Chinese-Western cultural dichotomies and their negative impact (#3 FAIRNESS)

Jun 04, 2020

How do you feel when you are treated unfairly?
Who gets to decide what is 'fair,' and what is the way forward when neither side feels the outcome is fair?

Figurative Illustration from America

At the hands of police officers in Minnesota, George Floyd's death is a perfect illustration of the negative impacts of injustice or lack of fairness through the perception of different people having a completely different set of experiences.
The racism, lack of equal opportunities, and injustice experienced by the majority of African Americans demonstrate the significance of systemic problems and historical context.
• America's dark history of slavery, then segregation, and continued discrimination amplifies the perceived and genuine lack of fairness that is the African American experience
• America's criminal justice system is broken in the sense that it does not and can not guarantee that African Americans won't continue to experience a disproportional amount of arrests, false convictions, racial profiling, and of course police brutality
This is the African American experience!

The China Experience

• The China experience is 100 years of humiliation caused by foreign invaders and colonialists. This embarrassment is the historical context from the Chinese perspective.
• The systemic problems perceived by China is the current world order and global institutions that facilitate global commerce were all constructed in 1949 based on Western or foreign values, ideology, and opportunism. China wasn't at the table when America established these rules.
At a macro-level, this is why Chinese and Westerners struggle to align on what is considered FAIR.

Cultural Dichotomy #3: FAIRNESS

Most Westerners believe the basic tenets of fairness requires one to be free from bias, dishonesty, or prejudice (injustice), while a merit-based system of rewards is also generally acceptable.

Most Chinese people have a radically different view of 'fairness.'

From their experiences, 'fairness' relates more to how goods are shared to maintain social harmony. In other words, as a foreigner in China, you need to consider the China experience and historical context of Chinese expectations to discover a mutually beneficial way forward.

In practical terms, Chinese people don't feel foreigners are doing more to deserve more, which is why paratrooper managers (空降部队 | China ex-pats) often experience an escalating series of complaints and disfunction over time.

Entire Keynote (The China Leadership Dilemma, Cultural Dichotomies, Live Q&A)
Cultural Dichotomy #1TRUTH
Cultural Dichotomy #2TRUST
• Cultural Dichotomy #3: FAIRNESS
Cultural Dichotomy #4AUTHORITY
Cultural Dichotomy #5NEGOTIATIONS

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