The writer, who is of African heritage, was surprised of how some indigent Chinese people reacted to her and her friends the first time they visited China. This was in 1995 during the Beijing women conference. Perhaps now more Chinese people have been exposed to Africans considering that China is getting more aligned to Africa for natural resources and labor export.
It was strange to observe how the Chinese looked at us and touched us our skins, perhaps to feel whether it was real. This was surprising because the writer had taken it for granted that the Chinese would be aware that there were people like the writer existing in planet earth.
However this was the same way Africans reacted when they first encountered the Europeans who came to their land and colonized them. To most Africans their skins did not look real and they were scared and would avoid any encounter.
One of the surviving Kenyans who encountered the Europeans in the early days says that they “thought they were ghosts who had rubbed soil on their skins, so we ran home to inform the village for a quick cleansing ceremony,” .
The cleansing ceremony involved them slaughtering a goat at the place where the “ghost” was spotted. The problem is that the “ghosts” kept on appearing, sometimes on bicycles to fetch water form the river on metallic containers. This meant a lot of goats were slaughtered before the people realized that “these people were not behaving like ghosts.”
Another old man from another tribe, said that when they first encountered the Europeans they would turn their heads to avoid seeing them. This is because to them they looked like premature children.
It was taboo to see a premature child and for this reason they would undergo a cleansing ceremony on such encounters. The cleansing ceremony entailed slaughtering a ram and the intestine thrown across the river.
All human beings have the same needs and are conceived and born the same way. They all have the same destiny with death but it is surprising how different they seem to each other but paradoxical how similar they are.