Posted on April 25, 2006

Hong Kong Confronts Racial Bias

Venkatesan Vembu, DNA World (Bombay), April 25, 2006

HONG KONG: Is Hong Kong racist? The subject is at the centre of a debate that’s raging in the city, with expatriates, both black and white, claiming that the Chinese are — not to put too fine a point about it — racist to the core.

The debate was kicked off in early April by a Kundi Gore, a “black African residing in Hong Kong”, who in a letter to the editor of the South China Morning Post, shared details of “racial discrimination (that) black Africans have to endure in their encounters with institutions and ordinary folk” in Hong Kong.

Gore claimed that black Africans encounter racism right from the time they arrive, when they are “singled out for inspection” at the Customs checkpoint. Further, he claimed, “it suffices for a black person to show up at nightclubs . . . to discover the extent of racial prejudice.” Black entrants, he claimed, “are required to pay arbitrary and exorbitant admission fees that do not apply to other entrants.”

The message of that letter evidently resonated with a few other readers. Paul Kotto, another black African, wrote in to concur with Gore’s views, and said that the colour biases manifest in Hong Kong were a “peculiarly Chinese extension of the ‘black is evil’ metaphor . . . ”