, that's basically what's going on here. Let's pull up your globe trotting nature. But she'll probably be similar. How old is she now?
She is eight months today, actually. Eight months old. Yeah.
Oh, man, that is such a cute time because it's dangerous in a way because they start to be a little independent, like all the way to do all those things. But they start to become real people. Sure.
You know, my wife did tell me that some people in her family made negative comments when she first met me, told her to be careful. They didn't really know any black people. And so they had a lot of stereotypes. But I pretty much met all of them. I've been the candy. I've been to mainland China and I've been to Hong Kong. And they're pretty friendly with me now. You know, even independently. They contact me on social media, we chat.
It seems to be fine for a second when you said, you know, they have a lot of stereotypes that I've met all of them, that's like, whoa, Anthony, you met all the time? I met all the family members. Yes, I met all the family. Yeah. Yeah, I know in context it's really clear and I think it helps speak. I speak intermediate Mandarin. I would say not fluent, but her family, most of them Cantonese fluently.
Not all don't speak Mandarin well. But my wife, her especially her mother's side of the family, they came from mainland China. So they can also speak Mandarin. So better than English. So me being able to talk to them in Mandarin, I think helped a lot in bridging the gap there. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, you obviously have made an effort in a way that is above and beyond, I think, you know, that probably makes a big difference.
So, you know, you're this guy said to China and work there and have had experiences and, you know, like ten years ago, that would be cool. That's cool. But now we kind of live in a different time in terms of China and how we view that country here in the United States. What's your like? I don't know, like quick thought on the China American relationship, what it means, where it's going, how we as Americans should feel.
I well, of course, I hope for the best because I literally have been lost in China. I have friends in China. I still have American friends in China, but I also have Chinese friends. But honestly, I'm not very positive. As long as the current administration in China, Xi Jinping, is in power. I feel that. Well, OK, my thoughts are very simple, I think even if China was a democracy of some kind of democracy, it doesn't have to be a liberal, Western style democracy.
We would still have conflicts with China because. They're their foreign policy, what they want, their territorial claims, the sphere of influence they want, it directly challenges American power in the western Pacific. And so, you know, countries don't concede power willingly. And this is a non Western country with a different political system. So that creates even more suspicion. I don't see the situation we see right now with China, the conflict. Even if Biden is elected in November, I still believe that we're not going to relations are not going to return to where they were.
I don't believe that. I think this is the new normal. There's going to be a lot more competition, a lot more pushback on both sides. I don't see it as getting better in the near future. What I hope more than anything else, if we don't have a kinetic conflict, I don't want war in the Pacific in any way, shape or form. I so that's what that's what concerns me primarily, especially with the current administration in China and in the US.
Well, I mean, what I mean is, is he being you know, he's going to be around for a while. Right. I mean, what your expectation to be around all of this is going to be a tense decade. Is that what you think? Yes.
I mean, I don't think unless some of the party you know, there are factions within the Communist Party. I know you're aware of this, but I'm more talking to the audience. There are factions within the Communist Party and he has done a lot to consolidate his power in China. He had his corruption camp, anti-corruption campaign. He's revving that up again, actually, in some aspects of the government security forces right now. And, yeah, he did crack down on corruption.
It's true from average Chinese point of view. They like it because he made average people's lives a little easier. However, he mostly went after people in other factions who he saw as challengers to his power. He didn't go after his friends. So, you know, I think she is I don't think other factions unless they push him out. I think he's going to be around for a long time, and I think the I honestly think that he can't step down.
He's made so many enemies in the government if he steps down. What's going to happen to him or his family? Yeah, and I also think I truly believe he is a nationalist and I believe he feels that having a strong leader leads to a strong party, which leads to a strong China which can reclaim its rightful place in the world, which is as a global leader. Part of that is getting all their territory back in their sphere of influence.
I don't think that's going to change either in the near future. And America is not going to like that. So no administration is going to just accept that.
