Wednesday, February 4, 2015

This Town Ain't Big Enough.

The Blackface Of Asian-American Activism

My last three posts (here, here, and here) explored the prevailing zeitgeist amongst Asian-Americans of the activist bent that posits the belief that the Asian racial experience should be reduced to a sub-category of an anti-blackness narrative that permits an Asian voice only insofar as it does not focus on Asians at all, but rather marginalizes the Asian experience and renders it invisible. In particular I pointed out how our insistence on unreasonably framing even the creation of the model minority stereotype as an attack on blacks as opposed to an attempt to allay fears of Asian mass-immigration, has effectively obstructed Asian-Americans access to a vast and autonomous historical experience.

In short, I criticize what I perceive to be an intellectually lazy and vacuous shirking of the responsibility to legitimize an autonomous Asian-American experiential narrative - that includes race - and instead take a position behind African-Americans from which Asians can safely throw rocks at whitey without having to independently address the derogatory racialization of Asians that has been the historical basis for white supremacy since its inception in Classical Greece. I was going to leave it alone but the internet would not let me!

I came across a Tumblr blog that linked a couple of twitter posts by a guy name Alex Ngo (who is a journalist, I believe) that illustrates in one-hundred-and-forty words or less just how damaging intellectual laziness regarding the Asian-american narrative can be.

Here are the tweets....



The interesting thing about Twitter is that it forces users to distill their thoughts down to a few key words and concepts that often hints at a more sophisticated underlying social, or political zeitgeist. Such intellectually supported tweets can elicit immense response capable of galvanizing the public to action. Tweets deriving from a far weaker intellectual foundation, on the other hand, elicit little more than an eye-roll. Thus, if the underlying zeitgeist shows a paucity of intellectual depth, then this will be reflected in tweets on the subject. The above tweets are examples of the latter.

If it is incorrect to speak '"beyond the black/white' in relation to anything Asian-Americans", then the very concept of Asian and Asian-American has no reason to exist. By extension, any and all endeavours of such an entity have no purpose or meaning. Asian-American movies, literature, art, as well as contributions to science, politics, and philosophy are all rendered non-existent because much of this endeavour exists and takes place well outside of the artificial and hopelessly simplistic limitations imposed by the black/white framework.

This is particularly significant in light of the notion of diversity and the exclusion of Asian-Americans from considerations thereof. One of the arguments of diversity advocates is that it is necessary as a means to prepare today's generations for the increasingly globalized economy of the future where they will be required to compete in a diverse environment. How strange it is that in a world where the combined population of South, East and Southeast Asia approaches four billion (over half of the world's population) the diversity theory that claims to prepare Americans for what amounts to a world chock-full of Asians, would actually exclude this key demographic from the diversity dialogue.

Asian-American advocates who insist on maintaining the narrow black/white framework as a means to do who knows what for blacks and Asians, merely do a disservice to their own diversity goals. What exactly are such convoluted notions supposed to teach us about the place of Asians in the world if we insist on invisibility as a strategy and propose that exclusion from diversity considerations are acceptable? Are we to send our diversity-empowered future generations out into a global marketplace where the majority of people have Asiatic faces with the idea that their stories and experiences are insignificant or secondary? For those who claim to be fighting white-supremacy that is a remarkably western-centric point of view.

Clearly, if diversity advocates are genuinely hoping to prepare Americans for the global marketplace, we have to increase the visibility of, and mainstream, the Asian-American experience as an autonomous and unique experience in its own right in order to familiarize the American public with ways to successfully negotiate a world that is full of Asians. But, it is the second tweet above that illustrates the poor reasoning fostered by the simplistic assertion of the primacy of the black/white framework.

