Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Announcements.

Just up.....

Please visit the Facebook page for my recently published novel........


There's also a permanent link in the side bar of this blog. Feel free to leave a message, or a question, and don't forget to like, and if you really like, buy!

Also, I have post a short preview from the novel here.....


Please rate - feedback and reviews are welcome.

For any questions contact me via e-mail.....

benefsanem@aol.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Chinese Detergent Commercial

When Coalitions Break Down And No One Notices.

There's been an internet year's worth of controversy in recent days over a Chinese-made detergent ad that shows a black man being put into a washing machine and coming out as a light-skinned Chinese man. Naturally, the media has taken the incident and run with it - although, surprisingly, Asian progressives haven't yet latched onto the incident to spout their anti-Asian rhetoric and use it as a reason to launch an anti-Asian exclusion movement from higher education. That may still come - I'm sure.

Completely shocked (shocked I tell you!) that racism can exist in the media, some news sites have even suggested that the ad could be the most racist ad ever. America's ethnic minorities long used to being casually demeaned in the media, may not agree, however, but this post is not about obvious media racism per se. 

I first read about the detergent ad in a Washington Post article that describes incidents from India and China that actually happened on the same day, from which the article's author deduces that China and India "have a huge problem with racism toward black people." Yet, the two incidents described are worlds apart in nature, severity, and consequence.

Firstly, the article's author,  Ishaan Tharoor, describes the incident that happened in India....
Just minutes before his birthday, Masonda Ketanda Olivier was beaten to death. The Congolese national was confronted by a mob of men late at night last Friday in New Delhi and killed. Police said the incident was a dispute over the hiring of an autorickshaw; Olivier's friend, an Ivorian national, said it was a clear hate crime, with racial epithets repeatedly invoked.
There you have it - an African student was beaten to death by a mob shouting racial epithets in what one witness believes was a racially motivated attack. In terms of severity, dying from a racially motivated beating is pretty severe. 

The consequences of the beating are huge....
This week, irate African diplomats in the Indian capital pointed to Olivier's murder as evidence of wider discrimination and bigotry against black people who visit and live in India......"The Indian government is strongly enjoined to take urgent steps to guarantee the safety of Africans in India including appropriate programmes of public awareness that will address the problem of racism and Afro-phobia in India," Alem Tsehage, the Eritrean ambassador and the diplomat representing other African envoys in New Delhi, said in a statement. They also warned against new batches of African students enrolling in Indian universities.
Hmm...serious stuff. And then.....
A number of African diplomats chose to boycott a planned event celebrating the history of India-Africa ties on Thursday.
African envoys are so concerned about a wider societal antipathy towards black people living and working in India, that the incident has prompted a diplomatic crisis in which African diplomatic representatives are discouraging African students from enrolling in Indian universities.

The latter part of Ishaan Tharoor's piece addresses the issue of anti-black racism in China - in this case, as evidenced by the racist detergent ad. As I read this section of the article, I couldn't help but notice that there was no mention of murderous mobs attacking Africans and beating them to death, nor did I read of any notion of a diplomatic crisis caused by the belief that the ad reflects a deeper violent anti-black prejudice in China.

In fact, in my opinion, the two incidents should not have been placed in the same article since the latter story of a racist ad somewhat diminished and detracted from the far more serious issue of a violent expression of anti-black sentiment in the former story which should have been explored in more detail.

Don't get me wrong here, I agree that media portrayals shape attitudes and can dehumanize groups of people to the extent that it has the potential to lead to violent behaviours and in and of itself, the ad certainly has the potential to do that. But from an Asian-American perspective, the idea of placing a negative media portrayal on the same level of severity as a racist murder seems to go against everything that both white America and our very own Asian progressive friends tell us about the Asian-American experience of race.

White America informs us that we need to lighten up in the face of anti-Asian media portrayals, and Asian progressives downplay anti-Asian racism as insignificant compared to the violent racism faced by black Americans. Yet, somehow an American media outlet suddenly elevates a racist ad to the same level as a racist murder. Bearing in mind that only weeks ago, Chris Rock paraded three Asian children in a live broadcast of the Oscars and proceeded to racially mock them in front of millions of viewers, the media's response to this Chinese detergent ad seems arbitrary and certainly biased.

Few, if any, commentaries in the mainstream media called Rock's skit an outright racist performance even though it was similar in scope and kind to the detergent ad - worse, perhaps, since it exploited kids. It is not controversial to say that anti-Asian racism is not taken seriously, and it is rare that the issue even makes the agenda of many politicians. Even ultra-liberal Bernie Sanders in his June 9th speech after meeting Obama, failed to mention Donald Trump's anti-Asian rhetoric and mockery of Asians in the early stages of his campaign for the presidency during his condemnations of Trump's anti-Muslim and Hispanic speeches.

In fact, the mainstream media at the time of Trump's anti-Asian rhetoric seemed largely apathetic to his racist speeches towards Asians, failing, in my view, to come out strongly enough to condemn him. There was certainly no one in the GOP nor the conservative media who called him out on his racism, and the liberal media's reaction was muted to say the least. It was only after Trump expanded his rhetoric to target Muslims and Hispanics that his racism was considered a problem.

Tharoor continues...
Yet many Africans who have come in the tens of thousands to China and India as students and businessmen, petty merchants and backpackers, complain of persistent racism.
And how does that manifest in the two countries? Well in India........
In February, a Tanzanian woman was stripped and beaten by a mob in Bangalore after a Sudanese man, in an entirely separate incident, was believed to have hit a local with his car.
Last year, an Indian publication put together a moving, sad video, below, of testimony from African students and professionals about their experience of daily discrimination. It also includes 2014 footage of a mob in a Delhi metro station attacking three black men with sticks, while chanting nationalist slogans.
Now that's bad. It seems that time and again, there are bouts of spontaneous mob violence targeting Africans in India. But what about China? How does the racism there manifest?

According to Tharoor, it is a "similar" picture.....
In China, it's a similar picture. In a 2013 account, an African American English teacher recounted his students complaining about their instructor: "I don’t want to look at his black face all night," one said.
Africans across the country, whether on university campuses or elsewhere, have also been subject to attack and abuse. Growing merchant communities in certain cities, such as in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, rub up against a wider population that is ethnically homogenous and largely unfamiliar with the diversity and history of black populations elsewhere.
The African community in Guangzhou has taken to the streets to protest unfair treatment on a number of occasions, including in 2009 after the death of a Nigerian man fleeing a police raid and in 2012 after another man died mysteriously in police custody.
Sorry, but that is not a similar picture at all, not by any reasonable stretch of the imagination. On the one hand, you have disturbing incidents of spontaneous mob violence resulting in the murder of Africans. On the other hand, you have a case of racist students - kids - and cases of police brutality. Now racist students and police brutality are bad things, but is it reasonable to say that issues of spontaneous mob violence that must arise out of a mutual, widespread negative attitude towards blacks, can compare to racist kids or even police brutality?

