A politically incorrect memoir
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As China opens itself to the world and undertakes historic economic reforms, a little girl in the southern city of Guangzhou immerses herself in a world of fantasy and foreign influences while grappling with the mundane vagaries of Communist rule. She happily immigrates to Oakland, California, expecting her new life to be far better in all ways than life in China. Instead, she discovers crumbling schools, unsafe streets, and racist people. In the land of the free, she comes of age amid the dysfunction of a city’s brokenness and learns to hate in the shadows of urban decay. This is the incredible story of her journey from China to an American ghetto and how she prevailed.
“Direct and unvarnished, this book describes the endless possibilities of a free society that allows its citizens to chart their own destiny. Ying Ma takes her readers to dark corners where poverty, crime, and racism reign, all the while reminding us that even amid a sea of hate, individuals can choose to believe in kindness, decency, personal responsibility, and racial equality.”
— Ward Connerly, Founder and President, American Civil Rights Institute, and author, Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences
“A beautiful account of a young girl’s encounter with the insidiousness of authoritarianism in China and the tragedies of inner-city America. Ying Ma boldly details some of the worst imperfections of American society, all the while showing, with her own example, why freedom is worth choosing.”
— Xiao Qiang, Adjunct Professor, University of California at Berkeley; Founder and Editor-in-Chief, China Digital Times; and Chinese human rights activist
Reviews, Recommendations and Interviews
Tucker Carlson Today interviews Ying Ma about her book and anti-Asian violence and racism, November 16, 2022.
Fox and Friends interviews Ying Ma about her book and socialism in China, February 17, 2019.
Ying Ma spoke to the Conservative Women’s Forum about her book. The forum is a monthly gathering co-sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. March 20, 2015. (View video here.)
Fox and Friends talks to Ying Ma about her book, government handouts and the immigrant experience, March 29, 2012
Nationally syndicated columnist Mona Charen reviews Chinese Girl in the Ghetto, July 8, 2011 (see review on RealClearPolitics or Townhall.com).
Any plans for a speaking engagement in Sacramento? After listening to your interview on the Armstrong and Getty radio show, I would be very interested in seeing/listening to you in person.
Hi there, I’ll be giving the keynote address at this conference on Saturday: http://www.norcalwomensconference.com/. Please feel free to sign up if it interests you.
Great interview on A&G. Ditto on local speaking engagements in Sac or Bay Area. Good work.
Really enjoyed the interview on A&G. Enthralling . . . excited to read the book 🙂
Many thanks to all for the kind words. I will be giving a book talk on Tuesday, 9/20 in Menlo Park. Please see here for details: http://www.cornellnorcal.com/article.html?aid=606. For announcements of other upcoming book talks, please stay tuned to my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ChineseGirlintheGhetto, or my Twitter page, https://twitter.com/GZtoGhetto. Hope to see you guys at some point.
I appreciated listening to you on the Davis and Emmer radio broadcast here in Minnesota. I wish you success with your book.
Thank you, Bruce.
When I subscribed to Blockbuster, I watched a half dozen or so movies made in China and I was fascinated by them. My favorite one was about a teacher who came to a small town and fell in love with a girl. I cried at the end because the teacher had died and everyone was grieving the loss of someone whom they had loved and respected so much. This was not a recent movie, but more of a classic. Nevertheless, it showed some of the modernization of China in the cities with the older traditions and way of life in the rural areas.
My own wife is from Japan and so I guess I have an appreciation of Asian cultures and people. I was struck there in Japan how the modern Japan could exist side by side, sometimes, next to humble people toiling in the rice paddies. America is such a relatively young country, but I get the sense that it has been strongly influencing and exporting it’s own culture to the world. In Japan, I would see commercials on the television with a few words of English and Japanese singers doing their best imitation of American pop singers. It seemed so beautiful to me, maybe because I believe that America represents how all of the cultures can come together and blend together as one.
I long for the day when there will be no longer racism nor any other barriers that divide us as brothers and sisters under one God, our Heavenly Parent. Please tell me if you will ever speak in Minnesota.
Thank you for all that you are doing. Perhaps, now, I better buy your book!
Dear Ying Ma;
Do you know where we can find a Chinese version of ‘Chinese Girl in the Ghetto’? We have several Chinese members of the family that would like to read your book.
Thanks very much,
Dave, thanks for your interest. Unfortunately, the book is not yet available in Chinese. Please feel free to stay tuned to this website or to the book’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ChineseGirlintheGhetto, for news about when a Chinese translation might become available.
Hello Ying Ma,
I have read your book and it is fascinated! I grew up in Guangdong as well; however, as I was born in late 80s, I have experienced something very differently. I saw the golden period where the Chinese economy was booming and people’s material life is getting better and better.
But I am more interested in your youth life in the inner city of American. What strikes me the most is I can feel your anger through the second part of the book. Are you angry at the whole situation that you are in, or specifically the poverty or the discrimination that you have experienced? In fact, what would you address the tension between the two racial communities?
I hope my question is not offensive. I am indeed very interested in this topic! I look forwards an opportunity to meeting you. Would you come to New York City to give a talk? I will pursuit an master at the Columbia University in the coming fall semester and I really hope that I can get a chance to meet you!
