Embracing being the outsider (drafting)

Doing a bit of writing and reflection on the last night of the Obama presidency. Will likely polish this to post on Medium at some point.

Normally after work on a Thursday, I’d probably be out kicking back a few with my co-workers. Not in the mood today. Privately saying goodbye this golden age in America. I have been lucky enough to get my small slice of the American dream.

I’d adding another resolution this year for me. I think I’m entitled to one given that Lunar New Year is coming up next week.

I’m going to, perhaps finally, embrace being the outsider.

This partially just has to do with my own disposition and faults as a human. I know a lot of people, but I’m close to few. I’m one of the few women and few women of color in a more senior role at work, always reminding myself to keep my guard up, and making sure I don’t stop code switching. I find myself in these situations in my life constantly, perhaps I create this reality for myself because I don’t know how else but to be an outsider, in a long line of American outsiders.

As a Taiwanese-American who still dreams in another language, I do feel like a cultural alien sometimes. I’m Taiwanese by blood and diasporic ties – but I don’t live there – I’m not really Taiwanese, and I’m not the same as Americans whose families have been here for generations, even other Asians.

Maybe it gives me a perspective in the way I look at America, Taiwan, and the rest of the world for that matter in the way a best friend looks at you, who loves you but can see your strengths and flaws better than you can.

To me, too many people have have taken advantage of the spoils of America on the sidelines and off the backs of the vulnerable. To have a myopic sense of optimism. To not be a responsible citizen. To not ask what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. To be blind to its own history.

To think that the old order of power would go quietly into the night when this nation has been built on a violent struggle for rights. The belief that racial reconciliation could have been bought on the cheap and progress was a given. For all the blame going around on losing the election, I more and more I view our current situation as an inevitable outcome. The Dems could have ran Jesus Christ as their candidate and still lost. This conflict was going to come and has to be fought.

This is not the first time the White liberal left and right have converged to reject “identity politics,” which is really just a fancy way of saying “we’re sick of you people creating discomfort in asking be treated as full human beings, even though we would never tolerate the way you are treated ourselves.” This is a latest iteration of a well-documented history. (Pick up Jeff Chang’s Who We Be for a cultural deep dive.)

For all those who refuse the recognize that that America’s greatest strengths are its greatest weaknesses. For those who thought it was a choice of a lesser of two evils or refusing to vote, to not be “political.” For all those who were free riders in the system. For those who could live without the consequences of reality, regardless of which side of the partisan fence you sat on. For all the hypocrisy.

Forgetting that all we have was paid for in blood. Blood by soldiers. Blood by activists. And the blood of the innocent that will continue to pay.

For the weakness in believing that kindness, love, and understanding will save the nation.

This has all come to roost, and people will now have to fight or fall. Each in their own way. I find wisdom in being the outsider, and perhaps it will be what saves me. Maybe this perspective will be useful for someone.

To me, the big story was not about the Trump voters, but the 48% who didn’t vote. To all the people who thought “Things were or are going to be okay.” This to me is uniquely American. I wonder if it’s unavoidable outcome of a people who have gone by generations of memories without collective suffering. I’ve lived a pampered life, but I have not forgotten. I carry the suffering of my people with me still, enough to know that things don’t turn alright. That an intolerant few in society can destroy the lives and freedom of everyone else.

I love America, for I have been the recipient of its gifts. It’s boundless possibility and acceptance that exists in the same vacuum as its blindness and brutality.

I am dismayed that America seems to refuse to truly love herself. We are a nation not bound by a common creed, history, ethnicity, or race. We were supposed to be held together by the bonds of affection, by our values, the love of freedom, hard work, and the pursuit of happiness. We woke up recently discovering we weren’t worshipping the same god. That type of conflict never ends in compromise or peacefully.

I can’t think of a way to end this originally, so, may the odds be ever in your favor.