This is not to say that police brutality towards blacks in China is not a terrible thing, but can it be implied that this reflects a larger, society-wide attitude of racist feeling? After all, we are not hearing of any cases of spontaneous mob violence in China, and police brutality is a problem faced even by the Chinese themselves, not just minorities and should be viewed as a part of a general democratic deficit and lack of political accountability. So police brutality cannot be used as a reliable means to gauge wider racial attitudes within China.

A little online research into Chinese attitudes towards blacks who live in, or visit the country reveals some interesting things. The reports of people crowding black people to touch their hair and skin, stories of how whites are favoured over blacks and other non-Chinese Asians and Asian-Americans, as well as reports of vicious online racism are cringe-worthy and terrible. Despite these somewhat uncouth attitudes and behaviours, what we don't find are any reports of mob violence against black people in which there is a spontaneous eruption of anti-black violence involving the apparently random assembly of racist mobs.

In short, it's beyond unreasonable for Tharoor to conclude that there is similarity in racist attitudes in the two countries, and it is completely unrealistic to imply that these attitudes manifest in a similar way in both countries. Even more telling is the way that the media has almost completely ignored the lynching of a black man in India, and become hysterical about a Chinese detergent ad. There is a great irony in this that suggests Indian attitudes towards blacks more closely resemble, in unexpected ways, American attitudes towards East and SE Asians - as this incident of two random strangers joining forces to harass a Chinese woman suggests.

Even the way that the media responds and covers Asian subjects resembles a mob mentality. Take for example, the case of student Jarrod Ha. Last year, Ha was set upon by a mob of white female rugby players at his college, where he was beaten, kicked, and then attacked by a male student, Graham Harper, who beat Ha, whilst repeatedly slamming his head into a car. This sounds like an attempted murder that was only prevented because Ha defended himself by stabbing Harper several times. In the aftermath of the attempted murder, it was Ha who actually was arrested and stood trial while Harper and the women who started the fight, have to date not been charged with a single crime.

The media reaction to the case had all the hallmarks of a mob mentality - almost all outlets that covered the case, painted Harper as a hero, and Ha as a villain, ignoring the facts of the case and all but asserting his guilt. Almost all early reports took Harper's version of the story as the truth and all but ignored Ha's version of events. The reasons are difficult to discern, but perhaps these outlets were responding more to their own bigoted concepts about Asian men's supposed misogynistic behaviours and attitudes, and that this clouded their capacity to report fairly on the subject. Just like spontaneous mobs in India who, perhaps, also congregate based on their ideas about black people, the American media spontaneously spurts biased reports based entirely on their racist conceptions of Asian people.

The point here is not to detract from the violence faced by Africans living in India, nor to throw South Asians under the bus since, in my opinion, the point of these kinds of media hysterics when describing racism perpetrated by non-whites is a kind of deflection away from America's own race problem. The point is to make us cognizant of how the media will manipulate tragedy to push an anti-Asian (specifically an anti-Chinese/East Asian) agenda. It is often lost on us that the media can use incidences of racism to promote racism and racialized thinking about Asians and their cultures. It's like giving with one hand and taking with the other and if we don't call it out, no on will.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Novel Has Been Published!!!

Just a notice that my novel has finally been published. After three years or so, it is now available for purchase through Amazon under the title, "The Legend Of Fu."

I self-published through the Amazon Create Space platform and is available only in paperback at the moment. 

You can buy the book directly at the following webpage.......


I have reprinted the novel's preface below......

History often surprises, with even the most casual study revealing unknowns about the past that, once learned – or re-learned – add a significant layer of context to the present. Without the past, we lose a significant portion of our identity, since our historical experience – both personal and societal – defines who we are, and frames the context of our experience. 

Identities are defined through our day-to-day interactions with those around us in an exchange of ideas and attitudes which can be thought of as our personal historical experience. All of this is set against a backdrop of engagement with the wider social, political, and historical context that has perhaps determined our social status and capacity to move across social strata, the opportunities that are available, and our level of engagement with, and inclusion in mainstream society.

It should follow, therefore, that the more knowledge we have of our history, the greater our ability to define who we are on our own terms. For those belonging to mainstream communities, this capacity for self-definition is a given - a natural by-product of being part of a mainstream whose identities are informed by saturation in a national historical biography and dominant culture.

For those whose lives are lived outside of the mainstream - such as racial minorities - this opportunity for self-definition is limited. Worse, as has often been the case in American history, racial minorities have been denied the opportunity to define themselves – both as individuals and communities - since access to their own historical experience has often been overwhelmed by mainstream narratives that have rendered them invisible, or have sought to outright marginalize and dehumanize them.

Either by design or disinterest, there are episodes of racial minority history that have been lost, forgotten, or even deliberately expunged from the historical memory. One such episode involves the history of the earliest mass immigration of Chinese people to North America in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Coming from the old Chinese empire, these (mostly) male migrants were lured to America by stories of great fortunes to be made on the gold rich West Coast, or were brought as cheap sources of labor and recruited to drive America’s burgeoning industrial might. Many were enlisted as laborers used to lay down the Pacific railway that opened up the West for industry and settlement.

Even though as a nation we acknowledge this influx of Chinese migrants, our knowledge of their experiences once they arrived has largely been forgotten. There is certainly almost no cultural record of their considerable contribution to the settlement and development of the West Coast in the same way that the culture embraces Wild West cowboys and hardy settler families having given rise to that part of America’s identity which includes fearless pioneers and hard-living, rugged individuals who overcome any challenge thrown at them.

A study of these early Chinese migrants may reveal one very good reason why our culture has avoided mention of their experiences: they were on the receiving end of some of the harshest anti-immigrant violence ever witnessed on our shores. Between the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries - a period spanning three to four generations - in dozens of west coast towns, Chinese communities were targeted by mob violence fostered by anti-Chinese labor agitation and antagonistic political rhetoric.
 
They suffered beatings, arson, murder, and expulsion from their homes and communities during episodes of violence that echo the anti-Jewish pogroms and expulsions carried out during the nineteenth-century in Tsarist Russia. This novel is set in the period of American history which lacks a voice for the long silent and silenced victims of anti-Chinese pogroms.

Taking place in late-nineteenth century San Francisco, this story borrows heavily from actual historical events. Set against a backdrop of the constant threat of mob violence, the story is woven together by harvesting actual incidents of anti-Chinese violence spanning several decades and dramatizing them to form the core of the novel. These incidents are deeply troubling and difficult to read, but this is the case because the actual events that inspired them were disturbing - all the more so because there was a subsequent and equally disturbing historical silence that effectively pardoned perpetrators of the crimes committed against the first Chinese-Americans.
The novel also explores the power of racist narratives and the stereotypes that are both spawned and driven by them. One such stereotype to emerge in this period was that of the Asian arch-villain - a dehumanizing caricature that embodied all of the base qualities of human nature into the form of a scheming and rapacious Asian man whose innate wickedness manifested in his “misshapen” East-Asian racial characteristics.

