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Take 30 Seconds to Help Improve Comments

This is an experiment inspired by my friend’s real-life comment that it’s hard to figure out how to comment on my blog, making me think maybe other readers have similar experiences. If you can figure out how to comment on this post, please write a brief comment (like, “This is my comment”) and indicate how long it took you to figure it out. It will take you fewer than 30 seconds unless my blog’s comment policy is really confusing.

Thanks so much!
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Ridiculous Geographic Terminology

Barbara Nixon on Twitter, inspired this post. The following terms are socially acceptable yet ridiculous. 


The East, the West, and everything in between:
When I was a student in China, the group of Americans I studied abroad with all took a trip to 
Dunhuang — which I highly recommend you visit if you’re ever in China — as part of a study tour. This city is famous for its ancient cave paintings that reflect its position on the Silk Road where the East met the West. I distinctly remember our tour guide explaining that you can tell a painting depicts Westerners from India because the people in the paintings have high noses. First of all, India is south of China. Also, the Middle East is west of the Westerners in India!

What does a white person look like?
When I interned in Ghana, one of my  roommates had her hair done in cornrows professionally. The hairdresser remarked, “I do white people’s hair all the time! I do this Japanese lady’s hair a lot.” Ghanaians also asked us if we could tell the differents between white people in the U.S. and indigenous Mexicans, for example.

First and Third World vs. Developing and Developed:
The University of Oregon‘s Media in Ghana program director Leslie Steeves delivered a brilliant lecture on this topic to my African Studies class. Calling a country “developing” implies that it’s below a standard, and can sometimes be an unreasonable excuse for a problem. First and third world also create a heirarchy problem.

My two 分 (Chinese cents):
We need better terminology. In the meantime, in order to be as accurate and innoffensive as possible, I’m specific. When referring to individual people, usually country of origin works fine, but sometimes it’s best to use the city someone is from. I also never say America; I always say United States or U.S. If I’m not sure based on someone’s accent if they are from Canada or the U.S., I say North America(n). When it comes to developing, I’m specific about what is developed or developing with a specific comparison, I use a different word, or both; for example, Beijing’s public transportation infrastructure is more developed than those in major U.S. cities, and the city’s economy is almost entirely market-driven. 

Can you tell that I considered majoring in international studies?
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Life in the Fast Lane

You know what this is: one of those stupid posts that every lazy blogger writes at some point in their life when he or she hasn’t posted in a while. All I can say is that my life has been in the fast lane since my last post but as soon as it slows down I’ll write some more meaningful stuff.

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