Saturday, February 3, 2018

Whoops They Did It Again!

Same Ole Same Ole.

Yes, it has happened again! Asian-America has experienced yet another Groundhog Day moment in which we are once again treated to what amounts to an Asian-American progressive deflection of attention away from white supremacist violence onto an imagined culpability of Asian immigrants.

Following the events in Charlottesville last year, in which a white-supremacist rammed his car into a crowd of left wing protesters, killing one of them, I knew that it would only be a matter of days before an Asian progressive supporter of white supremacy would show up, making the world safe for white nationalism.

Of course, a mainstream liberal publication provides the platform for this transparent deflection of attention away from white racism. Writing in the Huffington Post, apparently progressive, and possible useful idiot, Jezzika Chung penned this  remarkable piece that seems to play on xenophobic suspicions of incomprehensible Asian languages spreading malign ideas to the detriment of white liberalism.

The piece starts as follows...
Anti-blackness in the Asian American community is not a discreet, whispered sentiment. It’s a blatant belief that’s been engrained into many immigrant minds —  something force fed to us as children of immigrants as we attempt to integrate into American culture, where anti-blackness and white supremacy ideals are also rampant.
This is news to me. But, maybe the piece will provide substantial evidence for this dramatic claim? Let's see....
When Asian immigrants leave their home countries to come to America, often to escape poverty or tyrannical regimes, they’re often faced with the concept of race for the first time. 
Really? During the pro-Peter Liang protests by Chinese immigrants, they seemed to show a far more nuanced comprehension of America's racial issues than the "woke" progressives who maligned them. Well, maybe the piece will provide substantial evidence for this dramatic claim? Let's see....
Growing up, I often attributed my mom’s erratic behaviors to her being naive and gullible. She treated articles she read as holy scripture, shunning anything that was forbidden by the obscure newspapers she got at the Korean market. Many times, the literature she read perpetuated problematic ideas of other minorities, especially black people. As I became older, I realized that this impressionable mindset comes from an intense desire to survive in a country that functions on rules and customs unfamiliar to the ones in their former cultures.
Well, no, no evidence so far. Maybe I need to read some more? Hmmmm....
As Asian immigrants work toward building successes in a foreign environment, they begin taking cues from the people they see as most successful. Because America’s historical oppression of people of color, these people are usually white. To many Asian Americans, whiteness often becomes equated to success, and all the elements that have been conditioned to come with the paradigms of whiteness. 
Was that a bait and switch? Did Jezzika just set me up for an avalanche of new, never before seen evidence proving these dramatic claims, but then change the subject? I think, yes, that is exactly what happened.

Maybe it's obvious that taking "cues from people they see as most successful" in order to work towards success is implicitly anti-black? Not to me. There happen to be quite a few successful liberals that Asian immigrants could be taking cues from, yet Jezzika's article suggests that it is apparently primarily successful white racists that Asian immigrants choose to learn from. If this is true, it is a point that raises all kinds of awkward questions that require investigation. Of primary interest is, why are "anti-black" sentiments from successful, and apparently, racist, white Americans filtering through to Asian immigrants with poor English, rather than those values of successful white liberals that are so beloved of Asian progressives?

One clue to this dilemma might be gleaned from an industry that is one of the most unashamedly liberal bastions of whiteness: the film and television industry. Now since the entertainment industry seems to have one of the highest saturations of white liberals espousing white liberal values who are pervasively visible and accessible in propagating their views, one might expect that RACIST(!!!) and gullible Asian immigrants would to some large degree adopt these liberal values in their own lives. According to Jezzika and several other Asian progressives, this isn't the case. The question is why?

To me, the answer seems pretty straight forward. Asian immigrants are the minority that liberals - particularly Asian liberals - love to hate. Asian immigrants are the minority whom liberals have decided it is okay to hate, mock, ridicule, and deride in any number of ways. Accents, food, mannerisms, and racial characteristics are all fair game for the extremely influential - and largely liberal - media machine that is the film and television industry. What is it about these racist, anti-Asian attitudes that would inspire new Asian immigrants to adopt them? Thankfully, Asian immigrants don't seem to carry the same self-denigrating shame about themselves that Asian progressives exhibit.

