Comments And The Chinese Electric Car

No one, certainly not me, wants to be accused of racial prejudice. Make no mistake, it was disturbing just to be accused.

I wrote an entry on Gearlog last night about the new Chinese electric car from BYD. As with most of my posts for them (and here) there was plenty of me infused in the article and lots of my opinion. I am lucky that my editors give me latitude in that regard.

“From those fabulous folks who brought you the $40 Rolex watch and melamine laced baby formula (and pet food) it’s the electric car! Monday morning BYD unveiled the F3DM, China’s first mass produced electric sedan.”

Uh oh! I woke this morning and checked the comments.

“Why is racial prejudice so ingrained in the minds of the American culture? It is shameful that the author of this article thinks it is his duty to insult BYD and the Chinese people in general by opening this article with irrelevant and insulting references to Rolex knockoffs and tainted milk. Where does BYD fit into these imbecile ridicules?

Who knew? I told Helaine I was going to respond. She said don’t.

I checked back later today. I was being defended by strangers.

“The reference to a “knock off” is because the exterior is a knock off; just look at it! The technical advances are “inside” as rightly pointed out in the article. Get over it, I have (I’m Chinese). The author also took a good crack at GM too, saying its Volt is a “2010 dream”… why not have a go at him for saying that? I was in no way insulted or felt the article contained racial bias.

If you get ‘told off’ by someone, don’t first say its because you’re ethnically different, perhaps the person doing the ‘telling off’ does this to everyone, or perhaps you deserved it. If you still feel the article was refereeing to ‘stereo typing’ then we only have the Chinese government to blame for allowing knockoffs to occur so openly. “

Later another commenter came on.

“have you listened to any on the Chinese dialects such as Cantonese or even Mandarin recently? I’d say racial prejudice is pretty ingrained in us Chinese too. A lot of people I know still use “鬼佬” or something similar when referring to foreigners.”

Where do I start? Helaine was right. I would only have started a flame war. The other two comments have allowed me to rest easier. No one, certainly not me, wants to be accused of racial prejudice. Make no mistake, it was disturbing just to be accused.

On top of this what’s amazing is the reach of Gearlog. The site gets around 650,000 page views per month from every corner of the Earth. I suspect one or two of these commenters was from China. The world continues to get smaller.

2 thoughts on “Comments And The Chinese Electric Car”

  1. Geoff I wouldnt put too much stock into this one. By that standard ,I guess we were all racists when we all made fun of the Yugo back in the 80’s.

    People need to learn to laugh and be able to roll with the punches. Americans dont have the luxury to cry racism when people make fun of our country and products. Also it seems people on the net tend to mix up nationalism/racism when discussing products from China and are quick to throw the R card.

    My only guess is your humor got lost in translation on this person or they are extremely sensitive, either way its on them.

    Interesting article and car, though I can’t see myself purchasing one in the future anytime soon.

  2. Geoff, you should respond. You have upset a lot of people. Like you said, the world is getting smaller, then you should be more sensitive in what you said. In the future, at least try to understand more culture differences, and be respectable toward them in your writing. People do that when they go on vacation to a foreign country. They read about the culture before going there. But it seems when they are back in their home turf, they’ve forgotten all that.

    The world is becoming a smaller place. Lets end stereotyping.

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