So, yeah, I mean, there's not going to be no excitement of disagreement on this. You know, more about China personal interests than I do. But I mean, you seem 100 percent correct from what I know, just reading, you know. So unfortunately, here we are and let's just make it through. I mean, your daughter is less than a year. She's going to have a long life ahead of her. My kids are probably going to live into the twenty second century as well.
You know, I'm not I'm trying not to get too down about where we are because I do feel like 10 years ago we imagined a different future with China, more of kind of the end of history, peaceful collaboration, coevolution, this rich country that buys our goods and we continue to get into debt to buy their team. Could we just continue indefinitely? And now we've got coronaviruses and we've got Chinese politics. I want to ask you if you're comfortable talking about the whole weeker situation and it's lab in China, do you have anything to say that people couldn't read?
Yeah, like I said, I. I knew several leaders in China when I was an undergraduate and I was an exchange student. As I said, back in nineteen ninety nine. It's the first time I met a weaker person at my school and we became fast friends because he was an ethnic minority. He knew what it was like to be different and he faced some discrimination. He spoke English pretty well. It also so we we became fast friends and he was nicer to me on average than most of the people, the local people, let's put it that way.
So much so the situation with the wiggers, I look at it like this, wiggers a lot. I'm not sure the percentage I can't name that I want formal autonomy. They are supposed to be an autonomous region in China. According to the law, however, they've never really been autonomous. The person who's led Xinjiang has always been one person since the Communists took it over. It's one person today. It's always been. And so that pushes people to radicalization where they feel discriminated against because they keep moving Han people into Shin Dong.
And that's been going on for decades and giving them advantages as far as getting land, opening businesses and the local wigger people. Of course, you know, if you see that your homeland and you see your being swamped out in your own homeland, there's going to be a reaction to that. It doesn't matter where it is in the world, if it's the UK or the United States, it doesn't really matter is a natural human reaction. And so some of those people want independence because of this.
And how do you get into how do you get support for independence? Well, these people are nominally Muslim. My understanding is most leaders are not very religiously orthodox as far as like Sunni Islam is concerned. They're their type of Islam. I believe they're like what you call that Feek or they're their their legal perspective has always been kind of like moderate anyway as a Turkic state in the area. So so but they know they're Muslims to get support. And so if you are a Muslim and you support global jihad, then you might get support from Muslims who are not better arm in the Middle East or other places in Central and South Asia.
So I think that's what's happening. I don't think the majority of wiggers, however, in China, because there have been terrorist attacks involving wiggers, the Chinese government is especially around the time of the Olympics. The Chinese government has really cracked down a lot. And now I think the policy is basically to assimilate these people. And assimilation means control childbirth, even though they're not violating the law as ethnic minorities to have two children. There are reports coming that women are being sterilized, women are being forced to get abortions, late term abortions, even some stories about children being killed post birth, right?
Yeah. And and so and then on the other side. Children are being taken away from their parents, put in orphanages very similar to what happened United States in Australia with natives put in orphanages and as Hohn people, even when their parents are still alive, you know, people are being locked up for anything. If they have a beard, if they have a religious prayer on their phone, if they attend the mosque too much, if they don't have a Chinese government approved version of the Koran, they can be locked up and put in a concentration camp where they can be beaten into submission, tortured, made to its very gulag, like a Chinese is like lagi, where they basically make them write what they did wrong over and over again and talk about how they love the party over and over again all day long.
That's good. Yeah. They send them to other provinces like slave labor, saying this is an opportunity to learn a job skill. So, you know, these type of things are going on. Workmates. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Work makes free. Exactly. Just yeah. Just like the concentration camps. So I.
So what's the end date. What's the end game here. Anthony, what's the end game.
