THE CHINESE -AFRICAN KIDS
AND IDENTITY CRISIS
By Ilelah Balarabe Shehu
As the number of Africans coming to China for business keeps jumping up by 20-30% annually since 2011, so also the number of intermarriages between Africans and Chinese. This inter racial marriages has resulted in giving a new face to what is hitherto known as Chinese faces.Now the emergence of what is known in China as chocolate kids, a mixture of Asian and African colors. With over 4000 of these kids in Guangzhou alone,the Chinese society is divided on accepting these kids as Chinese or not, while the kids themselves are struggling with their identity crisis. Most of them in a fool of confusion regarding to where they actually belong. But despite the identity crisis, most of the kids have a dream here in China.
As the economy of China continues to attract global attention with its increasing participation in global politics and its desire to be seen and recognize as a global power, this has come with an increase of economic migrants from all over the world. The ones from Africa are more visible especially in the southern city of Guangzhou where at the moment arrangement has been completed to build an African town. According to Africansinchina.net, with an estimated population of over two hundred thousand Africans in Guangzhou, the city is by no doubt the largest city with Africans not only in China but in Asia。 As such this is the city where more inter marriages take place between Chinese women and African business men or even students. As a result of this fast growing community of Chinese African families, a new generation of kids from Chinese and African parents is growing rapidly not only in the city of Guangzhou, but also in almost all cities and towns in China. Towards the end of the year 2014 there were over 4000 African Chinese kids in Guangzhou alone. According to Information and resources for urban entrepreneurs.2014.
The worldwide known Chinese face is now getting additional new face of chocolate color kids from inters marriages between Chinese and Africans. Many of these kids are bearing Chinese nationality with valid and legal documents such as passport and ID cards. But being a very conservative Society is China and Chinese ready to accept these kids as any other Chinese with hundred percent rights as citizens? How does the Chinese society sees these kids? How do these kids see themselves? And finally what is there future as Chinese ？
Mrs Zhou, a 30 year old lady selling shoes together with her African husband in Guangzhou during my interview with her has this to say about the Nationality of her kids Mutara and Linda whose father is from Kenya . "Their father doesn't want me to say they are Chinese he prefers to address them as Africans. My parents are also confused as how to address them. They are using my surname but they look more Africans. I’m afraid my kids will grow up without a clear identity and it may affect their ability."
Mr Kaya an African merchant from Congo Brazzaville said " I agree with my wife that let the kids have Chinese citizenship. But we should know that Having passport is a different thing from having recognition by the public as a citizen. But what can I do, I have to keep watch and see how things develop.”
According to a release from the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, from 1998 to 2008, each year there has been about 3000 mixed marriages in Shanghai. This is likely to translate to 2500 to 3000 mixed colored kids annually in Shanghai alone. Recent statistics shows a surge of 100% increase in such marriages. By this we are now projecting an increase of mixed colored kids to about 100% also.
Dr David Zweig, a professor of humanities and social sciences at the Hong Kong University has this to add. "As China continues to open up, this kind of phenomenon will become even more prevalent" This according to experts is part of the process of internalization, but we can only hope that the Chinese society can come to accept that there are many mixed race people, both in China and world wide.
Mrs. Amina Fang is a Chinese lady from the city of Wuhan but married to an African with two lovely kids, she is full of optimism, in my interview with her. She sad the Chinese society and the authority have no options but to accept the reality that these kids are here to stay as Chinese. Let everybody help them to identify themselves as Chinese not s kids with identity crisis. having that thought is detrimental to their development.
MIXED COLORED KIDS DILEMMA
Last year , (2015) a young man called Ding Hui of African –Chinese ethnicity caused a stir when he was called up to the Chinese National Volley Ball Team, prompting much soul-searching about weather the young man should be allowed to represent China alongside pure-blooded Chinese team mates. That threw the kid in to a deep identity crisis.
Lou Jing the 20 year old Shanghai girls has this to say about her nationality during an interview with NPR's " I have always thought of myself as Shanghai es, but after the competition I started to have doubt about who I really am" This girl was attacked by many as she became among the best contestants during a National Televison contest.. The attack was considered by many because of her Chinese African background.
According to a research done by Steve Goode, an expert on inter-racial marriages,
Mixed –race people have the greatest risk of suffering from mental health problems, in many cases because they are unhappy being mixed, and instead preferring to associate with one of their parent's race.
It also shows that many Black and White mixed-race people prefer to call themselves "Black", for example Barrack Obama, and find it depressing to consider themselves mixed. Their identity crisis is compounded because the black race are finding it difficult to fully accept them as blacks and so the white or yellow race.
The research, backed by the National Children's Bureau of England, also found that other races of people and those such as teachers could not understand their background.
The research further confirmed that In Britain, mixed-race people are the fastest-growing group among children. The 2011 census showed that the mixed-race population made 2.2% of the population of England and Wales. While in China there is no any known released official data on it.
Professor Jiang Rui of Center of International Studies said “according to the institute's research that was published last year, about 41% of the population has no qualm accepting these Chinese-African kids in to the society and at the same time they belief they are Chinese like any other person calling himself Chinese. While 52% of those questioned did not accept Chinese-African mixed kids as Chinese. The remaining 7% said they have no idea or inclination on the issue."
"I really don't know where I belong to" these words came from Kaya Ping a middle school daughter of Mr Kaya. Who have been in China for over thirty years?
Dr. Moses Ihemene is a researcher on Sino- African relations. "Not in our life time maybe not in a near future considering the political nature of the Chinese society, but who knows? mhm mhm but sure not near. Most of these Chinese African kids may end up migrating to Africa or Europe or United States where they will be fully accepted and feel natural among millions of their likes. Where they also have a better future.
But one interesting thing is that, even though these African-Chinese kids are battling with identity crisis, they all have one thing in common, that is their dream of building their future in China.