Sly, steely-eyed and forever engaged in devious efforts to undermine and overwhelm Western civilization and its values, the Asian arch-villain became the symbol of the implicit and insurmountable difference between the incomprehensible Eastern and the rational Western mind. The notion of Asiatic incomprehensibility formed the foundation of anti-Chinese sentiment that still clouds modern day attitudes towards East Asia and its people. In the nineteenth-century, this idea of mutual incompatibility drove and justified anti-Chinese racism and led to violent expulsions from dozens of American west coast towns.

Other aspects of the arch-villain stereotype evolved over time, and more dastardly qualities were afforded it. By the nineteen-forties, the Asian arch-villain with all of his wickedness and deviousness had become a full-scale cultural phenomenon and was perhaps the most influential and visible representation of Asian men of the time. By this period, the Asian arch-villain had become, in his most extreme incarnation, a semi-supernatural creature, whose devilish plots were aided by ungodly mystical power and a threatening hyper-intelligence geared towards the destruction of the American way of life.

Given America’s past commitment to Caucasian racial purity and the consequent imposition of anti-miscegenation laws, it should come as no surprise that the Asian arch-villain was also imbued by his creators with an obsession for undermining racial purity. A rapacious craving for white women to be used as sexual objects and slaves became a major motivation ascribed to the Asian arch-villain. In real-life, the unfounded accusation that nineteenth-century Chinese communities were kidnapping white women for sexual slavery became a rallying cry that preceded many a mob rampage.

All of these factors have been incorporated into the story - particularly the supernatural aspect of the stereotype. Seeking to turn these racist fables on their heads, the stereotypes have been referenced to highlight the rabid prejudices that beset Chinese migrants of the time. This novel attempts to demonstrate the idea that significant swathes of American society engaged with, and reacted to, Chinese migrant communities based almost entirely on manufactured and false testimonies about them.

This is the power of the dehumanizing racial stereotype when coupled with a lack of opportunities for racial minorities to define themselves within the mainstream culture. The attitudes that drove Americans to violently expel and murder Chinese migrants in the nineteenth century became the framework through which subsequent Asian immigrant groups were marginalized, and which contributed to, and culminated in the large-scale incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II. With this novel, I hope to bring to our cultural consciousness the immense price paid - in the blood of pioneer Asian-Americans - for their right to call themselves Americans. 

It must be mentioned that even though Chinese migrants are the subject of the story, I am not an Asian of Chinese descent. As an author, I struggled with the idea that a lack of personal acquaintance with Chinese culture(s) might hinder my ability to describe a “Chinese experience”. This is a legitimate consideration, but misses the point of the project in a number of ways.

Firstly, when living under circumstances that are life-threatening, the most basic human instincts for survival supersede cultural conditioning. Thus, I developed the characters via their human natures, acting in accordance with universal survival instincts rather than through their cultural sensibilities.

Secondly, there is a danger that when people not of a particular culture attempt to write about it, they will utilize clich├ęs that detract from the narrative. This story relates dramatized actual historical events without being cluttered by cultural peculiarities that might detract from the primary intent of the novel. Thus, it is the hope of this author that readers will not become unnecessarily distracted by assessing the authenticity of cultural nuance, and thereby miss the larger historical overview.

Thirdly, although this is an Asian-American story based on a history that has affected, to varying degrees, all Asian-Americans, it is ultimately an American story. This is an important point, since it records long-forgotten American history that recalls the actions of both white Americans and those of the Chinese they victimized.

Some readers might find it difficult to believe the extremely cruel and violent nature of the events described in this novel. The historicity, however, of the anti-Chinese violence portrayed in the novel has been thoroughly explored in a very harrowing investigation of the subject made by Jean Pfaelzer in her book “Driven Out”, and to a lesser degree, in John Kuo Wei Tchen’s book, “New York before Chinatown”. I would like to direct readers to these two thoroughly researched historical books for further investigation into the experiences of Chinese immigrants of the period. 


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I Saw It Coming

A Slippery Slope Of Slanty Silliness.

I saw it coming, I really did. The attempt by Asian-American band, the Slants, to get their name trademarked has seemingly empowered  and encouraged others to increase their efforts to trademark racially demeaning terms.

Since my exchange with Simon Tam of the Slants that was published in "Where are you from", I've stayed largely out of the debacle of the Slants attempts to have the US government trademark their band's name. But recent events have caused me to sit up and take notice.

In the wake of the band's attempts to trademark their name, and following an important legal ruling, none other than the representatives of the Washington Redskins have stepped forward to voice support for the right of cultural and business entities to trademark racially demeaning titles. For those who don't know, the Washington football team has been embroiled in an ongoing battle with the trademark office to keep their team's name - redskins - which Native Americans find extremely derogatory and dehumanizing. I agree with the Native Americans - any name applied as a descriptor for an entire group of people is inherently dehumanizing even if its intent is not to be so or it is not ostensibly negative.

In a recent article, posted to his blog, bassist Simon Tam rejects the claim that his case can be reasonably used to support the Washington bid. He outlines three points that show, he feels, the differences between the two cases.

The first point follows...
Unlike REDSKINS, THE SLANTS is not an inherent racial slur. “SLANT” means a number of different things and the racial connotations are so obscure, nearly every major dictionary publisher removed the racial slur from its list of possible definitions. REDSKINS always has been used as a racial slur and has a long history of demeaning Native Americans. “SLANT” has not. It has been and is a commonly used “neutral” term (according to dictionary experts, it was obscure even during the height of its racial use in 1920-1940).
The problem here, is that there seems to be great degree of uncertainty about the origin of the word "redskins", and that it is not at all certain that the term was coined to be derogatory, or even that it was not used - in the past - by the First Americans to describe themselves. Some argue that the term was itself a "neutral" term that simply described the cultural habit of some tribes who painted their skin red. According to a study by Smithsonian historian, Ives Goddard, the term's origins were both benign and used by Native peoples to describe themselves.

If you peruse some of those links, you will notice that some supporters of the Washington football team are using some familiar arguments to bolster their case. In this article, a guest panelist for Fox news, argues this....
"When’s the last time you heard someone use that as a racial slur?" asked Pete Hegseth, a guest panelist on the Fox News show Outnumbered. "It’s not used commonly at all as a racial slur. It’s used historically to refer to — a term of respect to people."
This is remarkably similar to what Tam has argued in his quest to enlist support for his case - the term "redskins", like "slant" is no longer used to demean or dehumanize, but rather, these terms are being used in a positive way (somehow!).

On a final note on this point, the argument that the term "slants" was obscure even at the height of its usage seems to somewhat ignore the fact that Asians themselves were "obscure" during the same period of history. Decades of strict immigration controls that all but halted Asian migration, coupled with the fact that Asians were largely herded into segregated ghettos, meant that the vast majority of non-Asian Americans were unlikely to have encountered many Asians on a regular basis and so the prevalence of usage for the term compared to the population size of non-Asian Americans would likely be small.

