Wednesday, August 24, 2016

John Cho....

....bastard extraordinaire?

There was a recent online "action" carried out by a hardy band of Asian progressives and feminists whose aim was to bring attention to themselves  the phenomenon of toxic masculinity amongst Asian-American men. As reported in the Daily Dot a "twitter chat" was arranged on the subjects of toxic masculinity, patriarchy, and ....wait for it.......wait for it......our old friend Asian male misogyny. You can read the actual twitter thread in its full glory, here.

The first thing I noticed was how childish and immature the whole dialogue was - they came across like thirteen year-olds gossiping about the unpopular students in their geography class. Although several tweets used the word "discussion" to describe the event, the word "gossip" is the more appropriate word to use here for what amounts to little more than a gossipy venting session for a movement that is so irrelevant that it is only afforded a voice in the wider political arena when it attacks other Asians.

Having utilized their powers to attack and marginalize the already highly marginalized low-English proficiency, and isolated Asian FOBs, the empowered-by-their-appropriation-of-mainstream-racist-anti-Asian-strategies Asian progressive has now turned his/her attention to another Asian group long deemed embarrassing to their lifestyles; the successful Asian-American man.

In keeping with their strategy of simply making things up about Asians - which is eerily similar to the way white racism creates Asian stereotypes - the gossipy venting "townhall" simply cast aspersions on Asian men using in-group language references to spew out half-baked slogans with little of substance to actually carry meaningful dialogue.

Hilariously, the inspiration for this latest outburst of Asian progressive anti-Asian racism came about because of a casual comment made by John Cho during an interview with Vulture magazine.

As the Daily Dot reports.......
According to organizer Mark Tseng Putterman, the inspiration from the hashtag came from an interview with actor John Cho in Vulture last month, in which he said, "Asian men...suffer more than Asian women,” to which the organization responded with some tongue-in-cheek memes about Asian masculinity. 
Putterman is an organizer? Incredible. But....this is the full context of what Cho said....
My wife and I were worried when we had our firstborn, about how he was going to think of himself in a mostly white neighborhood. Particularly Asian men, I feel, we suffer more than Asian women, because we're told we're not worth anything in general. We thought casually about moving to an Asian-heavy neighborhood. And I'm glad we didn't, because there are a lot of drawbacks to that too.
So, what John Cho relates here is a very personal and profound concern for his son's future sense of identity and well-being - in a culture that denigrates Asian males - that may even, perhaps, reflect some painful personal experience in his own past. 

The response from our self-righteous, moral teachers in Asian progressivism? 


Yes, they mocked a guy with derogatory, racist memes about Asian masculinity for expressing a concern that he has for the well-being of his own kid. Need I say more? This is what Asian progressivism has come to represent; a movement whose activism works to silence the full diversity of the Asian-American experience. What a missed opportunity to open a meaningful dialogue.

The Daily Dot article posts some gems of Asian progressive stupidity. Kim Tran claims....
We need to claim Daniel Holtzclaw as evidence mysogynoir is a part of Asian America
This is stupid for a couple of reasons. Firstly, how John Cho's words relate to Daniel Holtzclaw is a mystery. Holtzclaw was a half-Japanese police officer convicted of a series of sexual assaults on black women, John Cho is an actor who has committed no crimes as far as I know. Apparently, Kim Tran feels there is a connection somewhere - maybe the fact that they both have Asian genetic material? Which leads nicely to the second point of stupidity.

Why is Holtzclaw "Asian"? Is it his genetics? Is it his cultural upbringing? Is it his epicanthic folds? Is it a preference for raw seafood? This question is never answered in this (according to organizer Putterman) "critical conversation about the ways that Asian-American men perpetuate misogyny."  

Race - according to consensus - is merely a social construction, and (also according to consensus), to assert race based on genetics is racist, whilst racially defining people according to social construction is also racist. No matter how you slice it, Tran has utilized white supremacist racial thinking to assert her claims.

It gets funnier. "Wu" says...
can we talk about how antiblackness is embedded in the "misogylinity" of cis asian men
Excuse me? John Cho is worried about his kid - how did the conversation go from that to the above? Without knowing it, John Cho's concern about his kid makes him a racist, sexist bastard.

Thankfully, we have organizer Mark Tseng Putterman to organize our thoughts....
Also so much anti-blackness amongst #HyperMasculAZNs, coopting stereotypes of Black male aggression and masculinity (e.g. Eddie Huang)
...with a (somewhat cowardly) passive-aggressive attack on black hip-hop culture through criticism of the much less dangerous Asian celeb. I say less dangerous, but Eddie Huang looks like the kinda crazy that you don't want to get messed up in. I'm also at a loss for why Huang is so hated by Asian progressives. Must be jealousy.