Simply put, there is no logical reason to presume that a call for less invisibility for the Asian-American narrative is in any way in conflict with anti-anti-blackness activism. This is merely an arbitrary dichotomy that is false and makes no logical sense. If Asian-Americans cannot fathom a way for an outspoken, autonomous, and visible, Asian-American experiential narrative to co-exist with social justice activism, then that merely speaks of the limitations in their thinking and does not reflect any real conflict of interests. It is worth noting that despite all of the impassioned claims that Asian-American anti-anti-blackness reactivists have made about the need to forego any consideration of an independent Asian-American voice, none have ever bothered to explain why such a dichotomy is mutually destructive. We are simply told to believe that an autonomous Asian-American narrative harms blackness, so shut up and fall in line. At least provide us the courtesy of explaining such assertions, otherwise shut up.

The fact is, that there is already an Asian-American experience that is independent of the black/white framework in spite of the best efforts of Asian-America's racial justice reactivists to ensure that such an experience remains marginalized. If there are some who wish to diminish, banish, or ignore this experience, then let them step aside and permit those who find value in the rich history of Asian-American endeavour to speak for the community.

I see absolutely no conflict or obstacle in seeking to explore the Asian-American experience as an autonomous endeavour and the fight for social justice. That is merely a bizarre notion entirely made up by social justice activists for some reason that I cannot even begin to understand or even consider worth the effort of trying to understand. It is that absurd.

10 comments:

  1. Asian activism will never help Asians as long as the Asian activists derive all of their power from non-Asian liberals and at best similar Asian activists.

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  2. In the days of slavery, there were both house negroes and field negroes. We have a similar situation, except our masters are now both white and black. The Asian flavor of the house negro seeks to curry favor with the politically powerful black community. They get the best of both worlds. They get to join a powerful group that is popular with liberals, and they get to assuage their guilt in betraying their own community by fighting against the white establishment. However there is a catch. At no point should the black community be considered allies. There is no quid pro quo. There are exceptions where there is some support for Asian issues, but by and large almost all Asian issues are ignored by both the black and white communities, and sadly, by Asian communities as well. But quite simply, many have never heard of many of these issues. They don't exactly make headline news. As far as I know, no major media conglomerates are owned by anybody other than wealthy Jewish white men. It gets a lot more complicated.

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    1. I actually think that there is nothing implicitly wrong with seeking allies with other groups, I just think that the way that many Asian-American progressives go about it is subservient and marginalizing for Asians and seems more self-serving than anything else.

      They get to further their careers or increase their blog readership at the expense of Asian visibility. It's similar to Asian actors who hope to further their careers by playing racially demeaning roles - they get a pay-off, but also legitimize racial stereotyping.

      Of course, no one respects people who shit on their own.

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  3. These "activists" are nothing but walking ironies. Just imagine the blacks mistakens them for other Asians and robs them blind. Yeah, that laugh you hear from coast to coast would probably be mine. ^" except our masters are now both white and black" black guy exposed.

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    Replies
    1. You're just as bad, if not worse, than the people you're criticizing.

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  4. Also, framing race relations in a solely black-white paradigm serves to effectively marginalize Asian Americans, which is no doubt the whole idea in the first place.

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  5. Saying that the binary "black and white" false dichotomy is legitimate is basically ignoring/erasing the Native American experience, the Asian experience and the Hispanic experience(both of which share much in common in the USA, especially when it comes to being immigrants learning to adapt to American culture). Anyhow, it's ridiculous.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous

      Good point. But it is not only ridiculous, it's intellectually lazy and ultimately damaging.

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    2. It was pretty silly that the whole SCA5 affirmative action crap flinging in the AA activist-sphere was focused on blacks when California has less blacks than the national average but way way more Hispanics, especially when many of these Asians are from California too. Conservative or liberal, they all just parrot the narrative they've been taught.

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  6. Asian-American activism has largely been dominated by Asian women married to white men. Now their kids are growing up, and extremely angry and militant. Enraged at racist society but also at their own parents. The revolt of Eurasian sons against their white dads and asian moms, is a new development.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/hapas/

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