Thursday, October 26, 2017

Worse In Asia...Because Asians.

The "Us Too" Affliction.....

It has come as no surprise to me that the recent revelations coming out of ultra-liberal, yet, unapologetically, anti-Asian Hollywood exposes a culture of abuse and sexual exploitation of both vulnerable women, and even men, over a period of decades. The man at the center of these revelations, producer, Harvey Weinstein, has been exposed as an alleged serial molester/rapist, who allegedly used his power and influence to make or break the careers of women in the industry to allegedly satisfy his allegedly perverse sexual appetite.

Yet, as I have come to expect, almost as soon as this story broke, up steps an Asian-American focused article that seemed to exist merely to imply that the West isn't that bad since - as we all know - Asia is always much worse. The article appears in an Asian-American online magazine called "Resonate" which purports to be a...
.....news, entertainment and blogging website that provides writers with a platform to discuss topics that strongly resonate amongst East Asian communities in the West. 
Hmmm.

Also on the "About" page, you can find the following statements....
The representation of East Asians is unreasonably disproportionate within politics, the film industry, music industry and the media in general. For example, when East Asians are represented in the film, they are often represented through takeaway owners or martial artists.
....and....
‘Resonate’ actively encourages positive representation in the media by making your voice heard by delivering interesting articles from your own perspectives to actively engage wider audiences.
Instead of a piece that conforms to the stated aims of the publication to represent Asians more roundly, the article actually does the opposite and relies on old tropes of backward Asian deference to authority to racially stereotype Asians as passive. 

The Resonate article reports that.....
Asia’s “conservative attitude towards sex” and “fear of consequences” prevent abuse victims in the Asian entertainment business from coming forward.
..and that....
it was “highly unlikely” that Asian actresses “will come forward in the way that their Western counterparts have” like the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
To be fair, the piece is quoting an article from Variety, written by Hong Kong journalist, Vivienne Chow, which actually makes the melodramatic (but unsubstantiated) claim that Asian actresses don't come forward [like their western counterparts] for fear of jeopardizing the lives of their families. As if that was not enough, yet another article appeared, this time on the YOMYOMF site that also cited the same Variety piece. YOMYOMF is another Asian-American interest site that also wants to improve representation of Asians in the media

Whilst I don't challenge the claim that there may be some alleged abuses going on in the "Asian" film industry, the problem here is the Variety piece's assertion that western culture has somehow displayed a more open or healthy response to allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and the abuses he is alleged to have inflicted on several women. The truth seems to be a little more complicated.

As we have now learned, Wienstein's actions seem to have been well known throughout the industry, amid allegations that some of Hollywood's A-list actors, directors, and producers had knowledge of the issue but chose to do nothing about the alleged abuses, or even actively worked to prevent Weinstein from being exposed. Sadly, dozens of female and male victims were ignored, or, for reasons of not wanting to hurt their careers, remained largely silent.

Ironically, this fear of, and deference to, authority displayed by both victims of Weinstein and those around him who lied on his behalf, or those who simply knew what was going on but refused to speak up, runs counter to the image portrayed by Hollywood - and tightly interwoven into the fabric of western cultures - of the western maverick individual who lives to swim against the current and push against the grain. To be clear, I am not blaming the victims here in any way, and my point will become clearer later in the piece. Yet, it is a pity that the Variety "exposé" on the Asian film industry seems to do just that - imply fault on the part of Asian victims of sexual violence.

The point is that Asians have been stereotyped - by the media, especially Hollywood - for years as naturally subservient to authority. We are supposedly from cultures that produce weak individuals with hive mentalities who are unwilling to stand up to injustice, or authority, and who definitely would not speak up for themselves, or others, as individuals. Oh, we're money driven, too.

Sadly, the Variety article seems to play upon these tropes, implying a different cultural mentality that restricts the ability of Asians to speak out against injustice whilst also implying that a greater courage exists amongst westerners to do just that. It doesn't take an epic feat of observation to notice that this simply did not happen in Hollywood, and that there was clear deference to authority amongst those who were not victims but who knew, but also amongst the victims who, for whatever reason, chose to stay in line and not come forward.

The Variety article was written by a Hong Kong journalist who may not know, or care, about the nuances of racist stereotypes in the western media. The YOMYOMF and Resonate platforms that both carried the story should know better. With the stated aim of improving representation of Asians in our culture, it seems oddly cursory that there would be an uncritical re-posting of an article that plays upon racial stereotypes that form the basis for poor representation of Asians in the media. Surely, the first step in improving representation for Asians would be to be capable of recognizing the stereotypes that lie at the root of it?