Here's another by Juliet Shen...
Violence and abuse becomes normalized as "That's just how Korean/Chinese/Vietnamese/etc guys are". But WHY?
That's why Asian men - like John Cho - agonize over the mental well-being of their sons. His comment plays directly into the question of what makes men (or women, if we are to be honest) into hyper-aggressive tools. How about addressing his point, instead of changing the subject and making random attacks on random Asian men?

But irony can be ironic sometimes. According to Julie Ae Kim....
toxic masculinity & misogyny is also much about the silencing of and dismissal of AAPI women, even in Asian am spaces 
That's ironic! John Cho made a point about the mental well-being of Asian boys who live in a culture that devalues their achievements and this should have led to an inclusive discussion since the apparent crisis of identity that Cho alludes to is, surely, a fundamental aspect of unhealthy identity formation? Instead, his concern has been silenced and dismissed, even in Asian-American spaces. These Asian progressives are, apparently, too self-involved to actually parse Cho's words.

As I read more of these wannabes' snide gripes, I came to realize that what we have here are a bunch of nobodies shitting on Asians who have achieved far more success than they could ever hope to attain. Just who are these people? Just how exactly have they advanced the Asian-American cause? If they have accomplished anything for Asian-American empowerment, it has to be the best kept secret in all of Asian-America.

Mark Tseng Putterman has accomplished "organizing", and how such characters as Kim Tran, Julie Sheng, Julie Ae Kim, and "wu", have accomplished any kind of advancement for Asian-America is not immediately clear. Bitching about people who have accomplished more than you does not advance Asians, nor is it in and of itself, an accomplishment. And this is the crux of the problem here.

By comparison, John Cho and Eddie Huang, by virtue of their achievements, have advanced Asian-Americans in the culture of America by light-years. Huang has written best-selling books that have inspired a television series - which in turn provided opportunities for more Asian-Americans to get a high-profile toehold in the acting profession where they are still largely discriminated against. Even before that, Huang was a cutting-edge chef and a media celebrity, whose extroverted personality probably encouraged more Asians to push the boundaries of limiting stereotypes than snide progressives ever could.

John Cho is a talented actor whose abilities are horribly underrated. But his performances even in canceled television shows and bit parts in movies have given hope not only to other Asian actors who sense a dramatic shift about to take place in the industry, but to many Asian-Americans who see his success as an indication that the days of dehumanizing stereotypes may be waning. He has demonstrated that Asians can have a career in entertainment without taking racially demeaning roles, and it's simply a matter of staying true to your integrity.

In short, these two Asian men who have come to be the focus of much hatred and hostility from Asian progressives have probably done more to advance Asian-America than all that twitter whining could ever hope to achieve. Most frightening of all is that these wannabes so easily conceive of Huang and Cho as being similar in kind to murderers like Elliot Roger and serial rapists like Daniel Holtzclaw. Asian progressives are either very stupid or simply spiteful and envious of Asian men who have achieved more than they.

What this twitter town hall has confirmed for me is that Asian progressivism is far more reactionary than even I thought. In their attempts to outdo each other's snideness and self-righteousness, they completely missed the opportunity to address the most important point raised by John Cho.

Here's what they avoided talking about.....
I've seen many instances where we’re seen as a little less than human, or maybe a little more than human — like ultrahuman, rather than subhuman. What is wrong with film representation? Some of it is mechanical, surprisingly. I've thought about why Asian stars — from Asia, I mean — look so much better in their Asian films than they do in their American films, and now I can answer that to some extent. There's an eye, and it's not a malicious eye, which is a way that the people working the camera and behind the scenes view us. And then they process it and they put it on film. And it's not quite human. Whereas Asian films, they are considered fully human. Fully heroic, fully comic, fully lovely, fully sad, whatever it is. And it's this combination of lighting, makeup, and costume.
Cho is referencing an idea that anyone who is truly awake in Asian-America is aware of, and is an idea that I have alluded to several times; a deeply ingrained mainstream racialized cultural conditioning that colours perceptions by fostering a, perhaps unconscious, imposition of racialized preconceptions on mainstream interactions with Asians. In other words, mainstream interactions with Asians occur through an unconscious filter that retards normal human responses towards, and understanding of, them. Maybe it is a kind of deep-rooted skepticism, or disbelief that Asians can and do possess human qualities - a skepticism that may result in anything from media portrayals that lack conviction or believability, to a lack of trust in an Asian man's ability to be a leader in industry or any other field.

Unsurprisingly, Asian progressives exhibited the same tone-deaf reactions in their twitter town hall. The skeptical snideness that diminishes the achievements of successful Asian men, the conditioning that presumes Asian misogyny to explain away Asian men's behaviour, and the shrill, almost xenophobic inability to see nuance and humanity in Asian men's drives, all point to a "way of seeing" Asian men that is largely informed and empowered by mainstream racist conditioning.

Once again, Asian progressives show their commitment to upholding white supremacy by adopting its precepts and attitude.