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 taking a quick break from my break because of the historic possibility that the Justice Department under Jeff Sessions may be trying to eliminate affirmative action. I don’t remember any administration ever taking this stance. With the chaos of the Trump administration, no one really knows if this inquiry on affirmative action will pan out. But as I said before, I always felt that Trump was the best candidate on race, despite the fact that he’s incompetent in just about every other area. This may be his defining achievement.
Anyway, Asians are finally in the news:
Just wanted to alert you to this great article by John Pomfret: The Split at the Heart of Chinese America. The article addresses affirmative action, Peter Liang, and all the other issues where there is a large split between recent Chinese immigrants and multi-generational ABC’s. It’s a really interesting article. John Pomfret is fluent in Chinese and has spent much of his career studying China.
I couldn’t stop watching the video above. It’s like victim porn. An old Asian dude called Uncle Pao gets jumped by a by a bunch of teenagers. Instead of reacting with “why are those violent thugs jumping my uncle,” Uncle Pao’s middle-aged nephew Leng Xiong takes the blame. Taking the side of the kids, he says that he’d like to know where “us as a community failed them.” He says that it could be dangerous if these kids ran into the “wrong person” and they had a Trayvon Martin type of situation. He finishes with, “How can we help you? Let us help you.” Y’all know what I’ve said about Protected Minorities and personal responsibility according to the media, but just so we’re on the same page, let me unpack this.
I just wanted to post this because I thought it was cool. The video is six years old, but I think this guy has the right idea about humbling oneself in order to learn a language. What comes out is his passion for the culture and people of Mexico, even though he eventually went with the Andalusian accent. In the videos, he talks about how he struck up conversations and made the most of the resources in his area of California. It’s refreshing to see Asian Americans moving beyond their ancestral languages.
In another thread, I told Snoopy that I would post about people being “more Chinese” or “less Chinese.” We had had this discussion some time ago after ChineseMom was banned from his wife’s site for obviously cultural reasons, and then we had it again years later, possibly in our Cultural Attraction thread, which is closely related to the topic on hand. Snoopy feels that there is no such thing as “more Chinese” or “less Chinese.” He feels that if you’re racially Chinese, that’s it; you’re Chinese. But as I mentioned to him in a follow-up post, Chinese really isn’t just a race; it’s a culture. Yes, an Asian person is racially Asian, but when we say that a person is more Chinese or less Chinese, we’re talking about his culture. Since I’ve been on a language binge, I thought I’d explain this by posting another excellent video by the polyglot Steve Kaufmann. (Apologies in advance if this runs like a stream of consciousness…it’s tax season (among other things), and I’ve been under time constraints.)
This has been making the rounds. Thanks to B.A. who mailed it to me and Aardvark who posted it. It’s the video of an old Asian dude getting whooped by security for refusing to give up his seat on a United flight.
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.”)
Uh, yeah, sorry Asian dudes. But a White guy got the lead in Crazy Rich Asians. Yeah, I know, Kevin Kwan was hinting at an all-Asian cast. And I know that y’all were hoping for some respite after Scarlett Johannson got the role as an Asian woman and Matt Damon got to rock the Great Wall. But chill, guys. It’s a movie about rich Asian people in Asia, so there will probably be lots of opportunities for bit roles and extras who can play the busboys, maids, and concierge workers at those crazy, rich Asian hotels. Lots and lots of roles, most of which probably don’t even require speaking, and you only have to show your face for a few seconds in front of the camera! How easy is that!
Readers who like historical fiction might enjoy Lynne Kutsukake’s The Translation of Love. It’s a historical novel about life in post-war Japan following WWII. The novel focuses on a twelve-year old girl named Fumi who is trying to find her sister Sumiko, who has left home to become a hostess for American GI’s. Along with her friend Aya, a repatriated Japanese girl from the U.S., she writes a letter to General MacArthur in hopes that he will help her. Along the way, we meet several other interesting characters: Kondo, the girls’ homeroom teacher who moonlights as a translator; Matt and Nancy, two military translators who are Americans of Japanese descent; and Sumiko, the missing sister who is trying to make a living and support her family as best she can.