A deeper issue here is that not only does the Variety piece play into negative stereotypes of Asians, it seems to uphold the positive, overbearing stereotype of Caucasians as dynamic, fearless, individuals who brazenly speak out against injustice. Staying silent for decades is not dynamic individualism, nor is it brazenly anti-authority. Again, YOMYOMF and Resonate should recognize this principle at work here as part of their stated aim to improve representation for Asians - racist stereotypes of Asians are merely the worst traits of Caucasians projected onto others. So far, I've seen few examples of brazen Hollywood individuals having made a stand against Weinstein - or the numerous others of his ilk. In fact, no one that knew came forward on behalf of the victims for decades even though it is alleged that his actions were well known throughout the industry. Hardly a shining example of maverick individualism pushing hard against authority.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hair Is Anti-Black.....

Jerry's Dreads.....

Just when I thought that Asian-American progressivism couldn't get more mundanely absurd, a new source of angst has arisen over Jeremy Lin's racial offense of Donning Dreadlocks While Asian. The kerfuffle started when former NBA player, Kenyon Martin, voiced racially insensitive criticism of Lin's dreadlocks, seeming to take offense that Lin had a "black" hairstyle.

Lin's response was classy....
Hey man, it’s all good. You definitely don’t have to like my hair and [are] definitely entitled to your opinion.......Actually I [am] legit grateful [for] you sharin it [to be honest]. At the end of the day, I appreciate that I have dreads and you have Chinese tattoos [because] I think its a sign of respect......And I think as minorities, the more that we appreciate each other’s cultures, the more we influence mainstream society. Thanks for everything you did for the Nets and hoops…had your poster up on my wall growin up.
Martin subsequently did some backtracking - of sorts - but true to form, and as predictable as an Asian anti-white supremacy, anti-anti-blackness crusader who only dates white dudes, a grandstanding Asian progressive gets pulled from the anus of the white liberal media to spout meaningless rhetoric that lacks any logical cohesion or consistent train of thought.

Published in the ever more seemingly anti-Asian, xenophobic, liberal news site, the Huffington Post, Asian, Jessica Prois, and a black colleague, Lily Workneh join forces to enlighten us on the wrongness of Lin's hair and his response to Martin's attack.

The article's gist can be summed up by the following excerpts...
Neither of their actions ― culturally appropriating tattoos or dreads ― were signs of “respect.".......Yet there’s a certain reality that belies the accord the two reached: There’s a false equivalency in saying Chinese tattoos on a black man and dreadlocks on a Chinese-American man are the same type of offense...........................But borrowing a cultural marker like dreadlocks, which embody both joy and struggle unique to the black community, is not the same as having a Chinese tattoo, a symbol that doesn’t carry the same weight of oppression. Yes, appropriating Chinese culture through a tattoo is exoticizing and insensitive. But the the act of putting on and taking off dreadlocks ― which are related to the systematic economic and social oppression of a racial group ― demonstrates a greater level of disregard. 
What we have here is a failure to present any logically reasoned points in an article that makes sweeping assertions without offering any meaningful supporting argument. There are a couple of points forming the premise of the piece, which I have read as follows.....

  1. The use of dreadlocks by a non-black person is more heinous than Chinese letter tattoos on a non-Chinese.
  2. Dreadlocks are an embodiment of a political and social struggle unique to the African-American community.

The first point reflects the paucity of critical thinking exhibited by modern-day progressives in general and Asian-American progressives in particular. The assertion that wearing dreadlocks or sporting Chinese character tattoos are "offenses" is itself problematic, but the claim of a qualitative hierarchy in the severity of these supposed offenses is merely a subjective opinion elevated to an objective fact by virtue of mere assertion. The second point is a textbook example of irony.

The claim that dreadlocks somehow "belong" to black culture is simply untrue and ignorant. This is what the article says....
Dreadlocks, which are essentially twisted locks of hair, are more than just a hairstyle. They have become symbolic of blackness and black culture and while some wear them for aesthetic reasons, others can have a deep cultural and spiritual connection to them. The style itself is widely worn by many Rastafarians, a religious movement bred in Jamaica, and, for some among them, it can represent a resistance to Western or Euro-centric hairstyles while honoring their roots. 
Although it is true that dreadlocks have "become symbolic of blackness and black culture", how this argument supports the notions that Lin committed some kind of offense is not clear, since the article doesn't explain its claim. A key word here is "become". A simple google search of the term "dreadlocks" would have revealed that members of human societies have been dreading their hair for millennia and that this style has never been exclusive to black people.

Statues, hundreds of years old, exist of Buddha sporting what look like cornrows and dreadlocks, and an easy to find Wikipedia entry provides a brief overview of the use, and significance of, dreadlocks across diverse cultures throughout the ages. Of course, African cultures have used dreadlocks for thousands of years and for longer than there has even been such concepts as "Africa" or "Europe".

The irony here is that to give ownership of this practice to one specific group, existing at one particular time in history to symbolize their specific and unique experience dispossesses these other groups of their history and experience and excludes them from their own cultural rights. This process is only possible because of an attitude of Euro/western-centric primacy, made possible by an overbearing western media and culture whose influence is a residual outcome of colonialism.