 

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11/9/16 Weds Night

Fam,

Thanks for making social media a place of sharing and resistance today. The one silver lining I see is the scale of people mobilizing and watching out for each other. Appreciation for all the texts and contacts especially since I’m not near home. We have to stick together now, and support each other, not in a way were we tried to homogenize ourselves to support a political platform that couldn’t work that way (a failure of the Clinton campaign), but in a way where we can all broker justice.

To the Woke White friends,

Thanks for those of you who ride and die with us. Who are willing to make mistakes and do the hard work with us. To not be put off by our rage. I know some people might say I’m giving you a cookie, but I appreciate those of you who can begin with reconciling with the other side, because that’s not an option for us.

Dear White People (this line in reference to a movie, really, Dear White Friends),

Understand that your minority friends (non-White and LGBT people) are scared and angry and suddenly a lot more vulnerable than you. But understand we need you and want you with us to walk to that the promised city on a hill, together, toward justice.

You’ll might make mistakes, and people may call you out. It’s not because you are a “bad person” in the way racists are depicted on TV shows. We all make mistakes with this historical baggage. Know that getting called out is part of the work.

The world’s evils are most often perpetuated by otherwise good people. I’m sure plenty of Donald Trump voters wouldn’t mind sharing a beer with me, and I’ve probably shared one with some unknowingly this week in Texas, but it doesn’t mean their actions don’t harm us.

It’s going to be hard for you to navigate this because so many White people you know are like this and you’ll have to challenge them and yourself. But, that’s your part to play now.

I’ll borrow from Jesse Williams speech to make these points clear (I would be remiss to not mention it was Black people who tried to blockade this, especially Black women, who have been the backbone of Civil Rights from the beginning):

“And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote — the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander.That’s not our job, alright — stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest- if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”

I’m about Justice now over Reconciliation. Resistance over Healing.

*Look, I dislike some of the privilege checking culture that gets used to only dismantle arguments, even if maybe correct in a moral universe, it does not help organize. I struggled with the idea of the truly poor Whites who would support Trump, especially in contrast to being born into an environment where education was encouraged with access to some of the best public schools from childhood to college. I wondered if I should check myself. But a line was drawn in the sand today.

Being the Other People of Color in this Election

This election has come down to the wire. I’ve already casted my vote absentee in the State of New York, where I reside (I’m away on business and will be so for the election). I’ve donated numerous times to HRC. This is my last piece before our “day of reckoning” that I’ve been writing on and off for the past few weeks, so the tone shifts back and forth quite a bit.

First, my friend Alice, who is also Asian American articulated why she’s voting more than I ever could:

We filled out our ballots yesterday. Just a nice Saturday afternoon spent enjoying the fresh breeze coming in from our patio, and a little political discourse. I’ve been thinking a lot about why I am voting this election cycle. I vote in every cycle, but this one has obviously given our nation a lot of food for thought. So, here goes:

Because we moved from our home of Hong Kong to America in advance of the 1997 return to China, so that we could live in a democratic nation.
Because my parents worked multiple jobs to scrimp and save so they could become small business owners.
Because despite not initially speaking a lick of English, immigrants like my parents (and ultimately their children) can be successful through education and hard work.
Because so many people live in a place where they do not get a vote.
Because so many before us fought for our right to vote.
Because I don’t believe in more walls or directed policing of specific communities.
Because Black Lives Matter.
Because I don’t condone inflammatory, hateful statements towards people because of their race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual preference.
Because taco trucks are awesome.
Because I believe in equal rights.
Because love is love is love is love.
Because inappropriate sexual behavior should not be rewarded.
Because any human being’s body is theirs, and nobody should violate it by touching without consent or telling a person what they can and cannot do with it.
Because Planned Parenthood is needed in many communities across the nation.
Because we should not invite foreign nations to hack us.
Because global warming is real.
Because the unemployment rate is now below 5%, down from 10% in 2009.
Because our next generation shouldn’t have a bully in the Oval Office as their example.
Because experience matters.
Because a woman should not be defined by what her husband did/does.
Because it’s time to shatter ceilings.
Because I can.

