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Rent a White Guy
06:36 pm

This article, about a rather peculiar business practice in China, is quite amusing, I think you will agree. Hell, with my look, I would be in high demand there! From The Atlantic:

Not long ago, I was offered work as a quality-control expert with an American company in China I’d never heard of. No experience necessary—which was good, because I had none. I’d be paid $1,000 for a week, put up in a fancy hotel, and wined and dined in Dongying, an industrial city in Shandong province I’d also never heard of. The only requirements were a fair complexion and a suit.

“I call these things ‘White Guy in a Tie’ events,” a Canadian friend of a friend named Jake told me during the recruitment pitch he gave me in Beijing, where I live. “Basically, you put on a suit, shake some hands, and make some money. We’ll be in ‘quality control,’ but nobody’s gonna be doing any quality control. You in?”

I was.

And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here. One friend, an American who works in film, was paid to represent a Canadian company and give a speech espousing a low-carbon future. Another was flown to Shanghai to act as a seasonal-gifts buyer. Recruiting fake businessmen is one way to create the image—particularly, the image of connection—that Chinese companies crave. My Chinese-language tutor, at first aghast about how much we were getting paid, put it this way: “Having foreigners in nice suits gives the company face.”

I just have one question: What KIND of racism is this? Positive racism? Lucrative racism? Self-loathing Chinese racism? It’s clearly racism of one stripe or another, seemingly positive, at least for white males who look like business men, but still, it’s a bit confusing, isn’t it?

Rent a White Guy: Confessions of a fake businessman from Beijing (The Atlantic)

Via Steve Silberman’s always interesting Twitter feed

Posted by Richard Metzger
06:36 pm



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