This is a classic case of colonial appropriation that attempts to artificially give one group hegemonic ownership of a cultural practice that has diverse origins and arose independently across different cultures. While the use of dreadlocks has pre-dated the idea of the west, Europe, and Jamaica, it is merely by virtue of the fact that the use of dreads amongst Caribbean blacks in the west in modern times that makes it possible to claim ownership of this practice. It is because of the power of the western media and an overbearing culture that this idea of dreads rightfully belonging uniquely to black westerners exists. 

I can almost see the funny side to all of this - Western media power is utilized to dispossess numerous cultures of their historical cultural practice and give hegemonic ownership of said practice, all to promote the narrative of an oppressed group using a hairstyle as a symbol to resist hegemonic cultural ownership of their bodies and culture. You can't make this stuff up.

The HuffPo article exemplifies the reasons I can't get behind Asian progressivism, even though I consider myself liberal. There are simply major flaws in Asian progressive thinking due to an intellectually lazy reductionist pursuit of a black/white narrative to explain America's racial issues. Poor reasoning, flouting of logical thinking to avoid addressing facts that conflict with the narrative, all characterize progressive commentary, and I just have a general sense that Asian progressivism is driven by a fear of stepping outside the black/white dichotomy of the race dialogue, to the detriment of an autonomous Asian voice.

Pois and Workneh could so easily have conducted a simple internet search to learn that dreadlocks are a hairstyle that have spiritual, political, and stylistic significance for numerous cultures throughout history. Instead, they opted to stoke the flames of racial tension by claiming that Jeremy Lin had committed a racial offense because he chose to style his hair a certain way.

The article's authors, perhaps, did not notice that the interaction between Martin and Lin was, actually, of a mundane tone that ended with what seemed to be an acknowledgement of mutual respect, and an agreement of respect for each other's space and right to have an opinion that the other disagrees with. But, the article merely reinforces my observation that when it comes to promoting an Asian identity or point of view, Asian progressivism has little to say of value, and is, thus, largely irrelevant - even when it comes to a subject as mundane as a hairstyle.

Aside from the article's lack of basic research about the subject, the piece exhibits the same, tired, droning, lecturing, poorly reasoned style that is common to the vast majority of Asian progressive commentaries in the mainstream liberal media. Worse still, the article illustrates the most significant problem of the Asian progressive movement: an unwillingness, or inability, to uphold the voice of Americans of Asian descent. Asian progressivism can't even muster the courage, or intellectual nous, to make a stand for an Asian-American even concerning the mundane act of choosing a hairstyle.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Asianization Of Donald trump

The Media Is Still Not Our Friend......

I came across an interesting article on the fact-checking site, Snopes, that examined various claims made in the media about Donald Trump's actions/behaviour since he began his run for Presidential office. Despite stating numerous disclaimers of its author's opposition to Trump (Snopes does have a someone leftist lean), the piece is nevertheless mostly exemplary as a model for unbiased reporting. What's interesting is that the article describes biased and hostile media reports and portrayals of President Trump that are based caricatures. Caricature are often used to establish and propagate stereotypes.

The article says this....
This article is intended as a neutral, reliable analysis of the lies, false allegations and misleading claims made about and against Donald Trump since his inauguration in January 2017. We’ve attempted to strip away the hyperbole, name-calling and generalizations, and examine the patterns and trends at work: what characterizes these lies and exaggerations, the effect they have, what might explain them. 
We pay particular attention to selected examples — claims that have gained prominence among the mainstream opposition to Trump, revealing much about the methods, priorities, and tone of that opposition, and illustrating how this movement both cultivates and plays off a number of caricatures of the 45th President and at times falls prey to a handful of identifiable and repeated errors of thought.
The highlighted part of the second paragraph, above, is noteworthy: the hostile media plays off and cultivates caricatures of Trump to publish untruths or half-truths that cast a negative light on his presidency, morality, and character.

The piece goes on to outline the caricatures utilized by the mainstream media to shape, foster, and propagate negative attitudes towards Trump.....
Broadly speaking, most of the falsehoods levelled against Trump fall into one or more of four categories, each of them drawing from and feeding into four public personas inhabited by the President.  They are: 
  • Donald Trump: International Embarrassment
  • Trump the Tyrant
  • Donald Trump: Bully baby
  • Trump the Buffoon. 
Some of these claims are downright fake, entirely fabricated by unreliable or dubious web sites and presented as satire, or otherwise blatantly false. But the rest — some of which have gained significant traction and credibility from otherwise serious people and organizations — provide a fascinating insight into the tactics and preoccupations of the broad anti-Trump movement known as “the Resistance,” whether they were created by critics of the President or merely shared by them.
....there's something eerily familiar about about all of this. With each bullet point above, we could substitute the word "Asians" for the word "Trump" and the article would be unintentionally providing an uncannily accurate description of how Asians (particularly Asian men) are portrayed in the media.