I mean the end game I think is as far as I can see is where people are going to be. I don't see any. I see some pushback from Western countries, but right now we're doing billions of dollars. Tens of billions of dollars of trade with China, and that's not going to stop China is almost too big to fail at this point, and sanctions we put on China can potentially hurt us or hurt our organizations or our businesses. So it seems like we're going to try trying get away with this.
And if that's the case, within another couple of generations, there might be people named Weaver in name, but culturally, they will have been assimilated into. Yeah. Like the poor. Yes. I mean, I think that's I think that's what's going to happen. And it's not as if China doesn't have a tradition of absorbing and assimilating ethnic minority groups. But this is very forceful, very aggressive, very nasty. It's not a willing thing, right?
Yeah, it's not a willing thing. White people want to be part of the culture. And in China, I think that this attitude is not just related to wiggers. It seems that the government I wish I could give you the guy's name, but I can't remember. Off the top of my head, there's a Communist Party official, an academic who does a lot of the propaganda and policy. He's pushing this idea for all ethnic minorities who believe they all should be integrated into basically into Han ethnicity, not legally become Hohn, but culturally become Hohn.
They've even changed in China. They used to call Mandarin as Puterbaugh. So it was common language was one of many languages in China. Now they're calling it in mainland China, which is different from Taiwan or Hong Kong and mainland China for the first time in a long time. They're calling it cool. You cool you means national language. So that means that it puts the emphasis on everybody to learn the national language, whereas before wiggers and other ethnic minorities could learn their local language, maybe they didn't speak Mandarin.
Very well. Put them why? They didn't speak it very well. But now there's a push to forcefully integrate these people. But yeah. Yeah, OK, so are you by any means necessary. So let's as we close out, I want to talk about BLM and the current political changes that are going on. The United States really just like really rapidly things are happening. Like what's your opinion on this as a black American who is kind of implicitly at the center of this now?
Well, OK. So my opinion about it is is is that first off, police brutality in the United States is not a new thing. It's been going on for a long time. I've heard stories about police brutality in the past, especially in the south. Where my grandparents lived was part and parcel of being black. And the real brutality was done at night, usually with people dressed in sheets or something like that, who would come to your house and really hurt you, burn it down, kill you.
But those people are also the local police, you know, so so this this thing about police brutality, police killing people, I would say this is not necessarily a new phenomenon. I'm not sure, based on the data that I've seen, that cops actually kill black people more than white people, per say. But there's been plenty of evidence to show that police respond far more aggressively to black and Hispanic people than white people. They see them. And I believe that's because they see I believe they get triggered by dark skinned people and they think they're a threat.
I believe that. And I think there's a lot of evidence to show in American history that that is the case. That is a stereotype that it's almost like black men are like the Incredible Hulk. They turn into some kind of unstoppable force of some kind of wild savage, and they have to be put down immediately because they're so dangerous. Whereas with white men, they don't take this type of stance. But as far as black lives matter, definitely.
Wait, so did you ever hear the Chris Rock, the Chris Rock thing where, like, Chris Rock was just like so I heard on the news that someone was being disruptive and the cops shot him in the movie. Then we went black. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, no. Yeah, I know. Yeah, yeah. But I mean, you know, as far as, as far as police. Another thing you brought Chris Rock, this is a good this is a good one.
So Chris Rock said in an interview a few years ago that in America in general, there are no race relations. Black people have not improved. It's just that white people have gotten less crazy relations seems to imply that there's some negotiation, some kind of equal or semi equal ability to negotiate, some kind of a settlement or agreement. That is not the case. The case is how do white people choose to act or not act toward me? Because there has been black people shot who have been, you know, running outside, jogging in their bed sleep.
It doesn't really matter what the black person is doing or how they're dressed. It just it just seems the correlation seems to be there black in the in the wrong situation. Right? Well, you are you are a dark skinned black American male. Is there anything personal that you can tell us about your experiences, like you've talked about living in Texas, these sorts of things? I'm a brown skinned dude. I think most people can tell that I'm South Asian.
