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? 

Mockery.

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.

8 comments:

  1. Haha! Ben, someone on my blog just linked this. Glad I caught it early. Our blog posts are similar:

    http://www.bigwowo.com/2016/08/hearts-not-minds/

    But I think you nailed it in your very first sentence when you talk about "progressives" bringing attention to themselves. The problem with them...is that it's all about them. They try to force their ideas on others through insults,threats, and illogical diatribes, but they more often than not speak without listening or observing what's really going on in the world. It's the same issue with all of these social justice warriors. There's no compromise, no need to problem-solve, no desire to actually do the hard work of finding solutions. It's all about drawing attention to themselves and making sure that no protected minority ever has to suffer the horrors of personal responsibility.

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    1. Hey Byron!

      Yeah, I think we are on the same page here. I think of these guys as "seagulls" - they swoop down from above, shit on random things, then soar away leaving other people to clean up the mess they have made.

      There's no process, rhyme or reason to their screeds, and they routinely contradict themselves within the same screed.

      Sadly, the media is giving these guys the platform to spew their bigotry under the guise of "civil rights activism".

      Unsurprisingly, no one questions their assertions because these progs usually attack other Asians, and no one can be bothered with it.

      Delete
  2. I've got a new theory that I've been commenting on. I was wondering about Constance Wu. Now I think you and I probably agree that MOST Asian Americans won't get on board behind an Asian female activist married to or dating a White guy. It's not that people are against that; it's just that that is ALL they ever see. If all environmentalist leaders drove Hummers, few people would get excited about environmentalism. So why are the SJW's trying so hard to convince people to get on board behind Constance, when it's clearly not something they're entirely comfortable embracing?

    I think it has to do with what turns them on. For us and most other people, it's the story. We want the story. We want the image. For them, I think they just want to fight. They want a reason to crybully, threaten, and intimidate people into submission. That's where they best thrive. The further they pull you down, the happier they are because, hey, it shows they're powerful enough to pull you down.

    I'll even go a step further. I think they're happier with Constance dating a White guy. It means there's more to fight about.

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    1. No one wants to acknowledge that Asian female high outmarriage rates might reflect an implicit bias against Asian men due to racial stereotypes.

      Wu's point about whitewashing is valid, but when she walks down the red carpet with a white dude, then her credibility goes out the window. What will come to mind is "see, Asian guys don't measure up, that's why she's with a white dude".

      That's not to say that she is some brainwashed zombie who is craving white dudes, it just means that anyone (not just Asian men) will look at who she is intimate with and roll their eyes even though she is being genuine with her activism.

      Wu should have been sensitive to that and perhaps chosen a different approach or phrasing that would have been more amenable to the various "factions" within the community.

      I think that there is a general problem with how high profile Asian activism expresses itself - it often seems as though there is a sloppiness of thought and word that diminishes its effectiveness.

      Delete
  3. Just think:

    A brief comment by John Cho about raising his son and how he feels that "Asian men ... we suffer more than Asian women, because we're told we're not worth anything in general" has set off a social media hissy fit among some Asian American (cough) progressives and their White "alternative" media buddies.

    Their overreaction to Cho's comment is certainly revealing ... about THEMSELVES, rather than the social issues that they are putatively concerned about.

    You have to wonder what is *really* motivating this overreaction.

    I doubt it has much to do with toxic masculinity, misogyny, "mysognoir," antiblackness, or the "misogylinity" of cis asian men.

    What it's really about: Policing the socially acceptable boundaries of Asian American masculinity according to mainstream American society.

    P.S. What is with all jargon and invented phrases that these "activists" like to use? It's like they invented their very own in-group NewSpeak. Perhaps too much time cloistered in one's Safe Space will do that to you.

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    1. Anonymous

      Hahaha. Good points.

      No one listens to these Asian progs except when they attack other Asians, then, no surprise, the white media lavishes them with attention.

      that's why their anti-Asian racism has become progressively more and more vitriolic - that's what attracts the white media (and the dreamy white guys that go along with it!)

      But as I said in the post, they haven't actually done anything of note that has advanced the Asian-American voice.

      On the one hand they function as defenders of white supremacy by constantly diverting attention away from it, on the other they promote anti-Asian racism with their continual vicious screeds.

      In other words, they activists for the status quo.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Hey tim

      Welcome and thanks for your comment!

      Delete