Race matters in international negotiations, and if you send the wrong person to the wrong negotiation table, your results will be inadequate, and your mission will fail. A good case in point is the reality that most Mainland Chinese folks have not had a lot of experience with Black Races and they unfortunately feel superior to them. Yes, for Americans we cringe at that sort of racism, but the same thing can happen with white people in Africa, where the leaders do not trust the white people often enough.
It also happens with islanders of small micro-nations. And Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is not afraid to say how he feels either, claiming that the “Blonde Haired Blue Eyed Devils,” are the problem in the world, and they cannot be trusted. Not long ago, I was mentioning all this to a college student who sees himself as a foreign affairs type expert with regards to Russian-US affairs. And he indicated that if the Russians do not respect our Black President, that that arcane prejudice is a weakness.
Yes, I agree, but to whom?
After all, if it is an issue to them, then we lose negotiation points and fail to gain their respect if we do not understand it. Further, if we look at it from their mindset, they might ask us something like this; “are you suggesting that race and genetics don’t matter with regards to human intelligence, athletics, resistance to various diseases – that would seem to push the boundaries of political correctness right.”
Now then in many regards replacing the word “prejudice” with “profiling” or statistical probability makes it easier to swallow from a racism perspective, but we are essentially talking about the same thing, when understanding their issues and thinking. Now then, this is not to say that anomalies do not exist in all statistical sets, but the Russians could easily play that statistic and using what they consider sound judgment.
If we do not realize this, we are at a disadvantage. Remember, how your adversary judges you does matter; Sun Tzu; “Know your enemy, know yourself” and to deny the other side of the tables’ thought process is to put your side at a disadvantage, after all, what is the current push; “win their hearts and minds?”
If we don’t care what they think, or how they think, then we don’t know what they are thinking, thus, we are making them unpredictable in our minds, putting us at the disadvantage. Racism exists because people like themselves and believe they are of the best race. Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, or whatever, it hardly matters, and being proud of one’s genes is perfectly natural, so is fearing that which you do not understand. Fear hurts negotiations, and is a problem in foreign relations.
The other day someone mentioned to me that “at the end of the day, race is a non-issue, and bringing that into the mix is silly and ridiculous.” Maybe so, but we are not at the end of the day on this, we are in the morning of a very long-day. The Russians have their mindset and so do the Chinese, and to them our President does appears to be weak, and this puts us at a disadvantage meaning they will test us, causing conflict, or difficulty in trade disputes, and on the other side of the coin it gives us an advantage because they underestimate us.
So, how can that information be leveraged?
You see, it does matter. In fact, I believe the Chinese caught the Administration off guard with his last visit by our President, they totally disrespected him, it is a cultural issue, one we have to deal with. It is part of the mix. Chinese overall generally do not respect blacks. That is known, and China crossed us, what are we going to do about it? Nothing. We lose. They win.
Indeed, it took Geitner and H. Clinton to fix that up. You see, just because we claim not to see color in the US, doesn’t mean the rest of the world thinks like that. But that’s okay, most Africans don’t trust me because I am white, and Hugo Chavez calls folks like me “The blonde haired blue eyed devils” and that is pure racism out in the open and personal, that’s hate speech from a head of state.
The Russians and Chinese Leaders don’t say it in public, but most likely they think it, so it matters in negotiation. You can’t stop racism by pretending it doesn’t exist – that only adds to the problem. Academics often really blow it in this regard, because in their world, they don’t see color, and purposely go out of their way to try to make all things equal, whether they are or aren’t, it’s a different mindset.
Thus, it gives them the advantage in teaching, collaborating, and learning, but also puts them at the disadvantage of understanding how others think, and actually leads us into a debate about the hypocrisy of perspective and point-of-view arguments. Further, academics who don’t understand the race issues and how to play those cards are very likely to misadvise in such situations. Please consider this.
by Lance Winslow