Ancient Historical Background:
Xiongnu, a nomadic ethnic group from the steppes of central Asia disappeared in modern society. A part of it was assimilated and absorbed into Chinese ethnic groups and Han Chinese. From this aspect, I will refer to Chinese history and Han Chinese deal with nomadic groups. Primarily I will look at Chinese History in Modern Chinese By Simian Lv. Also, I will see if I can get the book The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China By Tomas J. Barfield from Kean Library.
Pre mordern Origin:
Although Chinese official rhetoric claimed that China is a “United populated country comprised of multiple nationalities (zhongzu, kind lineage),” the distinction between ethnicity (minzu, people lineage) and race (renzhong, human linage) was never clear. It is always perplexing to average Chinese that for the most of time people use these words interchangeably to indicate each other. The loosen usage of these words are partially the result of that the modern definition of race and ethnicity in Chinese were transported from Japanese as well as western missionaries. In ancient Chinese, zhongzu, means merely kind and minzu means indicate the same kind of person in the community (the same occupation of else). So even though it’s been taught at K- 12 education “our country is untied multi-ethnic (minzu) country, it is still confusing for most people what exactly this ethnic implies.
On the other hand, pre-modern Chinese scholars had intense debate over the question: what are we (what race do we belong to?) who are we (what are the ethnic groups that should be included in Chinese)? Based on western “scientific” racial and ethnic researches. Chinese scholars intentionally interpreted these concepts differently in order to achieve their political interests and justify their revolutionary attempts. I will do further reading mainly from The Discourse of Race in Modern China by Frank Dikötter and other Chinese racial researches to try to explain the conceptual difficulty for the African communities in china to be accepted.
Modern racial problems with Chinese African community:
From Campus Racism to Cyber Racism: Discourse of Race and Chinese Nationalism By Yinghong Cheng is the article that originally engendered by interests. This research Article gave a narrative history about African communities in modern China. Also, insightful analysis was provided about this issue. For my class presentation, I will first introduce this issue and then try to crack the situation from Chinese history. These are questions that will be answered throughout my discussion in the class. How it comes into being? Is this a completely different new issue? What will it be in the future?