It is routine to see Asian men portrayed as misogynistic tyrants who bully helpless Asian women (as popularized by the Joy Luck Club) and whose masculinities are lampooned as buffoonery. From internationally embarrassing Chinese ghost cities to mockery of Chinese and Japanese tourists, and from supposedly poor quality products to Asia's sometimes imitative engagement with western culture, Asia and its people are generally portrayed as an embarrassing imitation of western sophistication and rational comportment.

All of these Asian portrayals play off caricatures cultivated or propagated across the spectrum of America's media from comedy, light entertainment, movies, literature, and television, to current events programming and news reporting. The media has even ridiculed Trump about the size of his penis. They really hate this guy almost as much as they seem to hate Asian guys!

The key difference here is that Trump's race is not the motivating factor in how the media portrays him. The media is responding to Trump as an individual whose actions and words have rubbed many people the wrong way. Consequently, reporting on Trump is often emotional (i.e. irrational), hostile, suspicious, often paranoid, and uncompromisingly one-sided in its misrepresentations of him. Yet, this is precisely the way the media - including, and, perhaps, particularly, the liberal media - misrepresents Asia and Asian men.

This phenomenon further cements my belief that liberals and the liberal media are unreliable allies, fickle and dishonest, but most problematic of all, politically biased such that it cannot be trusted to report objective news about Asians, nor can entertainment media be trusted to divest itself from propagating racist stereotypes of them. My conclusion here is that Asian commentary at this time - if it is to be taken seriously - needs to highlight the implicit dishonesty of the liberal media regardless of whether it is talking about Trump or Asian men. At least we know where we stand with Trump, the media on the other hand, claims to be "liberal" on one side of its mouth whilst giving platforms and credence to those who spout casual anti-Asian racism on the other.

This uncomfortable truth is a huge slap in the face for those in Asian-American reactivism who suggest that our concerns about media representation and portrayals are somehow overblown. The fact that the media has successfully - so far - managed to galvanize widespread opposition, overlook and "re-frame" leftist violence, and successfully propagate admitted lies to disrupt the world's most powerful politician, shows just how significant the issue of media representation is for Asian-Americans. Obviously, some of our self-righteous friends in Asian progressive fantasy land can't imagine just how significant a role the media can play in the democratic process. More on that in an upcoming post.

We have to remember that an unbiased media is hugely significant for any democratic society. If it makes things up and becomes politicized and biased, the effect of this misinformation is that democracy becomes dysfunctional. When media reporting and representation strategies are based on caricaturing and stereotyping of Trump that is designed to foster abuse and hostility towards him rather than honestly inform people of his statements and actions, that takes away our ability to make informed decisions about our democracy.

If media reporting and representation strategies - that are based on caricaturing and stereotyping -  targets an ethnic minority with few means or opportunities of responding, that becomes a repression. Sadly, Asian men are the prime targets for liberal media racism - of course, Asian re-activism has no thoughts on that.

The article continues...
Generally speaking, we discovered that they are characterized and driven by four types of errors of thought: 
  • Alarmism
  • A lack of historical context or awareness
  • Cherry-picking of evidence (especially visual evidence)
  • A failure to adhere to Occam’s Razor — the common-sense understanding that the simplest explanation for an event or behavior is the most likely. 
Infused throughout almost all these claims, behind their successful dissemination, is confirmation bias: the fuel that drives the spread of all propaganda and false or misleading claims among otherwise sensible and skeptical people. Confirmation bias is the tendency to look for, find, remember and share information that confirms the beliefs we already have, and the tendency to dismiss, ignore and forget information that contradicts those beliefs. It is one of the keys to why clever people, on all sides of every disagreement, sometimes believe stupid things that aren’t true.
And there you have it - an accurate description of the nature of media representation of Asian men. I don't support Trump, but in all consciousness, I cannot give my acquiescence to media strategies that are casually turned on Asian men. The enemy of my enemy, is definitely not my friend in this case.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Exposing Posing.

The Road Less Travelled.

Well, it's been a few months since I last posted - life is keeping me busy! I hope to get back to regular blogging soon. Something caught my attention in recent weeks that I had to write about.

It seems that these days our cultural consciousness is driven by narratives - stories, and even myths that create, shape, and reinforce societal beliefs, opinions, and attitudes. Taken together, these narratives form the basis for our "commonly held beliefs" as a nation, society, or community, and often provide the framework through which policy is formed, actions are taken, and laws are made.

In America's race dialogue, narratives are a significant weapon in the arsenals of activists seeking justice for racial wrongdoings of both present and past. None are more verbally empowered by narratives than progressive Asian "activists" who have appropriated existing race narratives that define a racial dialogue almost exclusively along black/white lines with an occasional mention of Mexicans and Muslims thrown in for the sake of "diversity". Sadly, when it comes to an Asian-American narrative, Asian activism seems to be at a loss, particularly where Asian men are concerned.