Thank you for your kind note. As you could probably tell from my book, I see Guangzhou as a very special place and I am extremely proud of the role that it has played in China’s epic march toward global integration and market liberalization.
Re: your question about the second half of my book, I think it’s difficult for people who have grown up in inner-city areas not to be bitter about society at large. The key of course is not to let that bitterness eat us alive, and if we’re lucky, we will encounter things or people who will help us learn to unhate. In that regard, I have been quite fortunate in my life. I do believe, however, that the first step toward ending some of the most unfortunate occurrences in the ghetto (e.g., racial discrimination) is to acknowledge that a problem exists. That is something that I have tried to do in my book.
I would be glad to give a talk about my book in NYC. Best of luck to your studies at Columbia.
I just watched “Joy Luck Club”. Sometimes it was hard to watch, (so sad to see the abuse of women by their husbands) but it also showed so deeply the dynamic of the mother and daughter relationship in the Chinese culture. I don’t know how much of that is “Hollywood”.
Hello Ying Ma. I loved your interview on Armstrong and Getty. I was just wondering. Do you think you might have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire being that Obamacare has passed?
I too heard your interview on A&G (a recorded session). Although I did not immigrate from China, my grandparents and parents came from an area very close to Guangzhou and ended up living in West Oakland, where my siblings and I were raised. I am eager to read your book!
Dear Chinese Girl,
Watching you on C-Span has me asking the question, should I send you this message?
My sister lived in China for the last twenty-thirty years. She’s in Seattle now, but there are attitudes about what and how we should view activities in the South East that you may provide adjunct interpretations.
Let me know, please, if you’d be willing to express such things.
I saw you on C-span today. I am so sorry for you and the bitterness you carry and have put out. You are and in thing now for the conservatives. Please continue to help those like you blame others instead of themselves and the laws and practices that create poverty. You should study history and see who really gets more welfare, those in the ghetto or those outside it. You have made money on the backs of the very people you despise. As you do so well you blamed the people, you blamed the government, and for some reason you blamed the current president (who wasn’t even in office when you lived in Oakland). You don’t talk about the fact that your family “LIED” to get you in a better school. Everybody may not use your tactic’s but you used them none the less. You are the perfect conservative lie to get ahead and blame others when they can’t. Enjoy your time I can only hope it will be limited.
Sounds like if anyone has a bitterness in their heart it’s you. I came here from a communist country myself 25 years ago and I can tell you one thing only. Please, shut up. Your life experience doesn’t compare to the experience people like Ying Ma or I have. I grew up and spent 28 years of my life to listen all that communist nonsense lie I hear from your so called president on daily basis. You have not. You have none other experience than your limited one from being born and living in the US. Say something only if you are sure you know it and you can back it by facts. Otherwise just shut up.
What a cowardly racist asian POS you are. SHe made backs of the people she despises, no boy they despised her, roped, beat her, racially insulted her and even tried to rape her. Gee I wonder why she might have some hard feelings. Read a psychology book racist coward. and degraded her time and time agian. ANd yet because they are black it’s her fault, lol you racist coward. You should study history and see what group disproportionately gets welfare. Blacks do. Blacks get 25.7% of the food stamps and make up 13% of the population. WHites get 40% of food stamps but make up around 70% of the population. SO yes blacks on average more likley get welfare. You hate,racism of asians makes you not understand simple statistics and proportionality when comparing groups. Read a history book or at least take a junior high statistic class you bigoted coward.
My asian wife experienced the same thing and if you talked to her like that with your hate and racism and belittle her ban and abuse I would break you into pieces.
Another leftwingnut proves that the following can not be posted too many times… From an expert; Liberals are clinically mad, concludes top psychiatrist Dr. Lyle Rossiter. Doctor Rossiter makes case that leftist ideology is a mental disorder.
Hello Ying Ma,
I just listened to you present to a group in Silicon Valley that Cspan covered on your book.
My husband and I flew to Shanghi and toured 2000 miles by bus, three days on a Yangtze River Boat, then a train to Beijing in 2002. After some three weeks of visiting and travel to its best sites, we have some idea of how closed is China relative to America and of the hard life-style of its people. I found the people and places we visited to be clean and well cared for in general. i am interested in a personal conversation and invitation to NH and Dartmouth College to present to that very liberal institution another perspective … your’s! The first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign was held on its campus and I was there. If your schedule would allow, I could make contact arrangements. Please contact me for a phone conversation.
Ying Ma…I have just finished reading your book and I must say that it really was an eye opener. They teach racism between black and white in schools but I guess living a sheltered life I never thought about what people from other ethnic backgrounds have had to endure. Thank you for an honest look at your life and for the enlightenment! Your book was a very good read.
Can’t believe that you support and defend Trump with everything he has said and done. Unbelievable!!! I thought your are smarter than that. What a shame!!!
It’s not that I think you’re a “deplorable”, just that you’re misinformed and your world view is terribly skewed. I’m sure you too are in the same mindset that your beloved Trump would never have conducted himself to anything close to sexual harassment and those women were all lying too.