Furthermore, this reasoning further damages Asian-Americans, since it relegates the Asian experience of racism relative to the term "slant" to a secondary significance to that of the racists who abused them. Tam is effectively saying that we can determine the significance of a racial slur based on how it is utilized by the racists who use it, and not how it affects those being targeted. This becomes clearer when we consider the relative population sizes of Asians to non-Asians at the time.

Between 1930 and 1940, the Asian-American population fell by around ten-thousand from 264,766, to 254,918. The general population rose by roughly ten-million during the same time period from around 122 million to 132 million. This means that  during the period when the term was most common, at no time did the Asian-American population ever reach even half of 1% of the total population. If we grant that the vast majority of this 132 million people had no contact on any regular basis with Asians who were largely concentrated in small enclaves on the west coast, then it becomes clear that any racial slur directed at them would have been an "obscure" occurrence within the society at large.

Tam does a disservice to our Asian pioneers by ignoring their experience - it's absolutely irrelevant how often this slur was used by non-Asians when spread across the wider population who had little to no contact with Asians. What is important is how frequently this term of dehumanization was experienced by the Asians themselves. If all 264,766 Asian at the time were abused with the slur every day, it could still be considered an "obscure" term because set against the larger population it might never find widespread usage even though the Asian targets were experiencing it regularly. To ignore this possibility simply deprives Asian -Americans of that era their voice and their history.

Tam continues with point two.....
REDSKINS has a substantial composite of Native Americans demonstrating serious concerns over the name. THE SLANTS has not garnered wide protest from Asian Americans; in fact, quite the opposite. Our band has been supported by lifelong activists, organizations, academics, and other experts who understand the sentiment of our community.
This is a bit of a double-edged sword. We can again refer to demographics to illustrate how spurious this argument is. The Washington football team is a national franchise with an international following whose players, and those otherwise associated with the team, receive far more media and societal attention in one game day than the Slants might receive over a period of weeks or even months. By contrast, not only are the Slants less visible due to their comparative anonymity, they are possibly not known to most Asian-Americans 75% of whom are foreign born and average forty-four years in age and who, therefore might not be into popular music or culture of this kind, may not be familiar with the history and significance of racial slurs and how they represent the popular simplified expression of millenia of western racist philosophy and science.

The point is that it is possible that the Slants' support derives from a mere fraction of the actual population of Asian-Americans and does not represent the attitudes of the majority at all. In fact, I might suggest that it is more likely that Tam's support comes from a demographic of Asian-America that is in the minority (even, perhaps, of the American-born), but which has greater engagement with social media, America's and Asian-America's cultural milieu, and which is more vocal and visible within it.

As for Asian activists supporting the right of Asian-Americans to demean themselves - I'm not surprised nor impressed. My observations of Asian activists is that they are not even remotely close to understanding our community's sentiment and quite often seem engaged in attacking their own communities. If these activists who support Tam's case are anything like these guys, then all the more reason to oppose!

Where Tam's argument becomes a double-edged sword is in his appeal to popular support for how his case is different to the redskins' case. According to this Forbes report from last year, Washington revenues amounted to roughly $440 million dollars, working out to around $40 "per fan". This means that the Washington support probably runs into the millions - possibly more people support Washington than there are Native-Americans who number roughly 3 million people, not all of whom may actually find the term "redskins" problematic. Thus, we have a situation where there may be vastly more Americans who believe that they have "reappropriated" the term and are using it positively, than there are who oppose the word. If the majority of people using the term "redskins" positively outnumbers those who find it offensive, then the demographic numbers argument fails to support Tam but supports the case of the Washington football team.

You might argue - as Tam does in his third and final point - that the "referenced" group's attitude should be taken into account, but this has no logic or reason to support it as I'll explain next.

Tam's third point is as follows....
The owners of “REDSKINS” are not members of the “referenced group,” unlike THE SLANTS. It’s important to remember that of the 800+ trademark applications for variations of the term “slant,” only one was denied for being a “racial slur.” In other words, the Trademark Office never considered it to be a slur against Asians until an Asian applied. The Trademark Office clearly expressed that the only reason why they associated our trademark application with a racial slur was because of my race. They wrote, “it is uncontested that applicant is a founding member of a band…composed of members of Asian descent…thus, the association.” In other words, if I were white, like every other applicant in the history of the country, it would have not been questioned to begin with.
This is where the whole house of cards falls apart. Tam complains that the association of his race with the term "slants" is why it has been viewed as a slur by the trademark office. Yet, elsewhere, he has argued that he is not referencing the Asian race by his use of the term, although in his article he clearly states that his band does use the word as a means of referencing his race. I'm confused too.

Worse, there is nothing implicit in this argument that excludes people who are not the group referenced by slurs from deciding to use them positively - to say that white people cannot be allowed to reclaim a slur and change its meaning is racist. This means that although there may be some cause for concern that non-Asians could trademark the term slant, whilst Asians are prevented from doing so, there is no reason why non-Asians should be forbidden reference to racial slurs in their trademark as long as they can show that they have used these terms in a positive way. And Washington wins.

This is exactly what the Washington football team is arguing - they have reclaimed the word "redskins" and are using it in a positive way. Given Tam's argument, and the fact that the trademark office seems set on granting his band the trademark, it should follow logically - and perhaps legally - that Washington will be granted the same rights. After all, isn't it racist to deny trademarks based on race?

Finished with his three main points, Tam writes....
Also, while I personally believe in the power of reappropriation as a tool to create social change (as I explain at YOMYOMF here and here, TEDxUofW here, at RaceFiles, and to TIME), our legal argument isn’t constructed on this point. You can read our entire brief and all of our arguments, via JDSupra.
This is a somewhat disturbing point. As the links in his own article indicate, much of Tam's writings that I have read have argued that his band has used their name as a way to reappropriate a formerly derogatory term. In and of itself, this contradicts claims that their name is not a racial reference, even though the band has garnered support from the community precisely by pushing the idea of empowerment through reclaiming a slur. Of course, one has to wonder how you can reclaim a slur that has apparently fallen out of common usage without first re-acquainting society with its derogatory meaning.

That aside, it seems as though there has been a bait and switch used on Asian-Americans - on the one hand, arguments have been made, articles written, and seminars given that seem to put forward the idea that the band is fighting to appropriate a racial slur, then we find out that this has absolutely nothing to do with their legal challenge at all! Call this what you will, but to me it throws doubt on the alleged outpouring of support that the band has received - do people actually know why they are supporting the band? I'm not so sure any more.

What the Slants' case highlights is that the Asian-American experience of race is often hidden behind a thin veneer of racial double-entendres and vagueness. The fact that the racial slurs that dehumanize us are so deeply ingrained in the language that we can hear and experience terms of racial abuse even when these terms are not being used racially, is a testament to the throw-away and off-handed nature of anti-Asian racism in America. 