So many reasons. What are yours?

The NYTimes ran this article Donald Trump Is Seen as Helping Push Asian-Americans Into Democratic Arms, which was followed up with this piece on FiveThirtyEight and NPR.  I also wanted to add more layers to this conversation, especially given our historically low-levels of voter turnout.

I know as an Asian person, I’m not seen quite like other People of Color or even as an American by both White people and other People of Color. I’ve lost count of the times racist White people think I’m playing on their team in being okay with being prejudiced toward other groups, not understanding why I would identify and side with Black and Brown people, not understanding oppression is one big hate I know whose barrel could be turned against us at anytime.

I’d like to think this needed no explaining but the nonetheless this piece below articulated this much better than I can:

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“Pollsters remain puzzled why Asians, the wealthiest racial demographic, still vote to the left, and social scientists breezily wonder out loud if it won’t be long before whiteness invites Asians to join the club. I’m doubtful. As long as Asians continue to be reminded they ultimately do not have say over their own Americanness, they will have more in common with the other minority groups vulnerable to the caprice of public fear and political fearmongering. Muslims and Arabs are terrorists; Latinos are undocumented job-thieves; blacks are violent criminals. And Chinese—those circumspect, duplicitous, sneaky Chinese—are spies.
There is a reckoning coming for people of color, as the steady march toward a majority-minority country butts up against retrenched white nationalism, currently feeding on the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s campaign. For Chinese Americans, the contours of how that reckoning might take place are visible thanks to Wen Ho Lee. Referring to trade deficits, Trump has said, “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country.” His website includes zero-tolerance language about “China’s ongoing theft of intellectual property.” It’s not hard to imagine Trump, or whoever comes after him, drastically affecting Sino-American relations; and thus the lives of Chinese Americans.
Wariness is now the word. The next generation of Chinese American voices will have to remember that despite their patriotism, their relative privilege, their country doesn’t trust them. This is the enduring lesson of Wen Ho Lee, the Patient Zero of the unnerving present and uncertain future of being Chinese in America. He was there at the wrong time, had made just the wrong amount of missteps, and was just the wrong amount of American.”
Also: I like Karthick Ramakrishnan’s quite cerebral piece as well for reference.

When I first graduated college, more than a few people suggested to me I could work as a translator or something of that nature for a government agency.  Honestly, I probably didn’t have the right language skill or communication skills at the time. Still, I was like, “Hell no, they ain’t ever gonna do me right.” I knew I’d always be under suspicion of some sort, even though I grew up as (and still am) a fat taco eating Southern Californian.

At some point in a formative stage of my life even before then, I read about what happened to Wen Ho Lee around the same time I was figuring out what it meant to be a person of color and deciding to not aspire to Whiteness or even White-acceptable. I say no to respectability politics. I had never been model minority enough, and it is very weird people consider me that way now off face value as a hipster culture-loving yuppy New Yorker.

Both in the United States and in the rest of the West to quite an extent (Canada, Western Europe), see us Asians are seen as a model minorities, a double-edged sword of eager assimilationists and/or a foreign fifth column threat.  An image both partially of our own making and for us to be used by larger forces as a wedge group.

So now people are confused to find that we’re also increasingly publicly not fine with being used as a model minority wedge group and the continued orientalist views of Asian culture as “fitting conservatism.”  I always find that these assertions that we’re supposed be Republican and aligned with conservative values ironic given that richer Asian countries have more socialized healthcare systems than the United States and large majorities of Asian Americans support Obamacare.

A lot of immigrants and even American-born Asian-Americans are okay being racial mascots and playing second fiddle to White people and doing what they need to do to be accepted, effectively scrambling over other minorities to get the first scraps, but I’m not. It’s not like I hate White people (except you basket of deplorables. You are just terrible humans because you don’t consider other people human.) My homies is great though, but we are not treated like them.

