The New Chinese Immigrants

I am grateful to the HuffPo for publishing a new article on the newest Chinese immigrants and the differences in their political outlooks: New Chinese Immigrants Are Different From Chinese Americans And Proud Of It. I agree with just about everything that the author writes about the newest Chinese immigrants, i.e. those since the 1980’s. It’s about time that the world took notice of them. Politically, they’ve had a number of real achievements like SCA-5 and Justice for Peter Liang. If you look at the people who are standing up for real injustice against Asian Americans, it’s often the FOBs (see the video above), not the Social Justice Warriors. In terms of their grievances and ideas for the future, I can definitely see where these new immigrants are coming from. This is real Chinese culture imported to America, a take-it-or-leave-it in-your-face tough love for achievement. Like all cultures, it has its weaknesses, but like all cultures, it also has its strengths. I for one appreciate the “diversity” that is coming Stateside. (I put “diversity” in quotes because, as the author correctly mentioned, in some circles it’s code for “keep them Asians out.”)

One area where I will disagree is the idea that we 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th gens are completely different from FOB’s. SJW’s are completely different, yes. But I think most regular Asian Americans are similar to most regular Americans–most of us fall near the middle. It’s just that the SJW’s are a lot louder than the rest of us. Plus they’ve got more powerful allies in media, government, and education. Most regular Asian American working stiffs don’t have much of a voice because we’re silenced, and we’re too busy working to fight against the tide. If I were to ask around, I’m sure many regular working Asian Americans are happy to see this new tide of immigrants standing up and refusing to back down.

In either case, whether you like the new wave of immigrants or not, I think this article is a great starting point for a discussion with your neighbors. Let’s be open to new cultures. Let’s learn. Let’s share. Let’s grow.

23 thoughts on “The New Chinese Immigrants

  1. No offense, dude, but I think the HFP commentary and this thread completely ignores history. I’m going to give credit where credit is due because we’re fair minded moderate people with common sense:

    The HFP article also ignores the current trend of noveau-riche “fu er dai” spoilt Chinese kids trying to get a foothold in the US for their parents and going badly. This is the new generation of Crazy Rich Chinese Asians:

  2. Based on my reading, I get the impression that Chinese immigrants today are most similar in mindset to Japanese immigrants before World War 2. Both are highly nationalist and ethnically self-interested, so of course they would prioritize issues facing their own communities. There is truth that nationalists tend to be more racist but SJWs only seem to have a problem when Asians act that way.

  3. @aardvark
    I remember skimming through Jenn’s article a while back. The general gist is that there has been bigger organized protests in the past. That may be true but those protests were sparked by pretty serious shit. Ie. if it can happen to Vincent Chin it can happen to just about every other Asian American. Jenn’s post also summarized several significant work protests that impacted thousands. The Peter Liang case is much, much more isolated. There is this single Asian cop being scape-goated and his fate impacts virtually no one except perhaps other Asian cops and Liang’s family. It is a virtual non-event for the average Asian American and all would have been forgotten in a few weeks had the organizers not taken action. It would have been so easy to just let slide. I think you can apply an analogy where the incidences in Jenn’s piece represents “macro-aggressions” towards the Asian American community vs the “micro-aggression” of wanting to throw a single Asian cop into the slammer to appease Black anger. The former is much much easier to rally behind compared to the latter. The Peter Liang case tells us that Asian Americans are going to fight back against micro-aggression as well.

  4. I’m basically saying people are people and good and bad everywhere and we shouldn’t expect some sort of miracles when it comes to FOBs for Asian American empowerment.

    I just saw this on my news feed. Granted it’s biased since nobody’s been charged yet, but it’s pretty much open secret there are tons of these EB5 “scams” going around for corrupt China officials trying to get to the US. There’s also the “open secret” of happy endings at many of those massage parlors around the SGV funded by these same EB5 corrupt money for laundering…

  5. Aardvark,

    What do you mean when you say “ignores history?” What history are we ignoring? The fu er dai are a small percentage of Chinese immigrants. I’m not saying that the immigrants are perfect, but I am saying that it’s injecting some good diversity into the conversation.

  6. I don’t know the exact numbers of Chinese immigrants that are “fu er dai” but the average home value that Chinese buy is about $800,000 now.

  7. black men hate asians because we make them feel insecure AND because black women now dig asian men. Black men in general are more racist to asians than whites are. The only reason why black men are respected is the subliminal image of a violent black man. Black men earned their success and acceptance to white society because white people fear them unconsciously. This doesn’t apply to FOB black men from Africa, such as obama’s father. Black Africans are respectable people, just as smart and hard working as asians. They are extremely lucky for having both asian qualities and black privileges.
    Asians and asian looking people should unite to topple the black and white and hispanic privileges. In their eyes, asians are sub humans, slaves, inferior animals.

