Goodbye, Identity Politics. Goodbye, Asian American Identity

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.

“When I learn Chinese, I see myself as Chinese.”

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.)

Can We Have an Honest Conversation on Black-on-Asian Violence?

I’m writing this blog post for a number of reasons. First, it behooves me to mention some of the issues that more recent Asian American immigrants and immigrant human rights organizations have been dealing with. If you look at 4:46 of the video above, that’s a news story that has not been passed around by most of the Asian American blogosphere. If you read the typical Asian American blogs, it’s like it never happened. They only want to talk about how Peter Liang shot Akai Gurley.

Second, I wanted to take on Snoopy’s statement that

Cultural attraction

Up until my twenties, I had known only two Asian American men who married black women. One was my granduncle who was half-black himself. He was my grand-uncle not by blood, but by the fact that he and my grandmother and granduncles had grown up together. Wayne Boc spoke Cantonese fluently and knew everything about Chinese culture. I’m too young to remember, but I think he may have kicked my ass in Chinese chess. The story was that his father had opened a laundry in the middle of a majority black area in New York and had fallen in love with a local African American woman. Think about that–Wayne Boc’s was my grandfather’s age, and my grandfather was born in 1924. His father married a black woman around the time my grandfather was born, and then Wayne Boc himself, who was my grandfather’s age, married a black woman. How revolutionary is that?

Two interesting NY Times articles on Whitey vs. Chang

Helen Yin, photo credit: Mark Makela for the NY Times

Helen Yin, photo credit: Mark Makela for the NY Times

Merry Christmas, everyone. Hope everyone is eating lots of food and getting lots of rest. For Christmas, I received…two interesting articles from the NY Times, delivered not from the chimney, but by e-mail.

1. In New Jersey, White parents are trying to dial back school. Evidently, the Asian parents are making life too academically competitive for their kids: Reforms to ease students’ stress divide a New Jersey school district. It’s a phenomenon that we’ve seen play out in places like Palo Alto. The Asians move in, school standards go up, and White parents go up in arms over their stressed kids. It’s true. Asian American kids do work harder. But they have to. Asian American kids face racism in college admissions, and so they have to do better.

Safe spaces vs. dangerous spaces and why it’s sometimes hard to talk to extreme liberals

Illustration credit: Eleanor Taylor from the NY Times

Illustration credit: Eleanor Taylor from the NY Times

There’s a FANTASTIC article in the NY Times today about the notion of safe spaces: In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas. “Safe spaces” are places where people decide not to offend one another. They are conceived with the idea that dangerous ideas can be not only offensive but harmful. We’ve seen this concept on the internet where people issue “trigger warnings” before talking about ideas that supposedly could cause trauma to the reader.

When Whitey Blames Chang, and how primary education is failing

We’ve had our share of liberal Kool-Aid commenters on this blog, people who are so liberal that their philosophy can be reduced into four words: “Blame Whitey and Chang.” So if a violent criminal who happens to be Black hassles an Asian shopkeeper and steals from him, you blame Chang. If the same violent criminal tries to go for a cop’s gun and ends up getting shot, you blame Whitey.

But what happens when there’s a conflict between Whitey and Chang? What do the White Liberals do then?

Go make your own movie


Pic from, see below for order link, if you want to make your own movie

Often when minorities complain about portrayals in the media, some people will advise those minorities to become rugged individuals and to “go make your own movie.”

They will:

1. Dismiss the racial concerns by saying that companies make production decisions based only on the pure market, saying “Well, if Asian actors were a bigger draw, then Hollywood would definitely hire them. It’s just the market!”

2. Tell the minorities that if it bothers them so much, that they should go ahead and make their own movie. “Go make your own movie!”

Asian American Generational changes, and how the IR debate is a Generation-X thing

I’ve been watching some Asian American Wong Fu videos. It looks like they’re sponsored by large corporations like HTC and AT&T. It’s a pretty cool marriage between art and commerce, especially given how hard it can sometimes be for Asian Americans in film to crack the media ceiling. I’m also reading a novel called An American Sin by Frederick Su. Su is a former Marine from the Vietnam era, and his protagonist David Wong grows up as a Baby Boomer before he eventually gets shipped out to Vietnam. In the course of my reading, it occurred to me that we can now see generational changes among Asian Americans through the years in media. We can now see what has defined each generation’s challenges.

The Stanford-Silicon Valley Connection

Long post ahead. I got this article from J.S.: Is Stanford Too Close to Silicon Valley? In the article, the author writes about how Stanford takes a leadership role in the cultivation of business, how the line is often blurred between professors, students, investors, and mentors, and how Stanford has always been committed to making its students useful. Professors often introduce student-entrepreneurs to business leaders and then wind up investing money themselves. As a result, lots of professors sit on Silicon Valley boards and are filthy rich. Indeed, this is unique among most top schools. While most top schools embrace learning for the sake of learning, Stanford has always been practical. From the article: