Posted on April 18, 2020

Modern Chinese Medicine: Anti-Blackness

Millie Boella, Medium, April 14, 2020

Considering the global spread of COVID-19, it’s odd that Chinese people are discriminating against Africans on the basis that African immigrants might create a second wave of infections in China. In fact, 90% of new COVID-19 infections imported to China are from Chinese passport holders. Not only that, but Wuhan, the capital city of the Hubei province in China, is where the COVID-19 pandemic began. Consistent cover-ups by the Chinese government from the beginning of the pandemic beget a widespread belief that China’s government is suppressing statistics that reveal the true scale of the spread in China. Meanwhile, Africa has the lowest infection rate of any continent in the world. So why the sudden surge of anti-Black violence in China?

The reason is because anti-Blackness is a panacea for non-Black people of color when trying to mitigate the pain of racism against themselves. The Chinese have lost face by China being the epicenter of the worst global pandemic in a century, and there has been an uptick in Anti-Asian violence in the West, specifically targeting people who appear to be East Asian. Using the balm of anti-Blackness is how the Chinese are seeking to soothe themselves and regain their global standing.

Non-Black people of color have long deluded themselves that their plights against White supremacy are not so bad because they’re not Black. {snip}

Despite evidence to the contrary, non-Black people of color feel they’re better positioned than Black people because the model of White supremacy that is taught to them places White people at the top, non-Black people of color in the middle, and Black people at the bottom. Indigenous peoples are quite tellingly erased in this model. The three pillars of White supremacy as theorized by Andrea Smith is in fact a better model for understanding how White supremacy situates people of color and Indigenous people.

One pillar is the logic that Black people are inherently enslavable. Black people, according to this logic, are reduced to their physical form. {snip}

The second pillar is that of genocide and colonialism against Indigenous people. The logic of genocide is to persistently erase Indigenous people in settler nations, in order for White people to lay rightful claim to vanquished lands, and continue their appropriation of Indigenous spirituality and culture.

The third pillar is that of Orientalism and war. It marks non-Black people of color as permanent foreigners, however long they and their families have been in Western countries. As these foreign cultures and civilizations pose a threat to the stability of White civilization, they must be neutralized through war, and suppressed using domestic policies, particularly in terms of immigration.

Whiteness is upheld by these three pillars. No pillar can be removed if White supremacy is to stay afloat. Yet non-Black people of colour believe that they can ascend to Whiteness through their anti-Blackness and sycophantic echoing of the tenets of Whiteness. {snip}

The path forward to White immigrant assimilation in Western countries has always been quite simple: a willingness to discard their native culture, and an eagerness to enact anti-Black violence, and Indigenous erasure. Non-Black immigrants’ aspiration for Whiteness, or at the very least their acceptance as citizens in Western countries, is modeled on this. {snip}

The model minority myth was devised by White supremacists in the mid-20th century to quash arguments that Black people’s low socioeconomic status was unrelated to racist oppression. {snip}

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in China, has brought White civilization to a halt, Orientalist violence has increased. The Chinese, wary of losing their coveted status as model minorities on the global scale, are therefore responding with increased anti-Blackness. They are following a time-old narrative: to appease the fury of the White Gods, Black people must be sacrificed.