  8. I agree with most of that author said, but I think he missed an important point which I don’t expect him to have any understanding of it. What set us apart from all other Chinese immigrants (from Taiwan, Hong Kong and old mainland China) is that we are the product of new culture of new China.

    As I said many times here before, Mao intentionally and relentlessly tried to destroy the old Chinese culture and build a new culture, not only during the Cultural Revolution, but also throughout his 27 years of ruling. Those cultural changes not only made China progress socially during his time and laid foundation for Chinese economic take off in past 30 years, but also is the foundation for China to continue to progress socially. One important part of the cultural changes is that it made contemporary Chinese have more sense of equality and self-confidence, be less obedient or timid and be very politically minded.

    What the author said about us are mostly true to other Asian immigrants too. The difference is they are probably still the docile and non-contentious type, we are not so much as they are . We don’t mind to speak up or stand up when necessary, even the ways we do things may not be considered politically correct or graceful. So Asian American SJWs should expect more line up of Chinese immigrants on the other side of whatever protest you are organizing. 🙂

  9. the average home value that Chinese buy is about $800,000 now.
    – Kiwi

    That couldn’t buy a large garage in Vancouver LOL.

  10. @ bigWOWO

    Yeah, it wasn’t clear. Some Chinese are just looking for a place to dump their assets due to China’s real estate bubble but others eventually change their minds and become immigrants, so the line gets blurry. Others are binationals drifting between countries. In any case, I haven’t found numbers distinguishing the groups.

  11. What’s weird about this article for me is that the major fault lines between established Chinese Americans and recent Chinese immigrants involve political differences about domestic policy that affects/ references Black Americans. It’s an internal struggle based largely on differences concerning America’s social welfare state and affirmative action.

    It’s not relevant to the author that American social welfare programs benefit many, many more non-Blacks than Black Americans, nor is it relevant to the author that affirmative action is and has always been most often employed to assist White women in higher education than Black Americans.

    For the author, political issues associated with Black Americans require a particular race conservative response, and when established Chinese Americans reflect on their personal and communal histories to disagree with the conservative opposition, when established Chinese Americans support the social safety net and defend affirmative action, they are considered insufficiently Chinese by these new immigrants.

    No one expects silence from these new immigrants. No one wants them to become less politically engaged. They are more than welcome to speak openly against American domestic policy on poverty and diversity in higher education. In short, they should speak out about what they believe, and people like me will engage the debate. Good luck to them.

  12. I don’t think it’s a Black issue at all, Snoopy. It’s an Asian issue. In the case of violence, it’s an Asian safety issue. In the case of discriminatory admissions policies, it’s an equal rights issue.

    As for “insufficiently Chinese,” that also has nothing to do with Black people. We’re “insufficiently Chinese” because many of us (though not all of us) don’t speak Chinese, nor do we converse well with Chinese immigrants, nor do we fight policies that discriminate against Chinese immigrants. We probably also annoy Chinese immigrants because we don’t always stand up for our rights, despite all the common rhetoric in the U.S. about equal rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    I think that in many cases, “insufficiently Chinese” probably has some merit, but that’s a long discussion. An interesting discussion, but a long discussion.

  13. But that’s the point: to consider someone who doesn’t speak Chinese or converse well with Chinese immigrants “insufficiently Chinese” argues that Chinese immigrants provide the most authentic example of political and cultural “Chinese-ness” possible.

    Further, it’s not clear to me what policies discriminate against Chinese immigrants, outside of the severe contraction of immigrant rights so supported by the Right, a contraction with which many Chinese immigrants agree.

    But to say this has nothing to do with Black people does not account for the arguments presented in the article itself.

    “Recent immigrants are drawn to Republican Party rhetoric of individual responsibility and commitment to hard work. Like many minorities in the U.S., they have experienced racial discrimination but have not permitted it to cripple their determination to succeed and excel in a new society. Coming from a socialist country, they are ironically unaccustomed to social welfare and have little sympathy for those who depend on government “handouts.” This stance may be uncharitable, but it is nonetheless what they feel and, in fact, not so far removed from the sentiment of a majority of American citizens as recently as 30 years ago. The new arrivals voted for Trump and will continue to vote for Trump equivalents, as long as such candidates espouse fiscally conservative platforms.

    New Chinese arrivals do not feel solidarity with disadvantaged groups not because they are bigoted but because they do not consider themselves disadvantaged. Most are pleased to have a chance to pursue the economic and educational paths the U.S. offers.

    Undeniably, they have sometimes found that their interests are misaligned with those of other ethnic minorities. For example, many Chinese have found repugnant the unacknowledged but ubiquitous glass ceiling confronting Chinese applicants to top universities. Qualified applicants of Chinese ethnicity are denied entry, while underperforming applicants of other ethnic groups gain admission on the grounds of “diversity.”

