Mind Yo/ Business
Presidential Debate Won By China
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
China was mentioned 35 times in the most recent presidential debate. Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have expressed their discontentment with the Chinese government throughout their respective campaigns, but if there was one winner at Monday night’s debate, it was, indeed, China.
Let’s face it—even in modern day peer-to-peer interactions, there are jokes made about the Asian population, specifically the Chinese, usually for their unmatched work ethic. Yet underneath these jests, there definitely lies a sense of fear—or at the very least, intimidation. A large portion of Americans are probably so uninformed on the matter that they perceive China as a threat to the wellbeing of the United States solely because of what they gather from jokes and daily conversation.
Harvard’s Voice magazine was even recently compelled to issue an apology concerning “hurtful” remarks made about the school’s Asian population. The controversy arose from an article titled “5 People You’ll See at Pre-Interview Receptions,” commenting on “the Asian contingent at every pre-interview reception.” The author wrote that “They dress in the same way (satin blouse with pencil skirt for girls, suits with skinny ties for boys), talk in the same sort-of gushy, sort-of whiny manner, and have the same concentrations and sky-high GPAs. They’re practically indistinguishable from one another, but it’s OK.” Poking fun at the aggressiveness of the Asian population in terms of academics and the professional world only reveals the envy of the writer and all those who partake in such comments.
My family is from an area of Brooklyn, N.Y. that is currently more than 50 percent Chinese, while there was not a single thread of diversity during the time my mother was growing up. Over the last decade or so, the community has hosted several programs to unite the diverse populations now occupying the area. Local leaders have had to battle the feelings of encroachment and loss of communal identity that the older citizens were experiencing. So, when you combine the growing Chinese population in the United States with all the political talk of China’s threat to America’s economy, a general stigma is inevitable. Obama and Romney are very well aware of this stigma and are throwing the word “China” around in hopes of garnering extra votes.
“China has been a currency manipulator for years and years and years. And the president has a regular opportunity to label them as a currency manipulator, but refuses to do so. On day one, I will label China a currency manipulator,” Romney stated. Calling China a “currency manipulator” and saying that “China is both an adversary, but also a potential partner,” Romney managed to grab the attention of several publications. The Huffington Post posted an article titled “The 4 Dumbest Things Obama And Romney Say About China.” The “dumb things” cited include calling China a currency manipulator, stating that we owe too much money to China, thinking that higher tariffs will teach China a lesson, and believing that the U.S. can take jobs back from China. Romney has been hailed as being largely uninformed when it comes to interactions with China. He stated that during his first term as president, he would raise Chinese tariffs. Yet higher Chinese tariffs will only lead to higher prices for Americans when we go shopping for practically anything. Furthermore, if we did not owe a lot of money to China, our internal interest rates would be ridiculously high.
Right now, my main concern lies in Romney’s plan for a “tough” government and the potential for irresponsible governing. Even the Chinese have reacted negatively to Romney’s comments: the Xinhua news service called Romney “foolish” and stated, “It is rather ironic that a considerable portion of this China-battering politician’s wealth was actually obtained by doing business with Chinese companies before he entered politics.” At this point, I think it would be wise for Americans to learn from the Chinese work ethic and economic system rather than attempt to eliminate our ties with them.