I'll be the first to say it - the Chinese immigrants in Chinatown need to stop spitting on the street! Not only that, they need to stop blowing their nose into their hands and then shaking that crap off too. It's a personal affront when I see them doing stuff like this. It drives me crazy! Not only is it a filthy habit, it makes Chinese people look absolutely disgusting!!! I'm so ashamed of their behavior. It reflects poorly on me. The only reason why they do it - ignorance. 90% of the Chinese you see in Chinatown are from the Fujian Province. They comprise the newest wave of immigrants. These are not Hong Kongnese, Shanghai-nese, or Taiwanese (just roll with me even if you don't know the difference). The majority of Fujianese are villagers, farmers, people from very agricultural, low-income, and basic educational backgrounds. They come to NYC to make money in the restaurant community and send the money back to their families in China. Sounds noble? Yes and no.
For one thing, and call me a Fascist (I don't care!), if you are going to come to a new country and reap the benefits of what this country has to offer (higher pay, freedom, life & educational opportunities), the least you can do is TRY to conduct yourself in a respectable manner. I'm not saying they have to suddenly start doing double air kisses or say "Ciao, darling!" to every Harry, Tom, and Dick, but come on! Hacking up a big phlegm on Essex Street and blowing your nose onto the subway track? How is that civilized behavior? The way I see it, it's cultural rape. You come to this country, you don't pay tax (I'm pretty sure the rest business is cash and under the table), you send all the money back to your home country, and you take and take disrespecting the cultural norms of this country and disrespecting yourself. Where is my skin lightening cream???
My Dad, who is originally from Wubei, hates coming to NYC to visit me because he can't stand Chinatown. He says they are all peasants and behave like they are still standing in their rice paddies. So what's the solution? When I went to Shanghai six years ago, I noticed that the government has taken a huge initiative to put up public signs saying "No Spitting". Sociological change like getting the Chinese to stop spitting on the street is gradual and will take time. One of those Malcom Gladwell theories about the rule of 150 probably. Why can't Bloomberg install "No Spitting" signs in Chinatown? It will secretly make a lot of people happy. Me, for sure. If he is reluctant to do so then it's the job of the outreach organizations in Chinatown to educate the newcomers on basic Do's and Don'ts of living in the US. You want everyone to see how cool and interesting the Chinese culture is? Enough about the soup dumplings and the dragon dances. Stop the spitting first.