Furthermore, Jezzika implies a lack of liberal reading material available to Asian immigrants in their native languages that could, perhaps, sway their thinking to a more liberal persuasion. The problem here is that, contrary to the apparent sentiments of Asian progressives, Asian immigrants are not stupid, and do not lack agency. Most likely, they, like most human beings (they are human after all, aren't they?) have the capacity to recognize when they are being held in low esteem by the people they are being urged to learn moral lessons from about racial tolerance.

After all, why would anyone waste their time reading materials from people whose most high profile, and self-righteous, representatives are complicit in a culture of anti-Asianism? It could well be that Asian immigrants are gravitating to the side of the political spectrum that appears slightly less hypocritical about race and tolerance. Of course, if there is a lack of liberal reading materials available to Asian immigrants in their own language, it could simply mean that liberals have no interest in reaching out to Asian immigrants. If the Right is reaching out to Asians, but the Left is ignoring them, even as the liberal media machine mocks them, is it any surprise that Asian immigrants might choose the options that appears to be the friendlier face?

Of course, this all presumes that there actually is a significant pattern of behaviour amongst Asian immigrants that veers towards "anti-blackness". These claims are never reasonably substantiated by grandstanding Asian  progressives.

In short, Jezzika has written a hit piece in which she targets Asian immigrants who will probably never be given a chance in a liberal publication to answer any accusations leveled at them. She has made completely unsubstantiated claims about racist attitudes within an entire immigrant community, has implied a studied knowledge of deep psychological states of Asian immigrants, most of whom she cannot possibly know, and has asserted a knowledge of a common pattern of behvaviour and motivation amongst a diverse number of individuals. All of this based on the alleged actions of her mother and not on any reasonable study carried out under customary standards of academic rigour.

In effect, Jezzika has dehumanized Asian immigrants, and represented them as unthinking followers of a powerful outside stimulus, incapable of reasoning to the contrary, or learning directly from their environment, and who are all driven by exactly the same goals.

It doesn't take a genius to notice the pattern and timing that is going on here. As I have written before, every single time there have been high-profile incidences of anti-black racism perpetrated by white Americans, the liberal media always produces an Asian progressive who will deflect the conversation away from white racism and onto alleged racism in Asian-American communities. It is one of the few opportunities that Asians are afforded for  mainstream media exposure, and most often, it is used to attack Asian immigrants.

Perhaps Asian progressives need to take note of this and stop providing the escape route for American racism in the popular media? This is by and far a more potent assistance for the perpetuation of white supremacy than any anonymous, broken English Asian immigrant could ever provide. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

White Racists, Asian Women.

Asian Women's Complicity In Anti-Blackness

The human psyche is an amazing thing - the more reality slaps you in the face with facts that challenge your worldview, the more intellectual back-flips you perform to avoid recognizing it. A great example of this can be found in an article that appeared in the New York Times a few days ago. Written by freelance journalist, Audrea Lim, the piece seems to explore every angle of its subject, except for the actual crux of the issue.

Titled "The Alt-Right’s Asian Fetish", the article explores the explosive and bizarre niche subject of white supremacist men and their fetish for Asian women. The rambling piece demonstrates the chimeric nature of Asian progressive thought and perfectly illustrates how Asian progressives talk a lot but say very little.

Describing alt-right, white nationalists as "confused", Lim goes on to explain away their attraction for Asian women by citing the two catch-all phenomena that progressives use to define the Asian experience: the model minority myth and the subservience and hypersexualization of Asian women. With the former, Lim suggests - without evidence - that model minority assimilation has made Asians acceptable to white racial purists, even though there is little evidence of a pattern in which white people who embrace the model minority stereotype are also likely to be racist towards other minorities.

What Lim is trying to say with the latter argument is unclear - she never really shows how stereotypes of Asian women's subservience and hypersexualization relates to the issue at all. Most likely, Lim is merely trying to suggest that Asian women who choose complicity in white nationalism are actually victims. More on that later.

The main issue here is that if Lim has to dredge up and regurgitate the model minority myth myth and hypersexualization of Asian women to explain white supremacist thought and action, then she has most likely not understood the meaning of "white supremacy". At its most simple, white supremacy is the belief that white people are superior such that they have the right to dominance over other races. That in itself explains why there is no confusion in white supremacists having an Asian fetish - it is right because white is right. Thus, white supremacists' Asian fetish can most appropriately be explained by the ideology of white supremacy itself, not by some fanciful allusion to Asian racial stereotypes. No racial myths about Asian need apply here.

