The following are my comments in response to Snowdrops' July 19, 2010 blog article entitled "Thoughts on Online Intellectual Exchanges (updated)". I would strongly recommend that you read her article (see reference below).
My comments are posted in three parts.
Part 1: Judgment on What I Say, not Who I Am
Snowdrop, I understand where you are coming from and indeed I share many of the same sentiments. There are times when people just drive me crazy by passing judgment on who I am, rather than what I say. You know the type who would start a conversation with: "Are you Chinese or Japanese?", implying (in my own mind) that whatever I say from then on will be stamped : "Asian" or "Made in China". It's often a losing battle Snowdrop and I no longer counter with an "I am Canadian" jab and the "Why did you ask?" look. I have stopped over-reacting for two reasons:
1. Start with myself. To be fair, I should give ppl benefit of the doubt. Really, most ppl posing the questions are genuinely just trying to be friendly. They might be insensitive or at the worst, as the cliché goes, politically incorrect. However, in my mind, they are innocent of being racists and I should not be overreacting. Without a chip on my shoulder, I try to respond politely, the dialogue proceeds and in most cases everyone soon sees beyond skin colours, genders, etc and focuses on the issue at hand.
2. Even if a person start his/her next sentence with "You Chinese ...", I can still hold my tongue and resist being provoked. For one thing, I am comfortable under my skin and have no reason to be drawn into defending myself, and for that matter, all persons labelled "You Chinese", be they rich or poor Hong Kongers, PRC capitalists/communists, or anyone of the remaining 4 to 5 billion souls all over the world.
In Part 2, I will address more specifically the 排輩論級 issue you've raised.