What does it mean to call someone a 农民?

One of the most derogatory expressions among urbane Shenzheners is to call someone a “peasant (农民 nongmin)”.  As a slur, it’s meanings range from stupid through uneducated to uncultured, but back home in the South, I’m thinking that the culturally appropriate translation might be “red neck”. However, I’m also wondering if “nigger” would work, especially given the connection to fields, agricultural labor, unfair renumeration, and constant disrespect from the country’s elite.

Why am I thinking about peasants, red necks, and niggers? Continue reading

leaving north carolina


back road, moore county, north carolina

carolina sky, sharp and clear in the winter, set-off by stark pines, uplifting tired eyes. images here.

bethesda presbyterian church

i am travelling in the u.s. this month and have finally settled enough to take the odd picture. i am posting them to fieldnotes because they contextualize where i am and how i see when not in shenzhen; just as images from other chinese cities bring shenzhen into sharper focus, i suspect images from my american life will bring the photographer into focus. these images were taken at a church located about four miles from my parernts’ house in north carolina, a place that strikes me as built of trees and sunlight (when i’m looking up), and somewhat menacing (when walking through the beautifully situated burbs). please visit bethesda. i’ll post more images from north carolina over the next few weeks.