Racial slurs sometimes used to describe Asians also have benign, alternative definitions which means that they can be, and are, often used in a way that permits plausible deniability on the part of the user. I often argue for greater nuance in the Asian-American conversation on race, but in the case of ambiguous, double entendre racial slurs directed at Asians, I think that more nuance is the last thing we need.

Instead of adding definitions to dehumanizing racist language, we should be striving to reduce definitions so that all ambiguity is removed from them. This is especially pertinent in the case of ambiguous anti-Asian racial slurs which enables a kind of verbal racist hit and run that strikes, then disappears into the safe ambiguity of the language. 

The Oxford Dictionary recently made moves to change its definition of the word "marriage" so that it includes same-sex unions as opposed to solely male/female unions. Although they are not the first dictionary to do this, it highlights the significance of words and labels to help establish social and cultural norms and practices. If it is that easy to redefine words, then vague, racial double-entendres that characterize anti-Asian racism can and should be redefined to help to establish social and cultural norms and practices that diminish opportunities for racism to propagate behind the ambiguity of the language.

The word "marriage" is not implicitly demeaning towards homosexuals just like the terms "chink" and "slant" are not implicitly derogatory towards Asians, yet, unlike the latter two terms, it is hard to use the word "marriage" to actively demean homosexuals. If word definitions can be changed to avert the "passive" negative ramifications of their meaning, how much stronger an argument we have to redefine ambiguous words that are co-opted to actively demean Asians so that their most racially negative, dehumanizing meaning becomes the predominant or, perhaps, only one.

In this light, it is difficult for me to see how the Slants' case would benefit Asian-Americans in any meaningful way. Other than to add more confusion to the mix in a situation where confusion and ambiguity already empowers anti-Asian racism, the Slants case would make it even easier for such racism to exist. There are absolutely no benefits to Asian-America, nor are there benefits to the causes of other minorities. If anything - and this has become obvious given the support offered by Washington - a win for the Slants would set all minorities back.

In summary, while I can appreciate that the Slants are one of the only bands of their kind, and that we should support them with our fandom, nothing has happened since my previous engagements with Simon Tam to convince me that his cause has any benefits either for Asian-Americans or minorities in general. As I - and circumstances - have shown the Slants' case has merely given impetus to entities whose cause is harmful to ethnic minorities. In this case, fears of a slippery slope are not fallacious - by supporting the Slants, Asian-Americans "activists" have empowered white racism, again.

Of course, being the rational and fair-minded guy that I am, if someone can explain how and why the Slants' case benefits, empowers, or advances Asian-Americans or their issues in any way, I would be quite willing to change my view. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Echo Chambers

And The Perils Of Self-Importance.

It would be something of an understatement to say that the Peter Liang trial has heavily divided the Asian-American community - particularly Chinese-Americans. On the one hand stand those who offer unequivocal support for his conviction, and on the other are those who argue that Liang is being scapegoated for political expediency.

Liang's supporters have caused some significant surprise having turned out by the thousands in several cities around the country to voice their concerns that Liang has been hit with disproportionate charges for what every legal entity involved with the case agrees was an accidental shooting. They also note the unequal application of the law - white officers who have committed observably intentional killings have escaped prosecution entirely.

It is worthwhile to note that even amongst Liang's supporters, there is a marked diversity of opinion. The underlying sentiment is that Liang has run afoul of political maneuvering and is being offered as a morsel of reprise to stave off black rage at the lack of accountability for mainly white officers who kill unarmed people in suspicious circumstances. Although some of Liang's support decries the manslaughter charges as excessive and merely the result of political expedience, others are focusing on the sentencing and calling for the judge to show leniency.

Noticeably, the idea that Liang should not on any level be held accountable seems to not be a prominent sentiment amongst his supporters. Their concerns are that he is being disproportionately charged for what everyone agrees was a tragic accident, that this incident would not have been afforded the same legal significance if previous cases of police excess had been brought to account, and not only that his race makes him a convenient scapegoat, but that prosecutors would not have gone after him with such perceived disproportionate harshness if he had been of any race other than Chinese. I think they raise points that demand our attention but, as you might have guessed, our new money progressive friends within the community disagree.

Following the widespread demonstrations, a council of the righteous high and mighty was convened on Google hangouts in which four of Asian-America's moral superiors and a credibility-providing African-American friend (and here) expounded on the "problem" of this surge of support for Liang. All participants introduced themselves as very important activists for all kinds of causes except Asian- American ones. The stated aim of the council was to "reframe" and "re-center" the conversation via an "open and honest dialogue about true racial solidarity."

No, that isn't canned laughter you are hearing.

Far from engaging in an open and honest dialogue, the participants simply repeated each other's biased and uninformed views with several of them coming close to slapping themselves across the head in frustration at the lack of compliance coming from the Chinese FOBs who, apparently, have made our progressives look bad - which seems to be the primary cause of angst for these guys. Coming across very much like a council of some religious inquisitor, the participants took turns at self-righteous condemnation of Liang's supporters, utilizing such tactics as name-calling and racial stereotyping. I could not help but feel as though there was an ironic element of fobby face-saving going on stemming from a kind of horrific realization that Asian progressives are not only out of touch with Asian immigrants, they have grossly underestimated their own understanding of America's racial quagmire.

Against all progressive proclamations, it is the Chinese FOBs - not the American-born progressives - who have shown a deeper and far more nuanced understanding of the complexities of a multi-racial society in which racial thinking and racist injustices do not flow in a solitary direction from white to black, but do, in fact, encompass a multi-directional experience in which racist attitudes and behaviours manifest amongst all groups.

Maybe it would have helped their case if the panel has exhibited some small degree of charisma, yet I couldn't help but wonder if they had shot up with a downer like heroin, or gotten deeply stoned and watched the movie Magnolia in preparation for the podcast. Suffice it to say, the proceedings were so mind-numbingly dull that I had to slap myself on the head with an old insole to keep myself awake and remind my brain that I wasn't watching an hour-long slow-motion replay of a kettle boiling.

A hugely significant issue that I had with the panel was that there were no representatives present from Liang's supporters to give a balanced and fair representation of their side in their own words. Of course, when podcast host, Diane Wong of 18 Million rising, proclaimed at the very beginning that the aim was to "reframe and recenter...honest dialogue", I should have guessed that I would be in for a treat of misrepresentation, inflammatory stereotyping and outright self-delusional lies.

For example, at around the 5:20 mark, Wong accuses the Chinese media of pushing a polarizing and anti-black narrative, yet she fails to provide any evidence for this. That must be what "re-framing" means; to make inflammatory assertions without evidence. With Wong having set the tone of the podcast, Oi Yan Poon (who, apparently, is a respected academic) continues with a lengthy name-calling screed in which she asserts - again without a shred of evidence - that privilege and anti-black racism is motivating Liang's supporters.

