Welcome to the New World, China

There’s a color war going on in China.

It’s the kind of race battle we’re still trying to wrap our hands around in parts of the U.S. (consider the mixed race couple that was denied a marriage license in Louisiana…and that’s in 2009! Who forgot to tell that judge that we have a multiracial President?)

Lou Jing is Mandarin-speaking 20-year-old who competed in Shanghai’s version of American Idol. She’s the focus of a passionate public debate: what does it mean to be Chinese. And it’s all about the color of her skin. Lou Jing’s mother is Chinese, her father an African-American whom she’s never met.

For sure, it’s a controversy that boosts ratings. Wouldn’t Simon Cowell be all over  this?

China doesn’t easily accept mixed-race children as Chinese. When a child is born the  parents have to register the child as belonging to one of the fifty-six government-approved ethnic groups. There are no mixed-race categories. We have that same battle here in the U.S., only we have four groups: Black, White, Asian, Hispanic. Sometimes Native American and Pacific Islander are bunched in with Asian. There’s always the Other box – that’s me. You can read my brief bio here about what I used to write on race forms: 100-yard dash.

On rare occasion, a form lists Multiracial. We need that on EVERY form.

While the U.S. is just now rising out of its shame about race-crossing, what happened here to the Chinese pride about MADE IN CHINA?

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