The recent shooting of a 60-year-old grandfather, Jiangshen Chen, is a case in point. Chen was shot by a white security guard in the parking lot of an apartment complex, where his family owned a home, after he came under suspicion whilst playing Pokemon Go in his parked vehicle. According to reports, the white security guard fired through the window of Chen's vehicle, leaving the grandfather dead at the scene. Tragic, no doubt, yet, this incident lays bare the paucity of substance of Asian-American progressive activism.

If we cast our minds back several months to the shooting of Akai Gurley by Chinese-American police officer, Peter Liang, we might notice a radically different Asian activist reaction to that case than to the Chen shooting. Gurley's shooting was met with a prolonged effort of re-activism; in-depth social commentary that seemed to engage in long-distance, mass psychoanalysis of Liang and the immigrant Chinese community that supported him, condemning all as anti-black racists whose actions render them complicit in the preceding centuries of white supremacist racism that led to a killing that was supposedly anti-black in intent and scope. Every stage of the Gurley case seemed to be accompanied by Asian activism's commentary cheerleading for a guilty verdict of murder to be given to Liang.

For months, Asian commentary seemed to be dominated by the supposedly rampant (yet unsubstantiated) anti-blackness of Asia and its people that somehow (it was asserted) had a bearing on Liang's actions and the support he was receiving from his community. Liang was tried and convicted of guilt by Asian progressives who had no apparent first-hand information about the case, and whose knowledge of events came entirely from media reports - that is, the same media about whom we often complain is biased against Asian-Americans.

In short, Asian activists exhibited some of the most passionate, aggressive, and enduring acts of protest and commentary in their condemnation of Liang and his allegedly racist supporters. By comparison, Chen's shooting has been largely met with what seems like an awkwardly mute Asian liberal punditry. You will struggle to find significant commentary on Chen's shooting, and at best, you might find twitter rage. But that's about it with not a narrative in sight trying to explain the meaning of such a pointless killing.

In fact, I found one, and only one, in-depth blog commentary on the case over at the Reappropriate blog - a dispassionate piece in which one point stood out; the notion that Chen's killer may have been poorly trained, and that this had a bearing on the fatal outcome of the encounter. According to the piece, the security guard's poor training is a question being raised by those who are concerned about.

What piques my interest here is that in the Liang case, several NYPD officers testified that the firearms training that was given to Liang was extremely p the killingoor, implying that as a rookie cop with such poor training, he should not have been given the task of patrolling the notoriously crime-ridden and dangerous tower block where Gurley's killing took place. Strangely, but not surprisingly, this aspect of Liang's case was completely ignored by Asian progressive commentary.

As I wrote in previous posts, progressive  condemnation of Liang and his supporters was high on self-righteousness and had already convicted Liang of anti-black racism as the motive for his actions. Recall that Liang claims that, with pistol in hand, he entered the stairwell through a door that swung back and struck his hand as he became startled by a noise, setting off his firearm. The bullet from the firearm ricocheted of a wall and struck Gurley - who was standing in his doorway two stories above Liang and completely unsighted by him - in the heart. Liang did not even realize that he had killed someone with his "shot".

Simply, put, no progressive gave Liang the benefit of the doubt that Gurley's death was the result of an accidental, freakishly unfortunate shooting, all stemming from inexperience and poor training. By contrast, the only progressive who can be bothered to write in-depth about Chen's shooting, affords his killer the benefit of the possibility of "poor training" as an explanation for his actions. The problem is that Chen's killer fired multiple rounds into the driver's front and side windows in broad daylight and must have known exactly what he was doing. Liang fired one shot....that ricocheted off a wall.....that killed a man who was unsighted two stories above.....and this is racist intent? Surely, if Liang's intent was to kill, he, like Chen's killer, would have fired several rounds blindly into the dark stairwell above, instead of a solitary bullet?

The ease and aggressiveness with which Asian activism jumped on the bandwagon of condemnation of Liang in a campaign of misrepresentation all but convicting him of racially biased killing was disturbing to say the least. It is reasonable to expect that a primary purpose of Asian activism would be to provide nuance for all members of our community - in Liang's case, the opposite held true. Asian progressive activism merely asserted a racist motive for Liang and his supporters, and implied - against all reasonable evidence - that there was intent to kill Gurley....because he was black. Even worse, the only nuance that Asian progressive activism brings to the table in Chen's shooting actually favours his killer.

The Caucasian killer of  Jiangshen Chen has not come anywhere near to being vilified as a racist by Asian progressives in the same way they tried to convince us Liang was an anti-black one. Even the Reappropriate article merely "wonders" if there might have been a racist motive. It would be tragic if it wasn't so hilarious. The implication is that the racist narrative of wicked Asian men (like Liang) is readily adopted and propagated by Asian progressivism whilst the issue of culturally normalized violence towards Asian men is far from the agenda. This highlights the ambivalence that Asian progressives exhibit towards Asian men.

According to our "activists", Asian men are complicit in social injustices that disadvantage blacks, and are regularly the subject of scathing articles that condemn them and equate their career and educational choices with acts of white supremacy. Laughable as this is, this posture has become the prevailing Asian progressive narrative concerning Asian men; according to them, we are the problem, and sometimes, it seems, we are accorded a vicious condemnation that seems rarely aimed at the mainstream white establishment.

