Travel Log 9 “Exploring Stereotypes” by Chase Chiga. Shanghai, China

Studying abroad has caused me to reconsider some stereotypes that I have held. For The most part, the stereotypes I have found myself holding were more towards the government than towards the people because I try not to judge a group of people I have had little prior experience with. But one big stereotype I had before going here is that this nation was well communist. We in America even though the Cold War is over still have a more negative view of Communist governments and while the Communist Party is in power this nation is far from a communist state, even most of the people don’t consider the government communist anymore. I will admit that china is very different than the US but it isn’t like how the stereotype of the country is in the US. People over here aren’t eating overly weird food or acting very weird but everything is slightly different. I honestly have noticed much as far as stereotypes that exist here that most wouldn’t discover outside of staying as a short term visitors. One that could be considered a stereotype is that Chinese drivers are crazier from an American perspective, especially motorcyclist, they tend to try and get to where they need to go as fast as possible even if it requires them to speed through crosswalks or drive on sidewalks.

As for stereotypes that they hold for Americans, it is tough to say, if you are in a touristy area there is the mindset that Americans are wealthier so often time salespeople are more aggressive as will beggars. I think a lot of this has to do with most tourists being wealthier overall. Outside of that, there haven’t been many negative or positive stereotypes with American. The people that know English are happy to talk with and know Americans and the ones who don’t tend to express any stereotypes towards us. I will admit it is tough to tell stereotypes do to my lack of knowledge of the Chinese language. I do agree with Adel when it comes to stereotypes being largely from a lack of knowledge of the group of people you are talking about.  As for them validating any stereotypes I have had overall most of the stereotypes I had have been dispelled and china is a lot less different from the west and America then it seemed before.

For my picture, I decided to use a picture of a monument to the first Mayor of Shanghai after the communist revolution. I fell this is a great example of what people think of when they think of china or communist china. People tend to stereotype the Chinese as under a very oppressive state and very closed off, almost worshiping the former communist leaders. Which while untrue it isn’t hard to see why people would think the modern Chinese are still like this. They types of statues are not uncommon and this one is found right in downtown Shanghai. I have learned through my time here and speaking to my Chinese friends that this stereotype is largely untrue and the true reasons things like this exist or that Mao is still talked about by the government as a good thing to happen in china, even though most people know he was not, is that the government needs it to legitimize themselves to the people. According to my Chinese friends if they were to abandon these communist leaders and figureheads then there would be no reason to still follow the Communist Party. Now if that is actually true or not is hard to say but that is a better reason than just maintaining the stereotype that the Chinese people worship Mao and other old Communist leaders.



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