Unresolved Tensions in Hong Kong’s Racialized Discourse: Rethinking Differences in Educating about Ethnic Minorities

  • Jan GUBEEmail author
  • Casey Burkholder
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 32)


The lack of Chinese language proficiency of Hong Kong ethnic minorities has frequently been cited as an inherent factor preventing their social integration. Beneath this assumption are racialized discourses that intensify the social boundaries between ethnic minorities and Hong Kong Chinese people. This chapter elaborates on some deep-seated issues relating to how ethnic minorities are racialized in Hong Kong. We argue that ethnic minorities are fraught with different levels of invisibility and racial normativity, creating a set of dilemmas on how cultural diversity is conceived in Hong Kong’s wider social fabric. Using the notion of race as a starting point, the discussion highlights the dilemmas resulting from the invisibilities of ethnic minorities of color in the public discourse and the educational discourse and at a community level among non-Chinese residents. We argue that these racialized discourses operate differently toward white ethnic minorities who are provided unearned social and economic advantages within this city, solidifying further divisions. Clarifying the racialized discourses provides a means to delve into the normative inclinations of Hong Kong—how ethnic minorities of color are systemically and persistently rendered as outsiders at multiple levels.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Education University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  2. 2.University of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada

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