We are not the same. Those of who are woke know that and are voting accordingly.

I’ve been told I’m one of those supposedly rare loudmouth Asians. I don’t think we’re rare, we just to don’t get to be on TV (also see wedge group above).

I’m a proud Taiwanese-American. I’ll say this, aside from the appalling bigotry and just ridiculousness of Donald Trump being a candidate that could elected, I’m personally also engaged at the potential of my American life possibly getting ruined right after feeling like I just got my piece of the American dream.

It’s been an interesting (if not terrifying) time to be a Person of Color, an immigrant, or thus descended from in America and the rest of  Western world. I was listening to Monocle one morning where the conversation mentioned it felt like race relations were getting worse in both Britain and America.

I don’t think that’s necessarily true quite. What’s changed is that the conversation is much more out there, uncomfortable, and unavoidable for White people. A lot of them aren’t responding to that well. Simultaneously, we’re also seeing is a more public abandonment of respectability politics by People of Color, exemplified by Colin Kaepernick.

Previously, I think in the past public spaces and mass media tended to stay clear of the race conversation or were perhaps overly permissive in a way to make White people feel comfortable.  It was probably also much harder for all People of Color in general to speak up in the past without being blacklisted or paying a huge cost. We now have a greater ability to control their own story to the public through social media platforms, exemplified by Black Lives Matter.

A lot of left-leaning Americans joke around about moving to Canada or getting the hell out if Trump gets elected. I make the same jeers, but I also went through the trouble of checking to see if I qualify for express entry because of professional skills and also think about Taiwan, where I have right to jus sanguinis citizenship. Just in case if things actually get bad enough.

And it’s unfortunate, because I love America.  

I love America, but I am not a fool. If Donald Trump gets elected, I’m in danger. 

And I know the America I love is not the same one Donald Trump supporters love.

The diverse cacophonous complicated America, where we come from everywhere and don’t always get all along the time but solve our problems. The America I grew up in, where Chinese restaurants exist next to burger stands that play mariachi music.  Where people move to cumbia and salsa on concrete sidewalks along side cars rolling by bumping trap music.

When Michelle Obama talks about waking up in a house built by slaves and Khizr Khan.  Like, I straight up ugly cry. Like not tears down face, but straight up ugly cry, hot tears streaming down my cheeks onto my clothes, choking on my snot, alone in my apartment wrapped around a blanket bawling.

Diaspora Person of Color America meeting White America and finding a way to broker a country and society together to move forward. That’s what I’m voting for. The place where we all came to be free.

Our people and our culture and everyone else’s people and their cultures deserve to be treated as full human beings as equals with the same amount of respect. I’m not ok with being a sidekick or a second class citizen or even being second place to White people in the racial hierarchy. We all deserve the same dignity.

I love my country, the one I was born in, but I’m not a fool. We’re all different, you and I. Acknowledging that difference shouldn’t make people so uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean precluding equality, justice, and ability to reach our highest human potential and happiness. You know what’s really uncomfortable? An unequal society that chips away everyday at everyone’s humanity.

I’d like to believe we all deserve the same chances to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So help me God.

So don’t forget to vote. In every state. The downballot matters. It all matters. #imwithher

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Why the debates don’t matter

I can’t help but be cynical and think the debates won’t end up mattering too much. Those of us people living on the prosperous edges of the country along the Acela corridor or California coast have too much faith in that facts and reason are convincing when they are not important to a lot of people. We also underestimate the narcissism of those voters on the left who’d rather risk the republic than vote for Clinton because they believe she’s just the lesser of two evils.

Note this is not factually true, but it doesn’t matter.

Tribalism and fear usually win out. Nice coastal liberals are usually shit in a fight and haven’t woken up that hardcore Trump supporters are a danger and need to be stopped with our votes and will. There’s no convincing of deplorable people. Their poverty and lost of an imagined past is no excuse. There’s no demographic blue wall and the belief that things will turn out okay and that your fellow citizens are smarter than that been has proven wrong over and over again in history and of late, look at what’s happened to the UK and Philippines.