Where Lim goes even more horribly awry is that she fails to ask the most important question of all: why are Asian women choosing to partner with racists? Why are they choosing complicity in white nationalism and anti-blackness?

Lim deals with this awkward fact by ignoring it. Rather, she implies that Asian women who support white supremacists are somehow victims who just can't make the right choices for all the confusing things that society believes about them. Implying a lack of agency on the part of Asian women, Lim infantilizes them - they simply can't act right because it's just too hard to make a decent moral choice about a dreamy white supremacist and their oh, so forceful racial theories. Lim seems to view Asian women as confused bimbos who can't distinguish a racist from a white Silicon valley tech nerd.

Oddly enough, infantilization of non-whites was one of the core concepts of white supremacist thought that justified slavery and colonialism. It's hard to argue against white supremacy when you seem to be reinforcing their core beliefs.

At least Lim did not try to blame Asian men and their patriarchal cultures for producing women too dumb - or morally bankrupt - to understand the ramifications of racist thought. But, maybe the problem is that Asian women that partner white supremacists are seldom held accountable for their choices by other Asian women. Lim certainly doesn't seem to think they are accountable, and I'm yet to see any of the usual Asian twitter progressives issuing even perfunctory condemnation of said women. What we are witnessing here is Asian female privilege in action in which, just like white men, they are afforded every possible excuse to justify racist behaviour.

No other minority demographic is afforded this privilege. The uncomfortable truth here is that white nationalists pursue and attain Asian female partners simply because they know they can, and that there are some Asian women who are very willing to partner white racists. There's no mystery about it.

Monday, December 18, 2017

YouTube Creators for Change: Natalie Tran | White Male Asian Female

A Missed Opportunity.

There is a YouTube video by Australian YouTube star, Natalie Tran, that has been making the rounds in Asian cyberspace recently in which she exposed the cyber hate that she receives due to her being in a relationship with a white man.

Here's the video.....


Although Tran's documentary is certainly well-intentioned, and has received some considerable praise, I can't help but feel disappointed.

At the beginning of the documentary Tran shows us some examples of the abusive comments she receives, and declares that ...
...just to add salt to the wound, a lot of these comments come from fellow Asians.....these comments are pretty common. A lot of other Asian women who date Caucasian men, and have some kind of presence online, also receive a lot of these comments as well.....
Neither of these points sit well. The second point is problematic because the implication is that Asian women are somehow uniquely afflicted by this kind of cyber bullying. In fact, there is ample documented evidence that all but proves that any woman of any race with an online presence who dates interracially will be targeted because of it. Plus, because the internet can be anonymous, it is almost impossible to actually identify anyone who posts comments on any site, so we generally have no way of knowing if the people leaving hate comments are actually Asian.

Tran's first point is more intriguing.

According to Tran "a lot" - but not all - of these hate comments are from "fellow" Asians, which makes me wonder why she chose to focus only on seeking answers to why Asians would be attacking her in this way? Is Asian opposition to her personal dating choices somehow a greater crime than, let's say, white opposition? If so, why? Sure, she feels that it is "adding insult to injury" when Asians attack her in this way, but why she feels this isn't clear. If she is suggesting that Asian hate comments are more hurtful because they are a betrayal of some kind of solidarity amongst Asians, then this merely exposes a huge irony that I will expound upon a little later.

During Tran's interview of Asian-American dating coach, JT Tran, he stated that Asian men leave hate comments because of their life-experiences. Although, overall, JT did a great job of describing some of the issues faced by Asian men, I would argue that there is more nuance to the relationship between Asian men's experiences and online vitriol - which I will discuss later. For most Asian men, the racism we experience, and the anger it fosters, motivates us to strive for success and accomplishment in many different areas of life and in no way drives us to become cyber-bullies. The point was overly simplistic, and merely reinforced the the stereotype of loser Asian guys leaving bitter comments on Asian websites.

More significantly, juxtaposing Tran's dating issues with the racism Asian men face creates an implicit relegation of Asian men's experiences to a mere sub-context of Asian female dating choices. The gender-specific racism that Asian men experience deserves to be a significant part of Asian-American thought and dialogue in its own right and not as something that gets spoken about only when it negatively affects Asian women's dating choices. Sadly, we just don't see many investigative documentaries that focus solely on anti-Asian male racism in America. This is the irony of Tran's apparent sense of betrayal that Asians are leaving hate comments: our "community" is a mere apparition when it comes to Asian men's experiences that only appears as part of an apologetic for interracial dating.