    It is small wonder that this mystical euphemism ― “diversity” ― has become a dirty word among many aggrieved Chinese parents, who feel it denies their children a rightful place at American universities.” — Rupert Li, King & Wood Mallesons in Beijing

    Without question, this section presents the fault line between recent Chinese immigrants and established Chinese Americans as an ideological one based around domestic policy concerns like the social welfare state and affirmative action, policies inexorably linked with Black Americans in the public imagination. Were this an internal debate focused on internal community issues, there would be no reason to discuss affirmative action fears from misinformed Chinese immigrant parents or the rejection of socialism from entrepreneurial immigrant Chinese.

    But no matter. The recent Chinese immigrants are more than welcome to embrace public political activity. It is positive that they embrace public activity, with all their PRC nationalism and support for Donald Trump, as Rupert Li suggests. I’m sure their fellow Americans will find all of that quite endearing.

  14. Snoopy:

    But that’s the point: to consider someone who doesn’t speak Chinese or converse well with Chinese immigrants “insufficiently Chinese” argues that Chinese immigrants provide the most authentic example of political and cultural “Chinese-ness” possible.

    I actually do think I’m going to write something on this. It may take a few days though. I don’t expect that you’ll listen or consider the perspective, but I hope you do.

    In the meantime, let me ask you this: Are you more African than someone from Africa who steps off the plane and finds himself in the U.S. for the very first time? Or are you equally African? Don’t worry about the questions like “authenticity” or the politically-laden questions of what is “real.” Are you just as African as, say, an immigrant from Nigeria who speaks fluent Yoruba and who was raised in Africa?

    You just laid down a BIG quote from Rupert Li, but I think you yourself probably notice that there was NO mention of Black people in that quote. That was my point. It’s not about Black people. Chinese immigrants don’t see it as a “Black people” problem. They see it as a fight for freedom from violence and for equal rights protection under the law. Yes, I think we can both acknowledge that there has been a trend of violence against Asian people perpetuated by some Black people, but it’s not about Black people and Black people’s rights. It’s about Asian people being safe from violence, regardless of the race of the perps.

    There are also cultural issues within that quote, but again, it’s not that these new immigrants are against Black people (who aren’t mentioned), but rather they are against a culture that doesn’t respect their own. As I mentioned above, the quote does not mention Black people.

  15. Let me ask you this: If you consider the question above and feel that you are less African, does this make you less of a person? Does it make someone from Africa superior to you?

    I ask this because I think sometimes people get emotional over a label, even if the label is accurate.

  16. BigWOWO, I take issue with your comparison. African immigrants in the United States need not share my culture or my heritage, but we all interact with a set of political and social conventions that give rise to experiential commonalities and political synergy. Nigerian immigrants, by and large, often, though not always, appeal to the history and political conventions established by the descendants of chattel slaves in the Americas.

    In a very real sense, I need not judge myself in reference to some amorphous “Africanness” I can never recover. I was born in the United States because Europeans stole my ancestors from Africa. Both the Nigerian immigrant and myself are “Black”, as we both retain connection to the African Diaspora and find ourselves subject to certain political and social phenomena based on that detail.

    But that Blackness gains social substance in different ways for different people. The Nigerian immigrant is not Black in the same way I am, and vice versa. But both are Black. Relative Africanness comparisons are neither possible nor wise.

    In contrast, the pro-immigrant bias that suggests that established Chinese Americans are somehow insufficiently Chinese in comparison to recent Chinese immigrants interprets cultural differences with absurdity. Chinese immigrants no more hold the patent on being Chinese than Nigerian immigrants hold the patent on being Black. People of African decent are born in Laos, Argentina, Cuba, Scotland, Lesotho, and Maryland. People of Chinese decent are born in Australia, Thailand, Panama, California, and the People’s Republic.

    I agree, I think you should write more about this topic, and I look forward to what you produce. But it’s no insult to say to recent Chinese or Nigerian immigrants that they do not and cannot claim a monopoly on ethnic heritage. There’s no such thing as “more Chinese than”.

  17. Hey Snoopy,

    I gotta get out for a meeting, but let me just stop you with an important distinction.

    But that Blackness gains social substance in different ways for different people. The Nigerian immigrant is not Black in the same way I am, and vice versa. But both are Black. Relative Africanness comparisons are neither possible nor wise.

    We were talking about Chineseness, NOT Asianness. Similarly, we were talking about Africanness, not Blackness. You’re not more or less Black than a Nigerian immigrant, the same way I’m no less Asian than a Chinese immigrant.

    But here we’re talking about culture, not race, and it’s very important to draw that distinction. If a person doesn’t speak Chinese, has never been to China, doesn’t care about Chinese people, is completely uneducated in Chinese history, but is racially Asian from China, I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be accurate to say he’s less Chinese.

  18. Pingback: “When I learn Chinese, I see myself as Chinese.” | bigWOWO

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