But I mean, if I'm shave my head, I mean, occasionally I've gotten false positives, but I haven't had anything very traumatic in my life in the United States, probably the most based on my experience with in Italy in 2010. So I don't see it myself.
I'm quite you know, I you know, I would say that in my life, I've never been shot at by the police, shot by the police or or beaten up by the police. But the biggest thing that did happen to me, and I never forget it, is that when I was an undergrad, I was stopped by the cop for illegal lane change. The cops immediately said they have probable probable cause to search my car. This was in Virginia.
The cop asked me to go. The car threw me up against the car, pulled his gun out and then asked me. He didn't handcuffed me, but he asked me to sit on the curb. And then he after he patted me down, it was very strange, you put the gun back in the holster, back up his hand on it, then he went in my car. This was in the 90s. So I had a CD player on the floor of my car with, like a adapter for the cassette player in the car.
Right. And he said he thought it was a gun. So so. So he let me go with the ticket for illegal lane change. I went to court. Luckily, the judge was black. The judge actually berated the cop and threw out the ticket and said he better never hear about something like this again after that. Strangely enough, I got followed a lot by the police for a little while.
It's like. It's like it's like they had a list. Then you are now on the list. Yeah. Yeah. It was like that for about nothing. So seriously. Yeah, I've had, I have. But I will say this. We're both like middle class people. Right. And I would say there that most of what you're seeing as far as police brutality is probably working class to lower class poor ethnic minorities. And I think when you're middle class, I don't see the police that often.
I live in a very middle class neighborhood outside of Washington, D.C., a suburb. I don't see the cops that much. But if I went to southeast D.C., which is very poor, it's much more it's almost militarized because that's where a lot of the crime is. So you see cops everywhere. The people interact more with the police. There's much more likely they're going to be stopped by the police. They're going to be questioned by the police.
So being where I am, although I'm black, I honestly feel that and also being middle class, that the cops stop me. Obviously, the way I sound on the phone and I know this by interviews, most people don't even know I'm black. I've been to interviews before where they're clearly looking for a white man. And then I stand up and they look like, oh, that can't be right, you know? And so I think I think that's a middle class black person.
Maybe I don't trigger police as much and I don't see the police as much. But that's not the case for everybody, you know, that we're actually talking about here.
It's kind of like a common thing going back to what were talking about for China. It's like people have one perception prior based on what you look like and then you update it when someone says when a white person validates that this is my boss and it's my supervisor, everything changes. And then you're saying like, oh, the way you speak. And yes, you do not exhibit in your speech patterns of the distinctive black American English, which has a huge range of how distinctive it can be.
But I don't I wouldn't know. You sound as white as I do. Yeah. I'm pretty sure that's because I'm talking to you.
I can coach.
OK, ok. OK, ok. But something conscious, it's like a subconscious thing when I'm talking to people who are outside my family or my close friend group who are not black, I talk like this. I don't think about it, to be honest with you. I think it's something I learned in childhood growing up in predominantly white suburban areas, I guess.
Well, so one thing is you don't have any cojones in The New York Times. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I'm well, so. So she grew up in Iowa and white, like some sort of slovik. She doesn't mention this ever. From what? Because like, I've listened to a lot of her, like I have to look it up. But she speaks with a distinct black American accent. Whenever I hear her talk, I am 100 percent sure that she can switch to sound just like you and she doesn't.
But anyway, I think that sending a signal to people of what she wants to present herself as she doesn't talk about her white mom, she speaks in the black American English despite coming from a medium sized city in Iowa, going to a mostly white school. And, you know, so we're closing up here. I don't want any more of your time, but this is the fascinating you optimistic America talk about China and America. Are you optimistic that race relations are going to get better?
You know, you have a you have a daughter who is Filipino, so she's got Filipino. So she's not just joking. I'm just saying, like, I know what people are going to say. Right? Yeah. Yeah. I had I had I had an acquaintance actually, who was half Korean, half black, and people would be always like Cambodian. Right. Right, right. Yeah, yeah. Actually, I said to my mother in law and I said, my daughter looks like Southeast Asian.
