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.