When it comes to weird psychological problems, white American people have a monopoly. It seems that every time I go online, I find that some white person has been diagnosed with something no one else in the world has heard of. As a sensible, Chinese-raised person, I think most of these disorders are ridiculous, over-pathologized, and largely self-generated. Here’s a take on some white people problems from a Chinese perspective.
1. eating disorders
No Chinese person would be stupid enough to starve when there’s plenty of delicious food to go around; you just never know when the next Cultural Revolution/natural disaster/famine might happen. The best way to cure white anorexics is to put them in rural China for six months.
2. body image issues
Chinese people dislike being ugly as much as everyone else does, but white people, with their eating disorders and plastic surgery, take self-hatred much more seriously. No Chinese girl will sit for hours analyzing the size of her nose or the shape of her calves. And if, for some reason, a Chinese person ends up being a little tubby, she’ll accept it as her lot in life and move on. Fat Chinese people (including teenagers) will even joke about how fat they are and still like themselves, which is a combination most fat white people are incapable of.
3. being overweight
Currently, 75 percent of American* adults are overweight. In China, 15 percent of adults are overweight, and this is after 10 years of what health experts consider a weight boom. With all those eating disorders, you’d think that Americans would dominate the Chinese at the whole weight control thing.
* I understand that a good portion of overweight Americans are not white, but whites still comprise the overweight American plurality.
4. self-righteous vegetarianism/veganism/pescatarianism
In China, the concept of vegetarianism remains largely a concept. Aside from devout Buddhists, who comprise a tiny proportion of the population and are semi-outcasts, everybody in China eats everything without question. Rabbit brain, pig feet, cow tongue, you name it. Nobody goes and annoys other people with their self-ordained dietary demands.
5. ADD and ADHD
In China, kids who can’t focus in class are given a hard slap upside the head. 100 percent of those kids will have no problem focusing in the future. No medication necessary.
6. social anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and other ridiculous neurotic/psychotic conditions
Being scared, sad, or angry are generally not pathological conditions in China. They’re just things that happen to normal people living normal lives. Again, no medication necessary.
7. under-educated kids who think they’re smart
Maybe if white parents cared less about PTA meetings and bake sales and focused more on the homework part of school, kids would learn more math and science and know how to spell.
Guilt, derived from the state of being fallen and the need to redeem oneself, is the foundation on which Christianity and white American culture are built. White people feel guilty when they think they’ve failed to do things they were supposed to, and for many of them, guilt has the ability to cause alcoholism, bulimia, and suicide. This sort of thing happens when you have a culture based on the presumption of failure.
Chinese people, on the other hand, don’t have that burden. Most Chinese people simply don’t feel guilt because Chinese culture provides fewer options and emphasizes duty, i.e., what people should do rather than what they have not done. And duties, in China, are mandatory. There simply isn’t room for failure, and when there’s no failure, there’s no guilt.
9. conflicted feelings about parenting
As Amy Chua pointed out, American parents are obsessed with nurturing their children’s self-esteem, and in the end, their kids end up having low self-esteem anyway. Chinese parents, on the other hand, don’t give a shit about children’s feelings or even if their own children like them. They’re not afraid to smack their kids around when they don’t get their work done. I don’t know if Chinese kids grow up to be happier than their white counterparts, but at least they’re skinny, healthy, and know their math.
10. being a teenager
I haven’t conducted a scientific study on this, but I’m pretty sure that the white American teenage crowd is the most emotionally tortured demographic in the world. Afflicted by aforementioned eating disorders, body images issues, and neuroses, they suffer a level of existential despair that the rest of the world can’t even imagine.
Chinese teenagers, who study all the time and don’t drink or do drugs, aren’t half as miserable. They actually think life is ok. Maybe all that calculus has gotten to their heads, but at least they’re eating and not cutting themselves.
11. political correctness
White people hate hurting other people’s feelings. It looks bad and creates guilt they’re incapable of dealing with, but it doesn’t make them any less bigoted. Chinese people, on the other hand, have no problem calling white people fat, black people illiterate, and the Japanese a bunch of short-legged, murderous bastards.
If you asked Chinese people to list the top three negative stereotypes of white Americans, they would say: fat people, serial killers, and child molestors. In the US, 70% of convicted child molestors are white, and 65% of convicted child molestors are pedophiles (guilty of sexually abusing children age 12 or younger). Now I don’t think sex with children should necessarily be a crime, but seriously, what is up with white dudes and the under-12 crowd?
13. mid-life and quarter-life crises
If you’re white, you’re pretty much expected to have a multi-year emotional breakdown either in your 20s or 40s. If it happens in your 20s, it means that you’ll spend the decade after college graduation being unemployed and poor because a) you think you’re too good for any job you can get and b) you can’t get any of the jobs you want because you chose to major in sociology or media studies in college. If it happens in your 40s, you’ll probably come out of the closet to your teenage kids, divorce your middle-aged wife for your 22-year-old secretary, or spend your life savings on a Maserati, simply because your comfortable, middle-class life is too much to handle.