There is another irony that is worth noting: Asian men's complaints about culturally induced difficulties in dating are routinely dismissed - mostly by Asian progressives - yet, when an Asian woman experiences opposition to her dating choices, we get a documentary about it. This, perhaps, is another example of how "community" is a poor choice of word.

Furthermore, there is an implicit (although, perhaps, unintentional) shifting of the burden of responsibility to explain the actions of a few Asian commenters onto the entire community of Asian men. It does not logically follow that Asian men would be able to explain the online anti-social behaviour of other Asian men just because they are Asian men. It is the job and expertise of psychologists and behaviourists to explain behaviour and psychological states - particularly when it comes to anti-social behaviour on the internet. It was certainly appropriate to ask Asian men to describe Asian men's anger and experiences, but not to explain the behaviour of online trolls.

There are a number of factors that researchers have discovered contribute to online trolling. These include, a sense of no accountability due to anonymity, desensitization due to a general toxic internet environment, and a lack of consequences. Interestingly, other studies suggest that the general tone of other comments on an issue contributes to trolling behaviour. The ramifications of this highlights the most glaring problem with Tran's investigation: there is a cycle of vicious online commentary between Asian men and women that mutually demeans each other that Tran did not address.

The nature of the sometimes vitriolic dialogue between Asian men and women could be driving hate comments and might not necessarily be the result of anti-Asian male racism Asian men experience in their daily lives. It is mere presumption that those who leave hate comments are actually responding from a place personal pain -  they could merely be responding to anti-Asian male comments left by Asian women on an existing or previous thread .

Instead of an un-nuanced assertion that Asian men's anger about their experiences leads to trolling, it would be more accurate for Tran to have noticed that the hate comments she receives are merely part of an ongoing online dialogue between some Asian men and women that is mutually hateful. In other words, based on research, Asian men who troll Tran, are likely to be embroiled in the cycle of hate comments to which some Asian women seem happy to contribute. This means that the hate directed at Tran is merely a by-product of an online situation created by both Asian men and Asian women. It would have been nice for Tran to have investigated this - significant - aspect of the story. I would have liked to have seen Tran cornering Asian women and asking them why other Asian women leave hate comments about Asian men that contribute to the toxic environment of mutual distrust that is a major causative factor in the hate comments Tran receives about her relationship.

To summarize, Tran's documentary missed the point by not addressing the online environment of mutual disdain and hostility that has been created by some Asian women and men. The hate comments she receives seem to me to be most likely a reflection of this environment than an outcome of how Asian men are likely to react to anti-Asian male racism. By failing to seek answers to why some Asian women post anti-Asian male tweets, write demeaning news articles about Asian men, or generally show disdain for Asian men's humanity, Tran's documentary shed scant light on the issue she was investigating. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Worse In Asia...Because Asians.

The "Us Too" Affliction.....

It has come as no surprise to me that the recent revelations coming out of ultra-liberal, yet, unapologetically, anti-Asian Hollywood exposes a culture of abuse and sexual exploitation of both vulnerable women, and even men, over a period of decades. The man at the center of these revelations, producer, Harvey Weinstein, has been exposed as an alleged serial molester/rapist, who allegedly used his power and influence to make or break the careers of women in the industry to allegedly satisfy his allegedly perverse sexual appetite.

Yet, as I have come to expect, almost as soon as this story broke, up steps an Asian-American focused article that seemed to exist merely to imply that the West isn't that bad since - as we all know - Asia is always much worse. The article appears in an Asian-American online magazine called "Resonate" which purports to be a..., entertainment and blogging website that provides writers with a platform to discuss topics that strongly resonate amongst East Asian communities in the West. 

Also on the "About" page, you can find the following statements....
The representation of East Asians is unreasonably disproportionate within politics, the film industry, music industry and the media in general. For example, when East Asians are represented in the film, they are often represented through takeaway owners or martial artists.
‘Resonate’ actively encourages positive representation in the media by making your voice heard by delivering interesting articles from your own perspectives to actively engage wider audiences.
Instead of a piece that conforms to the stated aims of the publication to represent Asians more roundly, the article actually does the opposite and relies on old tropes of backward Asian deference to authority to racially stereotype Asians as passive. 