Poon goes on to reinforce the extremely racist stereotype that these Chinese FOBs are overly deferential to authority and, somehow, their political activism is an act of subservience. The double-think is strong with this one. She continues with the accusation that Liang's supporters are driven by a desire to enter whiteness - again, a claim asserted without evidence. Yet, rather than show a moral failure on the part of Liang's supporters, it is the intellectual limitations of the panel that comes through most clearly here; Liang's supporters genuinely think that he has been scapegoated by the white judicial system in order to further protect and deflect attention away from white officers who murder. The progressive panel seem to lack the wherewithal to present a coherent argument that counters this simple belief.

Poon's claim, therefore, makes no sense and can only be an emotional outburst to make herself feel better. This is a huge logical error on her part that could have been avoided if only the panel had bothered to actually engage with their opponents in a constructive way that fostered the flow of ideas. Instead, they opted for a kind of primal scream therapy in which they unleash their ignorant self-induced resentments without reference to facts.

Unbelievably, it gets worse - much worse. Poon ends her screed by trying to explain the actions of these 21st century Chinese FOBs by citing a couple of civil-rights cases from almost a century ago that involved Asian plaintiffs. Poon never bothers to illustrate how these cases have influenced Liang's supporters, nor does she offer any evidence that they have even heard of these cases. All this seems to actually show is that Poon and the panel have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to the motivations of Liang's supporters and are relying on made-up narratives to slander them. 

The other Asians on the panel merely echoed Poon's distasteful and racially inflammatory comments, not really adding anything different and only repeating the buzzword "anti-blackness" and their dehumanization of Chinese immigrants, never once offering any evidence to justify their claims nor bothering to hide their blatant bigotry.

The only interesting moment during the whole podcast came from the black panellist - "Fresco" - which was priceless and worth enduring the horrific dullness of the the rest of the show. Having listened to the "reframed and re-centered " narrative of the Asians on the panel, she quietly asserts a bizarre narrative of her own which seems to stun the Asians. The seconds of awkward silence were awesome after she claims that Asian anti-blackness derives from a history of global chattel slavery that Asians apparently participated in and not from an appropriation of whiteness as had been claimed. The Asian panellists looked like they had been slapped with a wet sock and I loved it.

Although her claims were largely nonsensical, Fresco exposed the flimsy foundational premise of making anti-blackness the focus of Asian-America's race conversation. Asian progressivism agitates to force the Asian racial experience into the limited confines of the black/white narrative. This means that we have to abandon our history in order to contextualize our experience relative to African-America's and implicitly accepting any black historical narrative even though it is clearly false on occasion. It is clearly false that chattel slavery of Africans was a significant phenomenon in East or SouthEast Asia, yet our panellists could not challenge the untrue claims of the black panellist without abandoning their primary principle - centering anti-blackness.

The Asian racial experience has to be examined relative not only to our position to whites but also to other ethnic groups, and the simplistic - to the point of being dumb - premise that our past can only be understood through the filter of the relationship between blacks and whites is merely a way of giving up our identity and avoiding the heavy lifting of establishing Asians as a concept within our nation's cultural, social, and political milieu.

To emphasize just how out of touch with reality the panel was, at around the twenty-eight minute mark Wong describes Gurley's killing as a murder - a charge that not even prosecutors tried to make. Either through dishonesty or self-delusion, the panel could not even get the basic facts of the case right, choosing, instead, to increase potential tension between Asians and African-Americans by "re-framing" the facts of the case. If we do find ourselves in a situation where Asian immigrants come under increased violent attacks from African-Americans, then we can thank our progressive friends for contributing to this state of affairs.

The most telling part of the podcast came at around the forty-seven minute mark, again from Doc Poon. Describing her response to e-mails from those who disagree with her worldview, she proudly admits that she simply dismisses and deletes their e-mails. It takes a huge amount of self-involvement to openly admit to dismissing other people's points of view in the midst a podcast in which she asserts with certainty that she knows what is motivating Liang's supporters.

Poon's sentiment was repeated in a blog post she wrote, titled "What are we fighting for?" published on the AngryAsianMan website in which she - with a kind of hysterical melodrama - ponders the apparently difficult question of why these Chinese FOBs have risen up in support of Liang. These happen to be stupid questions since in order to find out why Liang has so much support, all she would have to do is ask his supporters why they support him. Yet, she dismisses and deletes any communication from his supporters and wonders why she cannot understand their point of view. Go figure!

Thus, Poon should understand that there is no "we" per se, because creating a "we" would entail not dismissing people who have a different way of approaching issues. There is no "we" because Asian progressives have chosen to dehumanize Asian-America with blanket accusations of rabid anti-black racism, and reinforce inflammatory stereotypes that can only lead to more black/Asian tensions and anti-Asian violence. 

Sadly, many Asian-Americans will be swayed and impressed by the self-righteous moral grandstanding exhibited by the panel on this podcast, which only means that we can expect a steady increase in anti-Asian attitudes from our fellow Americans who might cite the "proof" of Asian progressive rantings to justify their prejudices.

On the bright side, the prosecutor in the Liang case recently revealed that he will be recommending leniency in Liang's sentencing - a smidgen of sanity amidst the frenzy to scapegoat someone who killed a man accidentally due to poor training and not hatred for black people as our progressive friends have deluded themselves into believing. Liang's training was so poor and shoddy that he barely received any practical training with handling his weapon

None of these significant facts resonate with our progressive panel - they choose, instead, to simply makes things up, ignore facts, and elevate their uninformed opinions to the status of objective truth. Oblivious to their own failures to utilize reasonable epistemological inquiry, the Asian panel is simply incapable of understanding why the FOBs aren't doing what they want them to do. Laughably, they draw the conclusion that the language barrier is the significant problem and that there needs to be more proselytizing via language-appropriate technology.

Not once do these guys consider that dialogue is a two-way street, a give and take of opinions, ideas, and attitudes. That means not just inundating people with your unsubstantiated opinions that you "re-frame" as truth, nor does it mean sitting around in a podcast, boring everybody with your racist diatribes against people you are almost certainly ignorant of.

There are two main prerequisites to changing other people's point of view: firstly, you have to stop talking and trying to brainwash people with mindless repetition of the tenets of your faith and instead, listen to what they have to say and what concerns them. The arrogance of early 21st-century Asian progressives is matched only by their ignorance - according to them, FOBs are mindless automatons (just like the white racists say they are) who need to be brow-beaten into doing what our authoritarian progressive friends want them to do. I disagree with this attitude - I think FOBs are free of the racial experiences that have scarred many American-born Asians and thus, have none of the conditioning that might influence the behaviour and attitudes of the American born. Perhaps they see things with far more clarity than we do.

Secondly, you need something compelling to say and a compelling way to say it. So far, all I've seen Asian progressives do is deflect attention away from pervasive white racial habits and proclaim Asian racism to be its equal. Not only is this silly, it is not particularly inspiring. Lying to and about people and their beliefs that Asian progressives haven't even bothered to study only helps white racism by changing the subject. This means that not only are Asian progressives contributing to anti-Asian racism, their absurd rantings serve as an obstacle to addressing the very real needs of black America.

