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An unfortunate case of
bigotry and discrimination

I thought it might help if we discussed this on this list. For one thing, it will help support Sue, and another, I think the best we can do about bigotry (at this distance) is to expose it. So what do you guys think of this?

Sue has had an unfortunate experience in Texas. When I last talked to her she had joined a Japanese club and had offered to teach Japanese to its members, for free. Someone replied to her kind offer with a rather nasty and biased email. Here it is, below.

mysailing: hello, vance.
mysailing: may i ask you a question.
vance_stevens: Hi Sue!!
vance_stevens: sure
mysailing: would you please read this text?
vance_stevens: have you gone fishing yet?
vance_stevens: if it's not too long, ok
mysailing: Most Mainland Chinese like you spend their time doing cheap, dirty labor in Japan. I sincerely doubt that 5 years doing that makes you fluent enough to be a Japanese teacher. You would volunteer? Come on, you want MONEY, don't you. Isn't that why so many Chinese like come to America?! Give me a break! I am looking for a REAL Japanese. If I ever want to study Chinese I'll let you know (of course, I will NEVER want to study the language of your awful country). By the way... just because this is Texas, it doesn't mean everyone says 'howdy'.
Wang Xue <> said:
> Howdy!
> This is Wang, Xue.
> I got message about Japanese language tutor from Japan club.
> I am not Japanese. But I have been in Japan for over 5 years and i could
> sp
mysailing: you think in order to protect myself, should i sue him? He is not only insulting me, but also insulting our chinese students.
vance_stevens: This person sounds horrible.
mysailing: i was so angry that i am still shaking.
mysailing: i just wanted to make more new friends, never thought that it would be like this.
mysailing: i think he is responsible for what he did, what he said.
vance_stevens: do you know who wrote this awful message?
mysailing: yes, it is for language tutor.
mysailing: i can check it since the mail system is controlled by university.
vance_stevens: I would take it to the authorities there
mysailing: actually i joined japan club. this person maybe ask for japanese language volunteer. so i answered him
vance_stevens: I would show that message to as many people in that club as you can
vance_stevens: I'm sure any normal person would be happy to take a japanese course from you
mysailing: for a normal amerian person, is it right to sue him?
vance_stevens: Well, yes, that is normally done in America, but in order to succeed in a suit you have to show damages
vance_stevens: If you have suffered any loss because of this person (even stress can count as loss) then you could sue
mysailing: I would print it out tomorrow ,and conselling with student counselling service
vance_stevens: that's a good idea. Show people. They will make you feel better. Most Texans are fine people, but there are 'Red necks' there as well.
mysailing: Not only for feeling better, I feel very insulting. I could not believe it at all.
vance_stevens: Unfortunately, the USA has a lot of assholes living in it. MOST people there are great, but you've just come across one of the assholes.
vance_stevens: Excuse my language, but I can't think of a better word for this person.
vance_stevens: He makes me angry too X-(
vance_stevens: Most people will agree that you are kind to volunteer and this person is WAY out of line
mysailing: Without knowing a person at all, he could insult a person completely by his one way imagination.
vance_stevens: This is one definition of an asshole
vance_stevens: by the way, you only use this word among friends
mysailing: I am so upset.
vance_stevens: I don't blame you. Keep the conviction that you are RIGHT and you are the GOOD person here.
vance_stevens: Don't let this person get to you. You will be respected in the end.
mysailing: thanks, vance. i will
vance_stevens: Yeah, and tell people. Get friends around you. Get people's sympathies.
vance_stevens: Show it to people at the club.
mysailing: i showed already. i sent a mail to Japan club
vance_stevens: You will win this one. Keep your head up.
vance_stevens: Hey Sue, can I send this out to the Webheads list and ask people there what they think about it?
mysailing: sure, vance
vance_stevens: Will do! It's good to attack such people by alerting people what they are doing.
vance_stevens: By the way, do you have any idea where the person was from?
mysailing: not sure, mostly are local person, i think.
vance_stevens: Just curious. Let us know if you find out.
mysailing: ok, i would

Peter responds, 29 Jan 2002

Hmmmmmm. Not nice. But I think bad things happening is one of the experiences of travel and not all is wonderful. Here in Japan once or twice I have been refused service in shops and I know it made me feel pretty angry. But for every every one 'asshole' there are ten thousand decent people.

I think you should try and identify who it came from and have a quiet word with that person, calmly and preferably with another person nearby and ask them why they wrote it in the nicest possible way. Treat whoever wrote it with absolute kindness and thoughtfulness just to confuse them!!!!! Go out of your way to talk to them, ask them out for a coffee, talk to them about the club, get their life story.

BTW, whoever wrote it does not sound like a native speaker, possibly Asian and they seem to believe they know something about Japan. The phrase 'mainland Chinese' is an interesting one - not a phrase I think would be used by an American who would just say 'Chinese' without differentiating. Maybe this person is Asian, from Hong Kong or Taiwan? Who knows!

