“My body is separate from my politics,” interracial marriage, and where the environmentalists all drive Hummers

Once again, IR crept into the discussion. This time it’s the same discussion that has happened many, many times over the years. Asian American feminists and their non-Asian boyfriends are using the same argument that they’ve always used to dismiss the IR disparity: “This is my body! You have no right to question whom I date! To do so is sexist and patriarchal! How dare you! Ethan (or Biff or Whitey) is an individual, and that has nothing to do with my activism.” It’s the “my body is separate from my politics” argument. It’s an argument that has been made ad nauseum since the 1970’s. I don’t think I’ve ever had a post dedicated to the argument, so here it is.

Asian American activism, men and women

About two months ago, I was doing a podcast (which never got published and was hosted by someone else), and one of my interlocutors complained about Constance Wu, who had tweeted that she supported Asian women before anyone else (It was on Twitter and I can’t find it now). My podcast friend complained that he thought it was wrong that Constance Wu was speaking up for women before men. He told me how his black female friend also thought it was both wrong AND counterproductive. His argument was that Asian men and women go up and down together, and that it was stupid to separate the genders when it came to activism. I vehemently disagreed. I don’t know anything about Constance Wu, so I said, “What if she spoke up for Asian men and it turned out that she’s dating a White guy? Would that help or hurt Asian men?” Their answer was, “She is dating a White guy,” and “That would make it worse.” I pointed out that maybe the issue wasn’t a problem with what she said about putting Asian women first, but rather the possible discrepancy between words and actions. I said that given the trend of the Asian Female Celebrity Club, maybe it was better that she only spoke for Asian women. I said maybe it was better for ALL Asian female celebrities to only speak for Asian women.

Brexit

Photo credit: Andrew Testa for the New York Times

Photo credit: Andrew Testa for the New York Times

I’m in shock. I think it’s hard to fathom exactly how bad Brexit will be, not just for Britain, but for all of Europe and the rest of the world. From what I’ve read, I have to agree with the experts that xenophobia was the driving force behind this. Tribalism has run amok, both on the Far Right and the Far Left. It’s invaded our own country with the Trump campaign, and it’s showing no signs of abating. This is going to be terrible for the world economy.

Scientist heroes who helped Flint

Photo credit: Travis Dove for the NY Times

Photo credit: Travis Dove for the NY Times

There’s a cool story here about the scientists from Virginia Tech who fought for the residents of Flint, Michigan, to be heard: As Flint sought to be heard, Virginia Tech team sounded alarm. For whatever reason, we rarely hear in the American media about scientists using their brains to save lives. The VT team is diverse, with members coming from the U.S., India, and Singapore. They used their knowledge to build trust with the residents of Flint, some of whom said that they won’t trust the water unless the VT team gives its okay.

China to end the one-child policy

After more than thirty years, China is ending the one-child policy. Instead of being restricted to one, people will now be able to have two. China is making the change in part because of concerns over a rapidly aging population that will stress resources, a concern that was voiced from the very beginning by economists all over the world.

I have to agree with those who say the one-child policy was one of China’s biggest mistakes. 30 years is enough to ingrain the idea of one-child into the culture. It’s likely that China will face the same kind of population problems that Japan currently faces.

One big Holy Shit moment on the internet

I found this article: “They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist” by Jenny Zhang. I found it via 8 Asians. It’s about the White poet who had his poem published by taking on a Chinese-sounding pseudonym. The White poet did so because he felt it would be easier to get published. From the NY Times article:

“As a strategy for ‘placing’ poems this has been quite successful for me,” he said, noting that “The Bees” had been rejected 40 times under his own name but only nine times under the pseudonym before it was published by Prairie Schooner.

Intel drops science competition

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Photo credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

File this under “decisions that make absolutely no sense.”

SAN FRANCISCO — Intel, the world’s largest maker of semiconductors, is dropping its longtime support of the most prestigious science and mathematics competition for American high school students.

It’s only 6 million dollars, which is nothing for Intel. Why wouldn’t Intel pay that small price to have its name affixed to the most prestigious science and mathematics competition in the world? There may be some argument that most winners don’t work in semiconductors, but it’s still great advertising.