It's no surprise, then, that in two cases of unarmed, innocent men being shot, the Asian man who unintentionally and accidentally kills a black man receives more hate and condemnation than the white man who intentionally kills an elderly Asian man. The responses to the victims was even more disparate. For Gurley, a narrative kicked in that provided clueless Asian progressives with the means to grandstand on his behalf. For Chen..........we're still waiting. What is the progressive narrative for Asian men? 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Surprised? Not Me!

Reaping the Harvest of Progressive Racism.

As readers might have noticed, I have been somewhat less busy on my blog in recent weeks and months. There is a reason for this that I will talk about in future posts, but for today, I want to talk about Steve Harvey.

Harvey got into hot water a while back for making racially charged comments about Asian men, joking that no one finds Asian men attractive, and seguing his bigotry into a joke about Chinese food (of course). While discussing a book called "How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men", Harvey chose to use the book's existence as a reason to be racist, and said the following....
"That's one page too!....'Excuse me, do you like Asian men?' No. 'Thank you.' How to Date a Black Woman: A Practical Guide [for] Asian Men. Same thing. 'You like Asian men?' I don't even like Chinese food. It don't stay with you no time... I don't eat what I can't pronounce." 
Unsurprisingly, it turns out that Harvey votes liberal and endorsed Hilary Clinton in the election, and even went so far as to compromise journalistic integrity by providing Clinton with a "cheat sheet" of questions (which included "suggested responses) before a live interview with her, so that, one presumes, she wouldn't be faced with uncomfortable questions that she might have difficulty answering. As a racist liberal, he is in good company.

In his endorsement of  Clinton, he grovelled thusly....
"She has fought for social justice, equality and policies that expand civil rights and economic opportunity out there........And I'm endorsing you as my candidate for President of the United States and I just think that you're going to just do the right thing for the majority of the people in this country."
Is it just me, or does there seem to be a culture of anti-Asianism amongst liberal African-American celebs who spout rhetoric about racial justice and equality, whilst simultaneously spouting off the cuff, throw-away, casual anti-Asian racism?

I'm also reminded of last year's Oscar's ceremony when we were treated to another racist joke aimed at Asian men in the form of a penis joke by Sacha Baron Cohen. We're accustomed to demeaning sit-coms, tweets, and films that denigrate Asian men, but liberal, live-broadcast, hit-and-run racial harassment of Asian men is something unusual. The question is, why the sudden boldness?

Disturbingly, this unapologetic, casual anti-Asian male racism expressed by liberals so happens to correlate with the emergence of the mainstreaming of Asian progressive/feminist antagonism towards Asian men. It's too early to assert that there is a pattern emerging here, but the correlation between bold and brazen mainstream anti-Asian male racism and ever more shrill Asian progressive attacks on Asian men in recent years is too coincidental to ignore. 

I have pointed out in previous posts that Asian progressive rhetoric that has targeted other Asians (notably elderly Asians and Asian immigrants) seems to have been adopted by conservatives as a means to argue against white racism (laughably ironic!), but also by liberals like Bill Maher to explain away liberal racism in the film industry. Asian progressive rage has also targeted Asian men in the tech industry (who are accused of racism because they work in tech), but also Asian men (like John Cho and Eddie Huang) who have actually managed to get a fingernail hold in industries that have traditionally excluded or marginalized them.

You don't have to look too hard or too far to find racist, Asian progressive rhetoric that demonizes and dehumanizes Asian men. In December of last year, anti-anti-blackness hero, Anil Dash, said the following during a panel discussion on "diversity" in tech....
The biggest inhibitor to increasing the number of black and Latino creators, Dash said, is Asian-Americans, “who turned our backs” on black and Latino communities after those communities welcomed Asian-Americans into their neighborhoods.
That's right, according to Dash, Asian men are interlopers who took advantage of inner-city hospitality and are now shitting on blacks and Latinos by working in tech. It doesn't get much more inflammatory than that. Dash's assertions are far more racist than Steve Harvey's and Sacha Baron Cohen's, yet, his words reflect the standard rhetoric of Asian progressivism. There is a long list of such rhetoric that targets Asian men with unsubstantiated accusations of complicity in white supremacy or anti-blackness merely because of the career they have chosen.

Asian progressive rhetoric has become a significant source that informs anti-Asian racism amongst both mainstream conservatives and liberals. Worse still, progressive attacks on Asians has enabled anti-Asian racism and helped to make it acceptable - how can you logically argue against stereotyping, demonization, and dehumanization of Asians in general, and Asian men in particular, when the most widely disseminated views issuing from Asian-America are "progressive" ones that do these very things? 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

President Trump...An Asian-American Nightmare.