The Resonate article reports that.....
Asia’s “conservative attitude towards sex” and “fear of consequences” prevent abuse victims in the Asian entertainment business from coming forward.
..and that....
it was “highly unlikely” that Asian actresses “will come forward in the way that their Western counterparts have” like the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
To be fair, the piece is quoting an article from Variety, written by Hong Kong journalist, Vivienne Chow, which actually makes the melodramatic (but unsubstantiated) claim that Asian actresses don't come forward [like their western counterparts] for fear of jeopardizing the lives of their families. As if that was not enough, yet another article appeared, this time on the YOMYOMF site that also cited the same Variety piece. YOMYOMF is another Asian-American interest site that also wants to improve representation of Asians in the media

Whilst I don't challenge the claim that there may be some alleged abuses going on in the "Asian" film industry, the problem here is the Variety piece's assertion that western culture has somehow displayed a more open or healthy response to allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and the abuses he is alleged to have inflicted on several women. The truth seems to be a little more complicated.

As we have now learned, Wienstein's actions seem to have been well known throughout the industry, amid allegations that some of Hollywood's A-list actors, directors, and producers had knowledge of the issue but chose to do nothing about the alleged abuses, or even actively worked to prevent Weinstein from being exposed. Sadly, dozens of female and male victims were ignored, or, for reasons of not wanting to hurt their careers, remained largely silent.

Ironically, this fear of, and deference to, authority displayed by both victims of Weinstein and those around him who lied on his behalf, or those who simply knew what was going on but refused to speak up, runs counter to the image portrayed by Hollywood - and tightly interwoven into the fabric of western cultures - of the western maverick individual who lives to swim against the current and push against the grain. To be clear, I am not blaming the victims here in any way, and my point will become clearer later in the piece. Yet, it is a pity that the Variety "exposé" on the Asian film industry seems to do just that - imply fault on the part of Asian victims of sexual violence.

The point is that Asians have been stereotyped - by the media, especially Hollywood - for years as naturally subservient to authority. We are supposedly from cultures that produce weak individuals with hive mentalities who are unwilling to stand up to injustice, or authority, and who definitely would not speak up for themselves, or others, as individuals. Oh, we're money driven, too.

Sadly, the Variety article seems to play upon these tropes, implying a different cultural mentality that restricts the ability of Asians to speak out against injustice whilst also implying that a greater courage exists amongst westerners to do just that. It doesn't take an epic feat of observation to notice that this simply did not happen in Hollywood, and that there was clear deference to authority amongst those who were not victims but who knew, but also amongst the victims who, for whatever reason, chose to stay in line and not come forward.

The Variety article was written by a Hong Kong journalist who may not know, or care, about the nuances of racist stereotypes in the western media. The YOMYOMF and Resonate platforms that both carried the story should know better. With the stated aim of improving representation of Asians in our culture, it seems oddly cursory that there would be an uncritical re-posting of an article that plays upon racial stereotypes that form the basis for poor representation of Asians in the media. Surely, the first step in improving representation for Asians would be to be capable of recognizing the stereotypes that lie at the root of it?

A deeper issue here is that not only does the Variety piece play into negative stereotypes of Asians, it seems to uphold the positive, overbearing stereotype of Caucasians as dynamic, fearless, individuals who brazenly speak out against injustice. Staying silent for decades is not dynamic individualism, nor is it brazenly anti-authority. Again, YOMYOMF and Resonate should recognize this principle at work here as part of their stated aim to improve representation for Asians - racist stereotypes of Asians are merely the worst traits of Caucasians projected onto others. So far, I've seen few examples of brazen Hollywood individuals having made a stand against Weinstein - or the numerous others of his ilk. In fact, no one that knew came forward on behalf of the victims for decades even though it is alleged that his actions were well known throughout the industry. Hardly a shining example of maverick individualism pushing hard against authority.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hair Is Anti-Black.....

Jerry's Dreads.....

Just when I thought that Asian-American progressivism couldn't get more mundanely absurd, a new source of angst has arisen over Jeremy Lin's racial offense of Donning Dreadlocks While Asian. The kerfuffle started when former NBA player, Kenyon Martin, voiced racially insensitive criticism of Lin's dreadlocks, seeming to take offense that Lin had a "black" hairstyle.

