How timely. I’ve had this idea for this particular short post in my head all summer, and today David Brooks published this: In Praise of Equipoise. Now I don’t know about leadership or crossing over to do the kind of outreach that Brooks is describing, but I do know that identity politics is killing this country. Both the Alt-Right and Black Lives Matter are filled with narcissistic blowhards who talk too much, and both are responsible for fomenting hatred. Asian American activism has been ruined, especially by the so-called Asian American feminists. We (the commenters on this site and I) have spent the last few years railing against the sickening disease of victimization that has plagued both the Black community and the Asian American leftist community, but we’ve done so mostly within the framework of being in those communities. It’s time for us and identity politics to declare an amicable split. So I’m done.
I’m still the same person I’ve always been. I’ll still fight for equal rights: affirmative action is a racist policy that discriminates against Asians. I’m still a member of the group “Asian Americans Against Affirmative Action” because it’s important for those who face the most discrimination from a racist policy to speak against it by declaring who we are. I still believe we need more Asian representation in literature and in the media. We also need more diverse portrayals of people of other races. But I’m fighting now not as an Asian American, but as a human being. I’m not going to continue to pretend that so-called Asian American feminists are fighting for any cause other to claim more institutional power for Asian American feminism, nor am I going to continue to help others perpetuate the lie that Asian American feminists have the moral high ground in most of their debates. In general, they are anti-immigrant, anti-Chinese culture, anti-Asian male, pro-White male, and pro-emotion-over-logic. They’re guilty of the same kind of prejudice that they’re always accusing others of harboring. People who are part of that movement aren’t necessarily bad people, but they’re terribly misguided.
I’m also declaring my objection to crybullying against “cultural appropriation.” If you’re a White or Black or other non-Asian content creator, I have no objection to you writing Asian characters in your work. None. In fact, I encourage it. I do so not just for your benefit, but for mine and for American society as a whole. My fear of bad portrayals is must less menacing than my fear of censorship and political correctness gone wild. In other words, Lionel Shriver was right.
I’ve changed my tagline to read, “Ideas, Common Sense, and Asian American Literature.” It was important for me NOT to have Asian American remain the first word in my blog description. I still have a soft spot for writing about the Asian American experience, and I’d still like to use this space to get the word out about new authors and new works, but as for defining myself as an Asian American or perpetuating an us vs. them mentality, I’m done. Finished. I will no longer be a part of a movement that has gotten way out of control and is responsible for the hatred and polarization that is hurting our society. I will no longer support a movement that has really become the lap-dog of a far more powerful and destructive movement, namely Black Lives Matter and extreme leftism.
Now some may say, “Hey, YOU can define the movement! If you don’t want it to be an extreme leftist movement, reclaim it!” The problem here is that I no longer want it. I want to embrace humanity for what it is. I don’t want divisions. It’s not healthy for us as human beings, nor is it healthy for society, especially given the way intermarriage is turning us all into one big family. Yes, discrimination against Asian men in the dating game still exists. Yes, I’m not going to jump on the Asian American feminist bandwagon by saying that the unequal playing field is a good thing. But I’m also not going to deny the reality that we need to accept the disparity at certain level. “Round one” of this fight has been going on since the 1970’s. We were losing as Asian American men back then, and we’ve continued to lose until right now. We’re doing better than we were during the 70’s, but we’re still losing. Let’s NOT repeat the same losing strategy for the next fifty years. We’re losing in part because we’ve self-segregated. Let’s continue the fight, but let’s do so not as part of a segregated identity, but as human beings.
Just one quick caveat–I think it’s GOOD for young Asian men to temporarily segregate themselves in order to find answers without distraction. It was a crucial step for me when I first started out. But for those of us who’ve put in that time and who understand what’s going on, we need to unsegregate (which is quite different from integrate, which to me implies that we completely drop our culture. I’ll probably have more to say about this at a later time).
I’ve spent more time thinking about my Asian American identity than 99.999% of the people out there. I think it was time well-spent, and I think I’ve learned a lot of history and human behavior from that time and effort. But it’s time to move on. I want to be open to see the world as it really is, to see people for who they are, not for the identities they claim. I may or may not post here as often as I have in the past, but I hope you’ll all join me for the ride.