AbstractsPolitical Science

Being Backward: The Internalized Racial Discourse in China's Modernization

by Yang Lai

Institution: Ohio University
Department: Political Science (Arts and Sciences)
Degree: MA
Year: 2014
Keywords: Political Science; Asian Studies; racial discourse; contemporary China; modernization; critical racial theory
Record ID: 2025464
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ohiou1389348602


Using critical racial theory, this paper examines the feeling of self-hatred, the anti-Manchu sentiment, white privilege and brown racism as three variations of popular racial discourse in the post-Mao China. The knowledge of global racial hierarchy was internalized in contemporary Chinese society through a discourse of modernization and people's anxiety of being backward. I also explore the resources for the operation of global racial hierarchy in contemporary China. The tradition of a hierarchical world order as well as the political and economic policy shift under the direction of developmentalism and liberalization since 1980s all contribute to the consolidation of Western hegemony. Intertwining with various popular political and historical, cultural discourses, racial discourse in China is molding the way through which people express their anxiety, frustration and hope in rapid social transformation, as well as their perspectives on the past and future.