The Demagogue Arises

Back in February of this year, I wrote a post about Donald Trump in which I noted a similarity in his proposal to end the H-1B program and the anti-Asian rhetoric of Asian-American progressives who advocate against high Asian representation in the tech industry. I have also pointed out in several previous posts how this same anti-Asian progressive rhetoric has apparently been adopted by several right-wing conservative (and the occasional liberal) media commentators to defend white society against the charge of racism. 

Now that Donald Trump has been elected to the presidency, I have the niggling feeling that the chickens are about to come home to roost on this anti-Asian sentiment propagated by Asian progressives in the liberal media.

It is worth remembering that in the early days of the election - as I pointed out here - sinophobia-tinged economic tough-talk gave rise to a number of xenophobic comments by politicians from all sides of the political spectrum. Trump even racially caricatured Asians with a mock "Asian" accent to the full enjoyment and applause of his gathered supporters and barely a head shake of disapproval from our "allies" on the left.

Noticeable about the election campaigning was that even though there was so much eye-winking and nudge-nudging anti-Asian rhetoric, this apparent widely-held xenophobia and the casual anti-Asian racism it reveals never became an election issue in the way that anti-Muslim, and anti-Hispanic immigration rhetoric became a significant talking point for those opposed to Trump. Our liberal allies seemed not too invested in championing anti-Asian racism as a political cause. The reason is that anti-Asian racism is so casually expressed and normative in our society that, likely, few in mainstream America thought that there was any issue at all.

I abstained from voting - and I wish that all vote-eligible Asian-Americans had expressly boycotted the election. The reason I did so is that as an Asian, I was visible only as a potential threat and fifth column to the right, and only as a joke, a threat, and possible fifth column by the left. While, the anti-Asian racism of the right needs little examination since, at least, they're open and honest about it, the left on the other hand is more slippery. All you have to do is consider some of Hilary Clinton's most celebrated supporters and you will see what I'm talking about.

When it comes to culturally influential and prominent supporters, she had people like Chris Rock, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna (and here), Shaq,and Rosie O'Donnell, to name a few. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that individually and collectively, even this limited sample of liberal/leftist wields significant influence in our culture and society. Merely by virtue of the platforms made available to these celebs, their statements on any issue have the potential to reach huge swathes of people and influence these viewers' attitudes. This is why electioneering politicians seek the support of such celebrities - they can reach hundreds of thousands of followers and spread political messages via already-established media platforms.

Chris Rock's racial stereotyping of Asians at the Oscars was viewed by tens of millions of people - worldwide - and was presented at an event held by a notoriously liberal and "progressive" Hollywood establishment in an atmosphere of casual acceptance of its racist content, followed up by non-committal, sniggering media reporting on the subject. All of these celebs have significant followings and at various times in their careers have served as role models and leaders for thousands of fans, which means that they role-modeled casual anti-Asian racism to untold numbers of people.

The liberal left's tolerance of anti-Asian racism and its unqualified acceptance of high-profile liberal supporters who casually voice such sentiment showed America that progressive Democrats' self-righteous moral posturing on race was a farce. It all boils down to simple logic. If the pursuit of racial equality and upholding of the dignity of minorities are universal principles, then, by definition, these principles must be applied to all minorities. As I have shown, high-profile supporters of the liberal left routinely propagate stereotypes of Asians and spout anti-Asian racism, but are still proudly paraded by liberal politicians as upholders of universal principles of racial justice and equality.

That means that as an Asian-American, I am being asked by Asian progressive activists to support a party that seeks out the vote-winning power of celebs who unapologetically expressed racial bigotry towards me, and who represent an industry that routinely excludes Asians from participating in it. Donald Trump and his ilk are the devils we know. Liberal leftists are the devil in disguise, pretending to uphold universal principles while at the same time welcoming supporters who role-model and promote anti-Asian racism.

It is disturbing to realize that our society's indifference to Donald Trump racial mockery of Asians is fostered by the liberal media and some of the celebs who utilize its platforms. Indeed, the liberal media - through whitewashing dramatic roles, stereotyping, and discrimination against Asian actors - is the primary culprit in normalizing anti-Asian racism. Trump's racial mockery did not become a major election issue because our society is conditioned to view racist stereotypes as the normal way of conceiving of Asians, and the left could not mobilize behind an opposition to anti-Asian prejudice because it is supporters of the left that have done so much to normalize it. The liberal media created the social conditions that made Trump's anti-Asian racism a non-issue.

From an Asian-American point of view, there really is no good choice in American politics - liberals, the team that champions racial justice - propagate racist stereotypes of Asians, whilst Trump and many of his supporters simply don't like Asians and are honest about it. We know what to expect from them. The liberals, on the other hand, don't seem to like Asians much either, but they are not honest about it.

The repercussions of this liberal normalization of anti-Asianism under a Trump presidency remains to be seen. But, what is clear is that if Trump decides to go full on with a belligerent anti-China policy, then thanks to liberals - especially Asian progressives with their smearing of their own community - we can expect to continue to see any acts of anti-Asian racism met with an indifferent shrug, regardless of its severity. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Much Wu Wu About Nothing....