Anyway, take it easy over there, don't let it get to you and do the opposite of what you are expected to do. That's my advice.


vance_stevens: Hi Sue. How is your problem with the Japanese club coming?

mysailing: i reported to them, there is no any news yet

vance_stevens: I read Peter's response earlier, suggesting it might be an oriental person. This was my suspicion in fact. It's why I asked if you knew who it was.

mysailing: i wondered too. but his name is not asian name

vance_stevens: what's his name?


vance_stevens: ??


mysailing: then search for Salzman Phillip

vance_stevens: waiting for connection ..

mysailing: it is easy to get a person since he is using university ID

vance_stevens: I can't contact that server, but if a university student sends that kind of mail to a stranger, I think there must be a system in place to counter abuse

mysailing: yes. I transferred this mail to computer information system. since to send such kind of discrimination email by university ID is prohibitted

mysailing: i do not know what would be their reactions.

vance_stevens: that's good. You've done the right thing. They'll probably investigate your complaint seriously. Have you spoken to anyone in that office?

mysailing: but the advisor of Japan club said that it is impossible to get this person's apology. But i insist he apologize in public

vance_stevens: Apologies are not considered as necessary in Texas as they would be in Japan. I think your advisor is correct that it might be hard to obtain. But there should be a sanction of some kind.

vance_stevens: You are certainly right to WANT an apology

mysailing: since this guy is a graduate student, but also assistant graduate student. i do not think he is qualified for it according to his behavor.

vance_stevens: The way our system works, in Texas, you might be able to get him on the defensive since you know who he is and he has acted clearly irresponsibly and in the wrong, and you might get him to apologize as a way out of whatever position you put him in.

vance_stevens: You mentioned also that the students at TAMU are outspoken about issues like their annual bonfire.

vance_stevens: You might want to report this to the school newspaper.

mysailing: yes. If they do not give me a proper solution, i would report this to the newspaper. But i do not know whether it is lawful or not to tell the person's name out.

vance_stevens: You could tell your story to the newspaper and they could decide whether to publish the name or not. I think it would make a good story that someone recently arrived in the USA gets 'hate' mail like that.

vance_stevens: This is something the community should be aware of.

mysailing: if you were me, what would you do?

vance_stevens: I would do exactly what you have done, report to the authorities that you have received abusive email through the TAMU email system. This is a serious offense in most places.

vance_stevens: And if I felt like pursuing the case, I might walk over to the newspaper offices and ask to speak to the editor.

vance_stevens: I would also be very careful not to do anything harmful or abusive in return. As it stands, you are the wronged person. I wouldn't do anything I might regret later.

mysailing: me too. I am only worried, whether i would be followed when i come back home if the person knows who i am

vance_stevens: That's a consideration.

vance_stevens: I guess the person can find the same about you as you can about him.

mysailing: yes, i think so too.

vance_stevens: You are a victim, and on the one hand you don't want the evil person to cause you to change from the good things you are trying to do

vance_stevens: on the other hand you have to be concerned about your security

mysailing: one disappointed thing is that when i asked for help from China club advisor, he said that it is better to wait for the authorities' reaction. But not showing China Club's statement concerning on it.

vance_stevens: It's wise to take your time. No harm in waiting for the authorities' reaction. You could go to their offices and ask about your case, or email them, ask them when they will reach a decision.

mysailing: yes, you are right. I would ask them.

vance_stevens: let the system do what it's designed to do. Then if you aren't satisfied you can take it a step further.

mysailing: yes, i will. Acturally there is one case happened about racist on campus' newspaper recently.

vance_stevens: you are in a conservative part of Texas. A lot of people there don't travel much. Americans are a lot less sophisticated than you might expect.

mysailing: i feel so too. Most students are local Texas person.

vance_stevens: The newspapers don't report on world issues in great depth. There's a superficiality in thinking that permeates society there. Especially where you are people have biases and don't do much to inform themselves.

vance_stevens: You can help to inform them, but you have to do it gently.

mysailing: the north is better than the south?

vance_stevens: well, maybe, and especially if you continue north into Canada. But it's more big cities / small towns. You might find misunderstanding in small towns in the north.

mysailing: yes. I need to learn more about this place's culture. It is not just the outside smile. There are a lot of things i do not know at all

vance_stevens: You'll also find that there are some wonderful people there. Texans are generally friendly and hospitable. It's unfortunate you've met this "red neck" so soon after arrival.

mysailing: It is my bad luck, but at same time i know a lot of things. Discrimination really happens at any time.

vance_stevens: I know it feels terrible to be the victim of discrimination but I hope that you will offer your classes in Japanese and carry on with the good people in your group.

mysailing: I would. On the coming Thursday there is one election meeting, mostly i would be the treasurer for this club

vance_stevens: That's nice. I hope the club supports you in the face of this discrimination.

mysailing: i hope they will

vance_stevens: gambade!

mysailing: where did you get it? :) thanks anyway

mysailing: i need to log off for sleeping. Thanks a lot again. You make me feel better

vance_stevens: That's good. I want you to feel welcome so near my home. I hope you don't run into any more of those you-know-whats

mysailing: thanks again. bye bye

vance_stevens: B-)

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Last updated: January 31, 2002 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0