She did not find that to be amusing. So we've had other conversations around skin color and attractiveness as well. Anyway, but. But but. South Asia listeners will have plenty of experience with that. Yeah, that's right. But you were going to say, right? Yeah, but as far as its race relations, I, I think I think they have gotten better. I'm not going to sit here. A lot of people say nothing's changed since the civil rights movement.
It's just gotten worse. That's not that is not my reality. That's not the reality of my family, which spans from actually fairly wealthy, you know, to very poor. I don't think that's the experience that I've seen or I or I've had. But what I can say is that other things have improved. It's a very, very slow process. And I think it's going to be a generational process. I don't think it's going to be something like 10 years from now.
It'll be radically different than today. I don't think these things happen like that. You've had, you know, since the first black people came off slave ships in the British colonies in Virginia and, you know, from to today or till the end of the civil rights movement. And then you have my my my mother, who was born in the middle of the civil rights movement. That hasn't since that time my mother was born and has never really been three generations.
It takes more than three. It takes more than two and a half generations to overturn like hundreds of years of culturally reinforced patterns of behavior for white and black Americans. It takes time to overcome the gap in wealth that doesn't happen in one generation. So I'm positive about the future, but I don't have radically I I'm positive about the future, but not radically. So I would just say that I expect change and be slow. So that's. Yeah, that's my last question then.
Yeah. Last question. I mean, that's reasonable. I am actually fascinated. I have small children and you know, they have I say that most people would say they're what they would say now is white presenting like you've seen some photos. I think you would agree. But, you know. Yeah, I like how they were going to identify and all that stuff, and I don't know I don't know if it's going to be that big of a deal by the time they're my age.
But, you know, people in the United States being black is different than I think anything else if you're a minority, you know. So if I give my kids, like white sounding names and they don't look to brown and white presenting or what I identify, I don't think people would be like whatever. It's not a big deal. It's not it's not a conversation piece. But you have a daughter who's half Chinese, half black. Kind of interesting because China could be a great rival and that for the next generation and that the relationship with black Americans of the American society, American culture, American state, it's like this long term thing, like what kind of black identity do you expect to give?
Or like what have you thought? Like what is your family said, especially in this time of rising black consciousness? Well, I well, as far as the Asian part, I think we joke around a lot about if things get worse with China, what we'll have to tell people that she's half Vietnamese or half Korean, but are know about like how tough that's going to get.
Yeah, she she's not I mean, she's eight months old, right. I think a lot of this is just how you choose to identify some people, make it out to be that way. Your identity, how you choose to identify. I think that it's more than that. I can identify as a white man, but no one's going to treat me like that. It also matters how society treat you, and that has to do with how you look.
And so I think how she looks when she grows up will determine some of that, we're still going to send her the Chinese language school on the weekend like a lot of Chinese American kids, because we think learning Mandarin and reading and writing Mandarin is important. We we are so we're going to do that, she's going to learn about our African-American heritage and our history. She lives in an area where there's a lot of African-Americans around the Washington, D.C. area.
I don't think that's the problem. But I think in the end, she's going to have to decide at some point how she identifies and or how she how she wants to enforce other people to treat her or identify her. I don't know what that's going to look like in 20 years or 15 years from now. Yeah, I would I did tell my wife is that when she applies for universities, she is one hundred percent black. There is no benefit to being Asian, as you know, on a university application.
Yeah, I don't mention that. Yeah, I. Yeah, yeah. That's a different conversation. I'm going to end it there. Great talking to you. Let's keep in touch online and I really appreciate your insights. I think that this is really going to do I mean, sure, it was fun.
Thank you, Rosie, but I really appreciate you reaching out to me and I hope we can talk again. Thank you. Tune in next week for Brown. Yes.