Having lived in China for a year now, it has been interesting to see how many Asian flavored “slurs” pop up in the American language. Sayings and attitudes that made sense before seem a little more foreign now. Because the American homeland IS slowly becoming the foreign place to me now. It’s the curse of the Expat.
I went to an American website a couple months that bans certain IP addresses. It had banned China IP’s which included mine. The message to these IP’s was a “no access” message along with the jab: “No Rice”. In other words, if you access their site from China you are banned, they don’t want rice eaters on their site. There was a time I might have thought that was funny. But being the recipient of that made me embarrassed for the website owner, and embarrassed that other Chinese would see that same message.
Today on a discussion forum someone commented “what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?” And instead of reading that and understanding that they meant the recipient was not making a valid point; my first reaction was to actually wonder where the price of tea in China was involved. Perhaps this is part of a larger paradigm shift. It may seem trivial, but if you have been an Expatriate working in another country then you probably understand the strange perspective on things. The price of tea in China IS relevant to me, as is the attitude of my native country towards my host country.
Also today in the news were complaints from Iran that Hollywood movies are full of slurs against Iran and it’s people. I would normally discount that as more political drivel. But maybe there are more put-downs in our languages against different countries than we realize.