Lin's response was classy....
Hey man, it’s all good. You definitely don’t have to like my hair and [are] definitely entitled to your opinion.......Actually I [am] legit grateful [for] you sharin it [to be honest]. At the end of the day, I appreciate that I have dreads and you have Chinese tattoos [because] I think its a sign of respect......And I think as minorities, the more that we appreciate each other’s cultures, the more we influence mainstream society. Thanks for everything you did for the Nets and hoops…had your poster up on my wall growin up.
Martin subsequently did some backtracking - of sorts - but true to form, and as predictable as an Asian anti-white supremacy, anti-anti-blackness crusader who only dates white dudes, a grandstanding Asian progressive gets pulled from the anus of the white liberal media to spout meaningless rhetoric that lacks any logical cohesion or consistent train of thought.

Published in the ever more seemingly anti-Asian, xenophobic, liberal news site, the Huffington Post, Asian, Jessica Prois, and a black colleague, Lily Workneh join forces to enlighten us on the wrongness of Lin's hair and his response to Martin's attack.

The article's gist can be summed up by the following excerpts...
Neither of their actions ― culturally appropriating tattoos or dreads ― were signs of “respect.".......Yet there’s a certain reality that belies the accord the two reached: There’s a false equivalency in saying Chinese tattoos on a black man and dreadlocks on a Chinese-American man are the same type of offense...........................But borrowing a cultural marker like dreadlocks, which embody both joy and struggle unique to the black community, is not the same as having a Chinese tattoo, a symbol that doesn’t carry the same weight of oppression. Yes, appropriating Chinese culture through a tattoo is exoticizing and insensitive. But the the act of putting on and taking off dreadlocks ― which are related to the systematic economic and social oppression of a racial group ― demonstrates a greater level of disregard. 
What we have here is a failure to present any logically reasoned points in an article that makes sweeping assertions without offering any meaningful supporting argument. There are a couple of points forming the premise of the piece, which I have read as follows.....

  1. The use of dreadlocks by a non-black person is more heinous than Chinese letter tattoos on a non-Chinese.
  2. Dreadlocks are an embodiment of a political and social struggle unique to the African-American community.

The first point reflects the paucity of critical thinking exhibited by modern-day progressives in general and Asian-American progressives in particular. The assertion that wearing dreadlocks or sporting Chinese character tattoos are "offenses" is itself problematic, but the claim of a qualitative hierarchy in the severity of these supposed offenses is merely a subjective opinion elevated to an objective fact by virtue of mere assertion. The second point is a textbook example of irony.

The claim that dreadlocks somehow "belong" to black culture is simply untrue and ignorant. This is what the article says....
Dreadlocks, which are essentially twisted locks of hair, are more than just a hairstyle. They have become symbolic of blackness and black culture and while some wear them for aesthetic reasons, others can have a deep cultural and spiritual connection to them. The style itself is widely worn by many Rastafarians, a religious movement bred in Jamaica, and, for some among them, it can represent a resistance to Western or Euro-centric hairstyles while honoring their roots. 
Although it is true that dreadlocks have "become symbolic of blackness and black culture", how this argument supports the notions that Lin committed some kind of offense is not clear, since the article doesn't explain its claim. A key word here is "become". A simple google search of the term "dreadlocks" would have revealed that members of human societies have been dreading their hair for millennia and that this style has never been exclusive to black people.

Statues, hundreds of years old, exist of Buddha sporting what look like cornrows and dreadlocks, and an easy to find Wikipedia entry provides a brief overview of the use, and significance of, dreadlocks across diverse cultures throughout the ages. Of course, African cultures have used dreadlocks for thousands of years and for longer than there has even been such concepts as "Africa" or "Europe".

The irony here is that to give ownership of this practice to one specific group, existing at one particular time in history to symbolize their specific and unique experience dispossesses these other groups of their history and experience and excludes them from their own cultural rights. This process is only possible because of an attitude of Euro/western-centric primacy, made possible by an overbearing western media and culture whose influence is a residual outcome of colonialism.

This is a classic case of colonial appropriation that attempts to artificially give one group hegemonic ownership of a cultural practice that has diverse origins and arose independently across different cultures. While the use of dreadlocks has pre-dated the idea of the west, Europe, and Jamaica, it is merely by virtue of the fact that the use of dreads amongst Caribbean blacks in the west in modern times that makes it possible to claim ownership of this practice. It is because of the power of the western media and an overbearing culture that this idea of dreads rightfully belonging uniquely to black westerners exists. 