In short, if you want to convince people of your ideas, then come up with good, realistic ideas that are based on reasonable inquiry and not on subjective opinions and feelings which you frame as truth. So far, Asian progressivism has failed to either formulate an inspiring philosophy or even properly identify the attitudes of the majority of their own community - but other people are at fault for "not getting" the progressive agenda.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Narrow Escape

I just wanted to update readers on why my blog has been dormant for a few weeks this month. For the most part, I have been busy putting the finishing touches to my novel and dealing with final edits, manuscript formatting, cover design work and so on. These are time consuming things that go hand in hand with self-publishing that I don't think are issues for writers who publish through publishing houses.

The good news is that the work is almost done - it has taken around three years to reach this point, when I had originally estimated that I could have the work completed and published within a year of starting! If all goes to plan, I hope to have the novel available before the beginning of summer. Fingers crossed.

Work on my novel was interrupted, however, when a couple of Saturdays ago, this happened. You can get a visual here. I happened to be around fifty meters away from where the bomber is believed to have accidentally detonated, in a shopping center where it is thought the bomber intended to strike. Lucky me.

So people are on edge around here, and the streets were almost empty for a couple of days afterwards. No one I know was hurt, but is it sobering to be reminded that you can be scrubbed out of existence in a split second on any given day. In short, I haven't been in the right frame of mind for a couple of weeks to do the necessary research and reading to post on the blog, even though I have several drafts awaiting their finishing touches.

This week, spring seemed to have sprung and we have had a couple of glorious sunny days with clear blue skies and cool breezes coming in off the water. This I think has lifted, somewhat, the city's mood - or at least, it has lifted mine - and I sense that life is slowly returning to normal. 

I hope to return to normal programming by the weekend. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Is Donald Trump An Asian-American Progressive?

Asian Progressive Complicity With White Racism.

As the Republican presidential candidate race heated up, Donald Trump's electioneering veered ever nearer to the kind of populist illiberal democratic politicians that have begun cropping up all over Eastern Europe. His most recent affront was to Muslims, but because his rhetoric has become so polarizing and inflammatory, it seems to have been forgotten that Trump started on this path with hostility to China even going so far as to use a mocking Asian accent at one of his rallies. Not wanting to be outdone, Jeb Bush jumped onto the bandwagon by clarifying that Asian anchor babies are less desirable than Hispanic ones - a sentiment which I took as a major disavowal (a.k.a "go fuck yourself") of the legitimacy and sensibilities of the Asian vote.

Of course, Trump and Bush received the most attention for their comments, but other candidates have also veered into xenophobia-tinged campaigning. Starting with democratic presidential hopeful, Hilary Clinton - who initiated this election season's sinophobic rhetoric with her outburst about Chinese hackers, and Carly Fiorina who seems to just dislike Asians and views them as cognitively deficient. All of this is unsurprising to me since I have come to expect a rise in anti-Asian rhetoric at election time, and was not surprised by the cynical and unapologetic use of it by presidential hopefuls on all sides of the political spectrum.

From the perspective of Asian-American progressivism, Trump's words especially are of particular interest. Criticizing companies that hire through H-1B visas, he argues that wages should be raised for those employed in these jobs so as to discourage companies from hiring from overseas and, in so doing, boost opportunities for American workers in the field - particularly blacks and Hispanics. The key point here is that the H-1B visa program has opened the door for many Asian immigrants to gain a foothold in America and go on to apply for residency and ultimately citizenship. Thus, encouraging companies to hire Americans implicitly closes a key avenue of immigration for Asians. To me, this is obviously an attempt to pit minorities against one another.

As I have pointed out in a couple of previous posts - here and here - there seems to be a correlat─░on between Asian-American progressive discourse and conservative racist posturing, in which conservatives, coincidentally, come up with ideas about Asians that are remarkably similar to those invented and propagated by Asian progressives. In a too-good-to-be-true series of coincidences, white conservative commentators have taken to adopting language remarkably similar to that used by grandstanding Asian progressives who decry "Asian privilege" and make wild, unsubstantiated accusations of racism committed by their own community.

White conservatives have borrowed the claims of grandstanding Asian progressives as a means to defend against charges of white racism - reasoning that, surely, if Asians have privilege then white racism is exaggerated! Even more troubling is that liberals are beginning to adopt a similar practice as evidenced by Bill Maher's recent claim that Hollywood racism can be explained by Asian racism - a claim echoing by the Asian progressive accusations via the liberal media of rampant "anti-blackness" in Asian communities.

Trump's racially polemic scheming on the H-1B visa program voices similar sentiments to those voiced by Asian progressives who view Asian success in education and the tech industry as an act of complicity in anti-black racism. According to these commentators, it is out of unadulterated anti-black racist spite that Asian-Americans pursue higher education and careers in tech. By merely participating in things like the pursuit of a degree, or a job in a field that interests you - like in the tech industry - Asians are upholding white supremacy, and are, thus, complicit in it. Likewise, Trump is also implying that Asian immigration disadvantages blacks and Hispanics.

It follows as a matter of common sense that if - as Asian progressives insist - Asian success in tech is implicitly disadvantageous to blacks, and that Asians are consciously colluding in a process of racial discrimination against blacks, then barriers should be put up that discourage Asian participation in tech and stop the H-1B visa avenue of Asian immigration. After all, who wants to let a bunch of rampant Asian racists into the country whose career choices are implicitly racist?

It could be a mere coincidence that Trump's bizarre and specific focus on the tech industry coincides with Asian progressive condemnations of the Asian presence in the field - yet the very fact that Trump was so specific about the tech industry gives me reason for pause. It strikes me as extremely unreasonably fortuitous that a presidential candidate would draw attention to the hiring practices of the tech industry - it is so out of left field (no pun) that I am left asking why the specific focus on tech? The only other people making any political issue about Asians in tech are Asian progressives. Trump is expressing pretty much the exact sentiments of "unfairness" that Asian progressives claim, but he is taking it to its logical conclusion - exclude immigrants (many of whom are Asian) from the industry.

But that is the natural consequence of pushing the idea that high Asian participation in higher education and the tech industry are acts of flagrant anti-black racism - following this flawed reasoning to its logical conclusion, any achievements made by Asian-Americans, by definition, disadvantage blacks. That is as clear of an anti-immigrant sentiment as it can get - and it is Asian progressives who are pushing the idea on American society.

That is not only dangerous it actually echoes the anti-Asian rhetoric of eras past, that brought about a decades-long campaign of anti-Asian pogroms and attempts to expel Asian communities from America both through legal or violent means. Our progressive friends have seemingly laid the foundation for a new era of Asian exclusion and even - if Trump has his way - expulsion of some immigrants amidst the closing down of a major avenue of Asian immigration.

