It's been a good few years since white/Asian mixed-race mass-murderer, Eliot Roger, went on a killing spree that resulted in the deaths of six people. Known as the Isla Vista killings, the tragedy exposed some of the deep-rooted schisms that have long divided Asian-Americans. Despite the fact that Roger had disdain for Asian men, the incident was co-opted by some Asian feminists who pushed the assertion of an implicit sickness with "Asian masculinity" as one of the causative factors for his actions
In the real world, Roger's primary role model for masculinity was his Caucasian father, and his thoughts on Asian masculinity were derisive. How these factors turned Roger into an example of Asian male misogyny is a mystery.
What became clear in the aftermath of the case is that Roger's racist attitudes towards Asian men were downplayed by both the mainstream, and our own largely, useless, twitter/blogger Asian "activists". This is unsurprising as I have always maintained that Asian progressive activism seeks to stifle Asian progress, limit race dialogue to a black/white binary, and stigmatize Asian men as implicitly racist upholders of white supremacy. No wonder mainstream America is empowered to maintain its racist representations of Asian men since even our own activists obfuscate the facts to push an agenda.
It came as no surprise to me, then, when an article recently appeared in the journal of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that defined Eliot Roger as the first "Alt-Right" killer whose actions were driven by an adherence to white nationalist ideology. The SPLC is a legal organization, started in the early nineteen-seventies, that advocates for victims of racial prejudice. One of its tasks is the monitoring of hate groups and extremists. Despite its credentials as a bulwark against hate crimes, the SPLC's report on Roger's "Alt-Right" leanings is, ironically, itself an example how liberals and leftists incubate anti-Asian attitudes.
Of course, I did not personally know Eliot Roger. I never met him, and I have no idea what it feels like to have the kind of embarrassment and shame about being Asian that he apparently had. I have no comprehension of Roger's hatred for other Asian men, nor have I had difficulty interacting with the opposite sex as Roger is reported to have experienced. Despite all of this, I know Roger very well because I know what it is like to be an Asian man whose cultural identity is erased from the society you live in.
Roger would have grown up in an American cultural setting in which Asian men are depicted as pathetic losers who fail at romance due to our physical repulsiveness, and fail as men because of mental and physical weaknesses. Asian men almost always lose - because we are the bad guys - and if we win, it is mostly as peripheral characters in a team of much stronger white men. At every turn, Roger would have been met with negative portrayals of Asian men. Television, film, literature, news media and even children's books would have shown Asian men in extremely negative ways. If not as absurd caricatures, then as the subject of xenophobic white fantasies of brutal beatings or mass killings of Asian enemies.
Roger, like all Asian men, lived in a culture in which he was taught through casual media racism that being an Asian man made you worthy entirely of violent aggression or relentless mockery. It is, largely, the left-leaning liberal media that propagates this dehumanizing anti-Asian male racism, although some of these negative portrayals would have originated with other Asian-Americans whose creative output marginalizes Asian men or offhandedly demeans them.
The liberal SPLC's report takes none of this into account. In fact, it completely erases this experience by, literally, white-washing Roger so that his motivations can be neatly shoehorned into the umbrella of the black/white race dichotomy, and the left/right narrative. It says this about Roger...
But Atchison wasn’t the first to fit the profile of alt-right killer—that morbid milestone belongs to Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who in 2014 killed seven in Isla Vista, California, after uploading a sprawling manifesto filled with hatred of young women and interracial couples...Including Rodger’s murderous rampage there have been at least 13 alt-right related fatal episodes...It goes on....
Rodger left behind a sprawling 107,000-word manifesto titled, “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger,” which contained passages lamenting his inability to find a girlfriend, expressing extreme misogyny and various racist positions including disgust for interracial couples (despite the fact that he was multi-racial himself).....“How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself,” Rodger wrote. “I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves.”We should recall that Roger stabbed his three Asian male roommates to death and mutilated their bodies in an act of savage hatred, railed against "ugly" Asian men being with white girls, and saw himself as superior to full-blooded Asian men. Yet, the SPLC report saw fit to view Roger's racism solely from the perspective of his anti-black tirades. What the SPLC has done is to whitewash the anti-Asian racism Roger would have been subject to, and blackwash his racism so that his actions can be neatly defined in terms of the black/white dichotomy. The experiences of anti-Asian media racism that may have informed Roger's alienation and fueled his hatred of Asian men have been erased by the SPLC.
In its zeal to paint Roger as just another killer driven by white nationalist fervour, the SPLC has absolved liberal racism of its culpability in creating the monster that Roger became. In fact, I would suggest that Roger found himself pushed to the fringes of society - and into the sphere of white nationalism - precisely because casual liberal media racism denies Asian men a positive American cultural identity. There was no celebrated and beloved cultural Asian-American figure that Roger could look to and say to himself, "that is the Asian-American who best represents my aspirations, inspiration, and character". Asian men don't fit into America's cultural narratives except, largely, in the most demeaning and dehumanizing ways. Perhaps the casual violence that the liberal media likes to depict being inflicted on Asian men fueled Roger's violent fantasies - his mutilation of his three Asian roommates merely mirrors pervasive film and television images of Asian men being brutally killed en masse by white heroes.
Roger's case raises some difficult questions about how media representation of Asian men affects our community. Some Asian-American anti-blackness reactivists chide their own community for over-inflating the issue of poor media representation. Yet, the Isla Vista killings raises the intriguing possibility of a line of causation between racist stereotypes of Asian men, and an act of violence in society. If media racism is creating a sociocultural environment in which Asian men are marginalized and alienated to the point of murderous nihilism, then that is surely a major social issue?
By ignoring Roger's hatred of Asians the SPLC renders it invisible, diminishes its significance, and, in the process, is complicit in the propagation of a dismissive attitude towards casual anti-Asian racism. Yet, the organization defines a hate group as follows....
The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group as an organization that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.This definition describes the liberal media - particularly the liberal "creative"media - that routinely, and casually produces depictions of Asian men that dehumanize, and malign us for our supposed immutable characteristics. If Eliot Roger hated Asian men to the point of murder, it is because our society and culture fosters such attitudes. Roger shows that cultural emasculation of Asian men can have tragic real world consequences.
The SPLC suggests that he was merely seduced by white nationalism. Asian progressive activists and feminists suggest that he was the product of a toxic masculinity unique to Asian-American men. Both groups ignore the likelihood that gendered, Asian male targeted media racism alienated him to such a point that he grew to hate being part Asian and chose to adopt the most extreme white nationalist culture. There was simply no cultural narrative that he would have found sympathetic to his racial background, so he chose one that would. Ironically, he seemed to have found more acceptance for his Asian-ness amongst a bunch of racist losers that would have done from mainstream culture. That, to me, is indicative of a major social ill.