I can almost see the funny side to all of this - Western media power is utilized to dispossess numerous cultures of their historical cultural practice and give hegemonic ownership of said practice, all to promote the narrative of an oppressed group using a hairstyle as a symbol to resist hegemonic cultural ownership of their bodies and culture. You can't make this stuff up.

The HuffPo article exemplifies the reasons I can't get behind Asian progressivism, even though I consider myself liberal. There are simply major flaws in Asian progressive thinking due to an intellectually lazy reductionist pursuit of a black/white narrative to explain America's racial issues. Poor reasoning, flouting of logical thinking to avoid addressing facts that conflict with the narrative, all characterize progressive commentary, and I just have a general sense that Asian progressivism is driven by a fear of stepping outside the black/white dichotomy of the race dialogue, to the detriment of an autonomous Asian voice.

Pois and Workneh could so easily have conducted a simple internet search to learn that dreadlocks are a hairstyle that have spiritual, political, and stylistic significance for numerous cultures throughout history. Instead, they opted to stoke the flames of racial tension by claiming that Jeremy Lin had committed a racial offense because he chose to style his hair a certain way.

The article's authors, perhaps, did not notice that the interaction between Martin and Lin was, actually, of a mundane tone that ended with what seemed to be an acknowledgement of mutual respect, and an agreement of respect for each other's space and right to have an opinion that the other disagrees with. But, the article merely reinforces my observation that when it comes to promoting an Asian identity or point of view, Asian progressivism has little to say of value, and is, thus, largely irrelevant - even when it comes to a subject as mundane as a hairstyle.

Aside from the article's lack of basic research about the subject, the piece exhibits the same, tired, droning, lecturing, poorly reasoned style that is common to the vast majority of Asian progressive commentaries in the mainstream liberal media. Worse still, the article illustrates the most significant problem of the Asian progressive movement: an unwillingness, or inability, to uphold the voice of Americans of Asian descent. Asian progressivism can't even muster the courage, or intellectual nous, to make a stand for an Asian-American even concerning the mundane act of choosing a hairstyle.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Asianization Of Donald trump

The Media Is Still Not Our Friend......

I came across an interesting article on the fact-checking site, Snopes, that examined various claims made in the media about Donald Trump's actions/behaviour since he began his run for Presidential office. Despite stating numerous disclaimers of its author's opposition to Trump (Snopes does have a someone leftist lean), the piece is nevertheless mostly exemplary as a model for unbiased reporting. What's interesting is that the article describes biased and hostile media reports and portrayals of President Trump that are based caricatures. Caricature are often used to establish and propagate stereotypes.

The article says this....
This article is intended as a neutral, reliable analysis of the lies, false allegations and misleading claims made about and against Donald Trump since his inauguration in January 2017. We’ve attempted to strip away the hyperbole, name-calling and generalizations, and examine the patterns and trends at work: what characterizes these lies and exaggerations, the effect they have, what might explain them. 
We pay particular attention to selected examples — claims that have gained prominence among the mainstream opposition to Trump, revealing much about the methods, priorities, and tone of that opposition, and illustrating how this movement both cultivates and plays off a number of caricatures of the 45th President and at times falls prey to a handful of identifiable and repeated errors of thought.
The highlighted part of the second paragraph, above, is noteworthy: the hostile media plays off and cultivates caricatures of Trump to publish untruths or half-truths that cast a negative light on his presidency, morality, and character.

The piece goes on to outline the caricatures utilized by the mainstream media to shape, foster, and propagate negative attitudes towards Trump.....
Broadly speaking, most of the falsehoods levelled against Trump fall into one or more of four categories, each of them drawing from and feeding into four public personas inhabited by the President.  They are: 
  • Donald Trump: International Embarrassment
  • Trump the Tyrant
  • Donald Trump: Bully baby
  • Trump the Buffoon. 
Some of these claims are downright fake, entirely fabricated by unreliable or dubious web sites and presented as satire, or otherwise blatantly false. But the rest — some of which have gained significant traction and credibility from otherwise serious people and organizations — provide a fascinating insight into the tactics and preoccupations of the broad anti-Trump movement known as “the Resistance,” whether they were created by critics of the President or merely shared by them.
....there's something eerily familiar about about all of this. With each bullet point above, we could substitute the word "Asians" for the word "Trump" and the article would be unintentionally providing an uncannily accurate description of how Asians (particularly Asian men) are portrayed in the media.