Constance Keeps It Constant....

There was a YOMYOMF post recently that sought to defend Constance Wu from accusations of hypocrisy after she tweeted criticism of the casting of Matt Damon in a historical film set in ancient China. As readers might know, Damon is Caucasian and very much un-Chinese - making his starring role in a film set in this period of ancient Chinese history somewhat anachronistic. So, Wu's comments are on point.

The criticism of Wu came from - according to the YOMYOMF article - Asian men who, apparently, consider her a hypocrite because she criticizes white racism yet, she is dating a white man.

This is the significant piece of what she said, but you can read the full tweet here.....
We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that [only a] white man can save the world.........Our heroes don't look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi. Mandela. Your big sister when she stood up for you to those bullies that one time.
The YOMYOMF article links to this Hapa Reddit thread as its primary example of Asian men shitting on Wu. I have a couple of things to say about this whole shitfest.

Firstly, to cite a Hapa reddit thread and then throw out the accusation that it is "Asian men" who constitute most of the critics is one conflating bridge too far. If you read through the Hapa Reddit site, you will notice that a good amount of it is devoted to criticism of Asian female and white male relationships. As the offspring of mixed marriages/relationships who most likely are drawing from personal (often painful, apparently) experiences in their criticisms of their own backgrounds, to dismiss them as "Asian male trolls", is insulting to their life experiences as mixed-race people who have a unique perspective on the racial dynamics of mixed-race partnerships. At the very least, they are owed - as human beings - the decency of having their experiences not dismissed out of hand merely because it makes progressives uncomfortable.

It doesn't help that the Hapa Reddit thread criticizing Wu dates from 11th June 2016, whilst Wu's tweet was published on 29th of July - so the Reddit thread is not actually criticizing her specifically for her tweet.

The second issue relates to what Constance Wu actually said in her tweet and whether it warrants the kind of orgasmic excitement displayed by many in the Asian-American activist blogosphere. Firstly, I don't agree that Wu is being a hypocrite or inconsistent by having a white boyfriend. And neither do I think she deserves to be insulted because of this.

At the same time, her words...
We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that [only a] white man can save the world....
...weakened her case and left her open to criticism. Let's be honest, the high rate of out-marriage amongst Asian women (particularly to white men) also, in its own way, perpetuates a racist myth of Asian men made undesirable by their misogyny. There's no getting away from this fact. But this is not why I'm not particularly inspired by Wu's tweet.

In essence, Wu's comment follows the worn and weary path of recent fashionable Asian-American activism. She takes an issue of specific anti-Asian bias and uses it as a springboard to wax poetic about a general issue of bias in which the specificity and unique issue of Asian cultural invisibility becomes secondary. She doesn't even use the word "Asian", and the word "Chinese" crops up only in relation to the film's investors. In effect, Wu has herself rendered Asians - that is, East and South-East Asians - somewhat invisible.

Even the people that Wu puts forward as our heroes - Malala, Ghandi, and Mandela - don't actually look like me or my ilk. Doesn't she have heroes who look East or South East Asian? If she can't think of any such people, then that in and of itself speaks to a need for activism that focuses on us, and not some wild, pompous, big tit in the sky approach that is inclusive of everyone but satisfies no one and renders me invisible. The content of Wu's tweet is not even particularly unique or original - these sentiments have been, and continue to be, voiced by anonymous Asians on countless forums and blogs.

So, while it is good that these ideas are being voiced by a high profile figure in the public arena, there's nothing new being said, and the way it is being said actually renders me invisible. The crux of the problem is that Asian-American activist thinking has become so one-dimensionally focused on "coalition" building that it has become one of the major forces marginalizing Asians - Constance Wu's tweet illustrates this as clear as day.

While there is grandstanding about "building coalition" with other minorities, the all-important foundation of an Asian-American coalition seems largely neglected. There seems to be a lack of cohesiveness and understanding between the various ethnic Asian groups, between generations, genders, sexualities and social classes. The dis-unity of Asian-America is even exacerbated by the anti-Asian racist rhetoric of Asian progressivism that characterizes Asian men as toxic, Chinese FOBs as rampant anti-black racists, and any Asian man who works in the tech industry as an implicit supporter of white supremacy.

Constance Wu, in a subsequent moment of activist zealotry was kind enough to illustrate this division for us in another tweet where she seemed to voice support for a mail-order bride "sitcom" that was being considered by media racists. As a privileged woman of North-East Asian descent, living in the wealthiest country in the world, Wu seems to be out of touch with Asian women in the less prosperous countries of Asia who, perhaps, are more vulnerable to exploitation.

In short, there really is not much to see here. Constance Wu's sentiments meet the required standards of present-day Asian activism in that it utilizes an instance of specific anti-Asian bias to promote an agenda that results in more invisibility for Asians. There's nothing inspirational about that, regardless of who Wu is dating.