The question is though, is it reasonable to wonder whether self-righteous Asian progressive rhetoric is informing white America's defence of its own racist attitudes? I think that the evidence is compelling that white America - particularly conservatives are appropriating Asian progressive rhetoric to stigmatize the Asian community, stereotype their attitudes, and use progressives' claims about Asians to defend their own racist attitudes and deflect attention away from it.

For instance, the term "Asian privilege" seems to have been coined by Asian progressives over the past few years and was never - as far as I know - part of conservative America's lexicon. Yet, such luminaries as Gavin McInnes, Bill O'Reilly, and Adam Corrolla have all borrowed the term and concept to defend against charges of white racism. The idea of a culture of rampant Asian racism is another (unsubstantiated) claim made by Asian progressives and recently we have seen Dylan Roof adopting this concept, and Bill Maher using the idea to defend Hollywood against the charge of racism.

Where on earth could these guys be getting the idea of Asian privilege and the notion of an attitude of rampant, identity-defining anti-black racism? As far as I know, there are no reasons to view Asians - particularly Asian-Americans - as especially racist such that their characters and cultures can be defined by it, and the notion of Asian privilege is merely a philosophical generalization. That leaves the anti-Asian rhetoric spewed out by Asian progressives as the likely source of these white attitudes, that enables defenders of the racial status quo to make reasonable arguments to support their claims.

These ideas were never part of America's political dialogue, yet suddenly, after five or so years of Asian progressives making repeated assertions about Asian privilege, and Asian anti-blackness we now see a commonplace adoption of this rhetoric by white commentators to defend white racism. Most importantly, the specific notion that Asian success carries with it an implicit disadvantage to blacks - and that Asians enter the tech industry or seek higher education out of racist spite - is an invention of Asian progressives.

Anil Dash writing on the "Medium" platform has this to say...
...one conclusion that is inescapable: Asian American men who work in tech are benefitting from tech’s systematic exclusion of women and non-Asian minorities.
He continues....
One of the most destructive tropes about Asian Americans is the pervasive myth of the “model minority”.......And this myth is all too often embraced within Asian American communities, making us complicit in systems of exclusion, even though we know what it’s like to be on the wrong side of those same systems.
The problems in these two snippets are manifold. Dash provides no evidence that this "exclusion" is "systematic" nor that it is even real - the statistics that he cites could reflect the availability of potential recruits, meaning that hiring could be a reflection of the make-up of those who actually apply as opposed to any deliberate policy of exclusion. Given the lack of meaningful evidence for any kind of conspiracy that excludes non-Asians and women, and the lack of evidence for the existence of a policy of discrimination against these groups, Dash's accusation that Asian men "benefit" from this unsubstantiated inequality has no merit. Furthermore, one would have to also answer the question of why Asian men are so privileged that these white racists tech companies would prefer them over other white men. It just makes no sense.

Sadly, Dash falls back on the blandly overused, but under substantiated assertion that Asian-Americans embrace the idea of the model minority and that this shows their complicity in anti-blackness. A previous post shows that this is not necessarily the case. As I wrote here, there is good evidence that shows that white people who believe the model minority stereotype also hold corresponding positive attitudes towards other minorities. Why, then, should I believe that Asians would adopt (or implicitly adopt) negative attitudes towards other minorities if they embrace the model minority stereotype?

The problem here is that Dash presumes that all Asians are familiar with the one or two articles that were published in the 1960's that made comparisons between Asians and black minorities and he also presumes that in the present when white people refer to Asians as a model minority, that they are by definition being anti-black. To most Asians the model minority myth may well mean only that Asians are a hard-working community and not necessarily that this implicitly denigrates blacks. That is merely an inflammatory progressive invention. Unfortunately, Dash is not the only one casting aspersions on Asian-Americans.

Writing on the African-American blog "BlackGirlDangerous", another Asian anti-anti-blackness-Messiah-hopeful (Ally Ang) adds fuel to the anti-Asian-sentiment-fire with this unsubstantiated gem....
The harsh truth is that even though we experience racism in deeply painful and traumatic ways, we are settlers on stolen land just like white people. This nation would not exist without the enslavement and subjugation of black people, and we as Asian Americans have often been complicit in the continuation of their oppression..............In two of the earliest Supreme Court cases regarding the citizenship of people of color, the plaintiffs argued that as Japanese and Indian Americans respectively, they were both closer to whiteness than Black or Indigenous people, and they were therefore more suited to be American citizens than other racial minorities. For many years, Asian Americans have attempted to claim whiteness and “model minority” status, often throwing black people under the bus along the way.
Ang's self-righteous indignation and moral grandstanding is cloying, not to mention morally suspect. The first issue is that Ang suggests that the very presence of Asians in the US is an implicit reinforcement of white racism -  which is silly. I could argue the point, but since Ang does not bother making a meaningful argument and merely asserts her claims, that would give her charges more credence than they deserve. It is the sentiment that is important here - Asians are complicit merely because of the fact of their presence.

The second issue - and this is slightly off topic - is that she looks down her self-righteous nose at the actions of people who lived at a time when everyone (even those with black heritage) was trying to pass for white. Her moral condemnation of people who lived under circumstances that we cannot even come close to imagining is simply sickening because it is so obviously a self-serving attempt to elevate her own delusion of moral superiority.

Another piece written by jazz musician Vijay Iyer, implies a similar embrace of white supremacy by Asians merely via the act of succeeding...
Whether you attribute it to some mysterious triple package or to your own Horatio Alger story, to succeed in America is, somehow, to be complicit with the idea of America—which means that at some level you’ve made peace with its rather ugly past.
I grant that Iyer's piece is more sophisticated and nuanced than some others that I have read, but even in this case, the theme of an implicit disadvantage for blacks when Asians succeed creeps in. It should be mentioned that everyone has to make peace with America's ugly past - if they did not, they would leave or withdraw from the game - the problem with Iyer's claim is that he conflates America's past with the "idea of America", and concludes, nonsensically, that to embrace one is to accept the other.

Over and over again, we see Asian progressives asserting or implying that Asians succeed at the expense of blacks and, worse, that this success is achieved with sneaky complicity and collusion with white racism. Of course, none of these assertions are ever supported by evidence of any kind, and at best, Asian progressives will gift us with a personal anecdote to buttress their claims.

Given the ubiquity of these kinds of articles, it is far from unreasonable to consider the adoption of similar rhetoric by white conservatives and right-wingers as connected in some way, after all, they didn't start bringing all of these ideas into their dialogue until Asian progressives started spewing it first. The problem is that if our Asian advocates are correct in their claims, then Donald Trump is justified in seeking to limit Asians in tech by abolishing the H-1B visa program and Jeb Bush is correct to question things like Asian anchor babies as being specifically detrimental to America - after all, even though Hispanic anchor babies are more numerous, no one is claiming that the mere presence of Hispanics in this country is implicitly disadvantageous to blacks.