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?