Letter to the editor published in the NYT (on-line edition)
April 7, 2008
‘The Era of the White Man’
To the Editor:
Re “The Baton Passes to Asia,” by Roger Cohen (column, The New York Times on the Web, March 31):
Before anyone really thinks that “it’s the end of the era of the white man,” let me point out a few things.
The rates of economic growth in China and India are high because these are modernizing countries playing a game of catch-up. When you look at G.D.P. per capita numbers, the United States is still far ahead of both countries.
Second, 450 million cellphones in China, a country of more than 1.3 billion people, means that only over a third of its people have a mobile handset, much lower than the ratio in most developed (typically white) countries.
Yes, Asia is large, and the economic gravity is shifting (back) toward Asia, but this is simply natural given, that most of humanity lives there.
Go to China or India and see how far the world’s paradigm must shift before the era of “white is right” is over. The female “natives” virtually worship the white male expatriates in Asia, in part because of the huge income disparities and the deep prejudices of self-inferiority.
Moreover, open the fashion magazines in China and India and you will see white models (male and female) hawking all sorts of styles and products to the Asian market, including, and especially, skin whitener.
Kai L. Chan
New York, March 31, 2008