Introspection about my own cognitive prejudice

I think I am going a bit too far with all the emotional outbreak these days with the minorities in China, especially the Uighur. Today while browsing Ortu Kan’s blog all of sudden I was struck by a piece of very old memory of mine that has been kept in the bottom of my heart for years.

Story goes back to my high school years in China. I remember it was an ordinary day in an ordinary city. I was going back home from school with a few friends of mine. On a crowded intersection, I saw a little kid, roughly 4~5 years old by appearance, on the street wandering behind a woman, flustered and scared, in attempt to steal the purpose from the woman’s bag from behind. He followed closely to the woman, then stiffly paused, flustered, scared, then followed up back again…Again and again, he was wandering like that on that intersection for at least 20 minutes, just couldn’t make the move to reach his little hands to… He seemed to literally have no clue how to steal and apparently don’t want to do it. But he was too scared to walk away.  The little boy couldn’t help constantly glaring back to an adult who was hiding at the corner. It seemed he knew he had to do it for that man. There was a sense of immense trill and fear that continuously prompted him to stretch his hand into the bag… We couldn’t stop watching him and were overwhelmingly shocked by the disturbing scene we just witnessed. I could never forget his eyes, that pair of little innocent eyes full of fear, despair and pity. He was frequently rubbing his little hands when he glared back to offset his nervous and frightening emotion towards the the man in the corner, who was viciously staring back with pure maliciousness and apathy. To this day the boy’s image is still so clear and profound. It’s rather painful every time I thought of it; the image is still goddamn crystal-clear just like it happened yesterday… Anyhow, I called the police immediately but police said they couldn’t do nothing about it since they are minors who are actual stealing. they would send them back home but smugglers could bring them back anyway. I, with a few friends of mine, were about to stop that little kid from doing what he wasn’t supposed to do and then the adult dashed up from nowhere and showed us the big machete he had in his jacket… Many years later I am still wondering what happened to that little boy later that day…

That was the only personal experience with the Uighur of mine. My anger over Urumqi riot in 2009 and Hotan in 2011 have clouded my mind with prejudice and to some extent, resentment, against the Uighur recently. But the truth is I am in no position to carelessly generalize those peaceful ones who are living their day-by-day life and those radical extreme Islam fundamentalists. As a Chinese in the foreign land, I should have known better about the stupidity and irresponsibility of simple generalization and accusation based on the rash generalization. After all, it was my strong prejudice emotion that blocked my rational judgement. I feel rather bad and could only resolve consolation through writing this article to pacify some kind of peace in my heart.

Either way, I would be as objective, rational, and logic as possible from now on. There are already so many prejudice around the world, no need for one more from me. From now on, I will double, triple and even four times check the objectivity and rationality of my future articles, so as it could reflect the truth as close as possible.

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6 comments

  1. “That was the only personal experience with the Uighur of mine.

    The human mind is naturally Bayesian. The maximum likelihood estimator of a population proportion is the sample proportion, so don’t be hard on yourself.

      1. I’ve been (rhetorically) puking for the last couple of days seeing the tacit approval that the American alt-right has given ABB. That should have been a time for introspection, but instead we have people essentially saying, “well, what has happened has happened … but seeing the people that were killed, well, I’m glad they’re not around.”

        Kudos to you for being a cut (a few cuts?) above them.

  2. In case you were wondering — I haven’t yet had a chance to read your responses, but I do appreciate the time and reflection you invested into them. I hope to have the chance soon.

  3. @ barbaric_hindoo_atheist_devil: thanks for your compliment. I am trying my best to stay logic and objective here. I just found out that (from my recent research on a forthcoming article) there are so many cases where smart guys couldn’t keep up with the fame in the end because they failed to review himself and open his mind for other views. Meanwhile, introspection is a common virtue among many great figures that we consider successful and wise in the history book. I am just doing as much as I could to stay sober all the time towards those opinionated voices. That’s why I always welcome disagreement for my articles.

    @Ortu Kan: thanks, unfortunately I am quite busy these days as well. I’d really love to have an intellectual discussion on Xinjiang issues later. I’d hope to convince you, of course 🙂

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