What Mixed-Race Marriages Teach China About Identity
Thousands of African migrants call China home since the country allowed immigration in the 1970s. As China has become a major regional power across Africa, Africans have traveled to, and interacted with, Chinese people. But when they intermarry and have biracial children, questions of belonging and assimilation intensify.
Many parts of China are ethnically homogenous, so people have a fixed sense of how a Chinese person should look. Racism in large cities is common, largely thanks to Hollywood. It’s justified by labor and safety concerns, similar to how racism is permeated in Western countries. Though biracial children often speak fluent Mandarin, and have no connection to their parents’ homelands, they’re often exoticized or excluded.
Kathy Huang is an L.A.-based filmmaker. She’s followed mixed-race couples in Guangzhou, China’s industrial heartland. Her film’s working title is Guangzhou Love Story. She joins University of Oslo sociologist, Heidi Østbø Haugen, to discuss the complicated relationship between race, migration, economics, and belonging in China.