Column: Common Misconceptions


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In my personal opinion, I don’t think many Americans are interested in Chinese culture, except for those who study Chinese culture or are very interested in Chinese history. So, it’s not surprising that there are a lot of misconceptions about Chinese culture for them. I am going to talk about my personal experiences with the following.

First of all, most Americans think every Chinese can play Kung fu. According to my personal experience, there was a kid who asked me, “Can every Chinese play Kung fu?” I think it’s because there were a lot of Kung fu movies back then, and they are very famous around the world. Also, some Kung fu stars are well-known in Hollywood, such as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. This could inaccurately make some people think that everybody plays Kung fu in China.

The other one, if there is a group of people gathering around, talking in Chinese loudly in the public place, I noticed that some Americans might stare. Personally, I don’t like to talk loudly in the public place, I think this is not a good behavior at all. However, some Chinese visitors might have this bad habit, because I have this feeling too, I hate people talking loudly. I am from Beijing, there are millions of tourists from other cities that come to Beijing every year, I have met a lot of tourist groups, they all like to talk loudly, and I felt they are very low quality and uneducated. But, not every Chinese person likes to talk loudly in public places.

Lastly, I want to say that the misconception is never unilateral. The only way to eliminate the misconception is to begin with ourselves. Respect is not given, it is earned.

This column was submitted as an assignment for an INTO Marshall writing class.

The instructor, Saba Gebrehiwot, can be contacted at [email protected]

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