China's 'Banana' Slur Shows Where America Shines

Eric Liu: America's diversity is why it still has an edge over Beijing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2014 12:15 PM CST
China's 'Banana' Slur Shows Where America Shines
Former US ambassador to China Gary Locke, on his final day on the job last month.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, Pool)

When Gary Locke, the first Chinese American to serve as ambassador to China, left the job last month, a state-run newspaper ran an oh-so-classy essay calling him a "banana." Meaning, yellow on the outside and white on the inside—a traitor to his race who is not "Chinese enough," writes fellow Chinese-American Eric Liu at CNN. It's not only a slur, it demonstrates why the US continues to have a "competitive edge" over China.

"To put it very simply: America makes Chinese Americans, but China does not—and does not particularly want to—make Americans Chinese," writes Liu. This country makes it possible for people of all ethnicities to succeed. China, not so much. What's more, the state-sanctioned essay writer equates being an American with being white. He might want to check the census. "China may be four times more populous than America," writes Liu. "But America is many times more diverse, intermingled, open, and adaptive than China." Click for his full column. (More China stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.