It is routine to see Asian men portrayed as misogynistic tyrants who bully helpless Asian women (as popularized by the Joy Luck Club) and whose masculinities are lampooned as buffoonery. From internationally embarrassing Chinese ghost cities to mockery of Chinese and Japanese tourists, and from supposedly poor quality products to Asia's sometimes imitative engagement with western culture, Asia and its people are generally portrayed as an embarrassing imitation of western sophistication and rational comportment.

All of these Asian portrayals play off caricatures cultivated or propagated across the spectrum of America's media from comedy, light entertainment, movies, literature, and television, to current events programming and news reporting. The media has even ridiculed Trump about the size of his penis. They really hate this guy almost as much as they seem to hate Asian guys!

The key difference here is that Trump's race is not the motivating factor in how the media portrays him. The media is responding to Trump as an individual whose actions and words have rubbed many people the wrong way. Consequently, reporting on Trump is often emotional (i.e. irrational), hostile, suspicious, often paranoid, and uncompromisingly one-sided in its misrepresentations of him. Yet, this is precisely the way the media - including, and, perhaps, particularly, the liberal media - misrepresents Asia and Asian men.

This phenomenon further cements my belief that liberals and the liberal media are unreliable allies, fickle and dishonest, but most problematic of all, politically biased such that it cannot be trusted to report objective news about Asians, nor can entertainment media be trusted to divest itself from propagating racist stereotypes of them. My conclusion here is that Asian commentary at this time - if it is to be taken seriously - needs to highlight the implicit dishonesty of the liberal media regardless of whether it is talking about Trump or Asian men. At least we know where we stand with Trump, the media on the other hand, claims to be "liberal" on one side of its mouth whilst giving platforms and credence to those who spout casual anti-Asian racism on the other.

This uncomfortable truth is a huge slap in the face for those in Asian-American reactivism who suggest that our concerns about media representation and portrayals are somehow overblown. The fact that the media has successfully - so far - managed to galvanize widespread opposition, overlook and "re-frame" leftist violence, and successfully propagate admitted lies to disrupt the world's most powerful politician, shows just how significant the issue of media representation is for Asian-Americans. Obviously, some of our self-righteous friends in Asian progressive fantasy land can't imagine just how significant a role the media can play in the democratic process. More on that in an upcoming post.

We have to remember that an unbiased media is hugely significant for any democratic society. If it makes things up and becomes politicized and biased, the effect of this misinformation is that democracy becomes dysfunctional. When media reporting and representation strategies are based on caricaturing and stereotyping of Trump that is designed to foster abuse and hostility towards him rather than honestly inform people of his statements and actions, that takes away our ability to make informed decisions about our democracy.

If media reporting and representation strategies - that are based on caricaturing and stereotyping -  targets an ethnic minority with few means or opportunities of responding, that becomes a repression. Sadly, Asian men are the prime targets for liberal media racism - of course, Asian re-activism has no thoughts on that.

The article continues...
Generally speaking, we discovered that they are characterized and driven by four types of errors of thought: 
  • Alarmism
  • A lack of historical context or awareness
  • Cherry-picking of evidence (especially visual evidence)
  • A failure to adhere to Occam’s Razor — the common-sense understanding that the simplest explanation for an event or behavior is the most likely. 
Infused throughout almost all these claims, behind their successful dissemination, is confirmation bias: the fuel that drives the spread of all propaganda and false or misleading claims among otherwise sensible and skeptical people. Confirmation bias is the tendency to look for, find, remember and share information that confirms the beliefs we already have, and the tendency to dismiss, ignore and forget information that contradicts those beliefs. It is one of the keys to why clever people, on all sides of every disagreement, sometimes believe stupid things that aren’t true.
And there you have it - an accurate description of the nature of media representation of Asian men. I don't support Trump, but in all consciousness, I cannot give my acquiescence to media strategies that are casually turned on Asian men. The enemy of my enemy, is definitely not my friend in this case.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Exposing Posing.

The Road Less Travelled.

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?