Nurture friendly feelings
Updated: 2013-11-12 07:27
The open apology the American ABC Network issued on Sunday for its "killing all Chinese" talk show comment may bring to an end the protests by Chinese communities in the United States. But it will hardly change how Americans look at China and its people.
In Jimmy Kimmel Live aired on Oct 16, Jimmy Kimmel asked a panel of kids about what the government should do with the huge debt the United States owes China. One boy replied, "Kill everyone in China." Kimmel replied that it was an "interesting idea".
Tom Ash, vice president of the ABC network, talks with protesters in front of the ABC's building in Houston, the United States, Nov 1, 2013. More than 500 Chinese Americans and students gathered here on Friday to protest against the "kill everyone in China" skit on Jimmy Kimmel's talk show on the ABC network. [Photo / Xinhua]
How could a young boy come to have such a disturbing notion, and how could such an obviously racist statement have passed through the network's editorial review and been aired at all when that segment of the show was pre-recorded?
The young boy's notion did not miraculously materialize out of nowhere when he was facing cameras, and Kimmel and his team clearly found nothing wrong with the genocidal sentiment.
Unfavorable views about China and its people have been rife in the US for a long time and its politicians are only too happy to voice them when they think it will gain them a vote, so perhaps we should not be that surprised, as the kid is just emulating the adults.
Private citizens may have various biases against certain countries and peoples, but even if they are not interested in educating the public and eliminating these harmful biases, the media should refrain from aggravating them. The angry responses to the comment show how hurtful such biases can be. The usually voiceless Chinese communities are speaking out - loudly. And their sensitivities should not be ignored.
China as the United States' biggest creditor may not be that popular in that country, but what Kimmel should have said to the kid is that we should be grateful to those who have loaned us money so our country can keep running. And things could also have been different had he reminded the kid that killing any creditor is a crime and killing a race is the most heinous of all.
The United States and China share plenty of common interests now and in the future, and healthy state-to-state ties need the support of friendly feelings between their peoples.
Better understanding between the two peoples will help reduce misperceptions.
Giving racism a voice, as the ABC talk show did, undoubtedly does no good to fostering understanding between two peoples.
(China Daily 11/12/2013 page8)