You can call it the remnants of third world survivalism or being hood or whatever signifier you want, but I haven’t had enough cycles of generational safety and prosperity in my story to let my guard down and be complacent of such things. To realize that people will be violent bullies because bystanders do nothing. That such instability is a possible cycle of ruin that can spread like a virus.

You ever wonder why gun control can’t be solved? Because you have a fragmented coalition of people who otherwise outnumber those who won’t give an inch, but those devotees are united in an identity and narrative that no amount of facts or policy vision will convince. Only a more determined and united coalition can stop them. One cohesive identity group of only a sub-sect of gun owners continues to nullify lives in this country because they are one narrative and one voice versus a large vague cacophony of appalled people.

Clinton’s fragile coalition of American others have no binding narrative, nothing close to the Hope message of Obama or even Bush’s folksy everyman cloth. This has been the failure of the campaign, to confuse policy and facts with a binding narrative against a fascist mad man who has precisely that.

People like me care about policy points, facts, and numbers. The rest of this country, whether you think it is okay or not, needs a narrative of a villain and a hero. A national culture to believe in and to belong to. Only one candidate is offering that, and he’s offering it to people who would at best consider my existence as stealing their job and at worse who cheer on George Zimmerman. A page out of a very old playbook as America plays out its remix of Weimar Germany.

Some people are uncomfortable with calling so much of the country deplorable. I’m sure some of these people would be polite to me on the road and aren’t bloodthirsty racists in the put on a pointy white hat sense. I don’t question that some people supporting Trump as an expression of valid grievances with the government, in the way that even non-White Britons voted for the Brexit because of real unhappiness with the EU outside of immigration policy. However, going along with racists to get your piece on the agenda is the definition of complicity.

Those of us the other side, people who aren’t interested in voting, you are even more complicit. There’s a material threat here to fight. I use to like to say, at the end of the day this election isn’t really about you and me, it’s about the vulnerable. Not people like us who go to the farmers market to buy organic on weekends. I would actually venture to say I’m wrong, and he and his supporters are a material threat to all of us. History’s worst atrocities happened because of a determine and united group, even if smaller than the others, with a sense of aggrievement, false victimhood, and people to blame.

Give your money. Give your time. Go vote. Don’t give me some bullshit about living in a non-swing state, do you not realize there are other items on the ballet that can actually affect your life more than the the president? Get it together America.

PS: Also, maybe unlike a lot of you, I know what my life could be like if I wasn’t American. Maybe the American dream is more out-of-reach than it use to be, but there’s a reason why immigrants come here, want to become American, and succeed beyond our wildest dreams. If you don’t like how things are going, do something other than wax poetic about “not compromising for the revolution.” That is some bullshit excuse to avoid the hard work if what it actually takes to make change and you know it.

I am not a skittle.

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On Monday, in a building that’s less than a fifteen minute walk from my apartment, the UN General Assembly convened to tackle the world’s worst to-do list, in particular how to handle the refugee crisis.  That same day, Donald Trump’s son referred to refugees as poisonous skittles. Now that same administration is poised to take power.  

I’m here speaking today as someone who is a person, a proud American, and not a piece of candy.   

I’ve been following the refugee crisis probably more than the average American, and I’m reminded of a lot of writing that’s been haunting me in the last few weeks, such as the above New York Times article on refugees in Denmark.  It’s pretty terrible, for pretty much everyone involved, clearly some worst than others.  

As much as we’re having problems with Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism in the United States, it can pale in comparison to a lot of Europe.  This was quite vivid to me especially since I was just in Copenhagen and London shortly before the Brexit vote.

A Danish man actually tried to harass my friend and I when we were in Copenhagen asking, “why refugees get this and that?” and gibberish about some grievance about perceived allocations of resources.  We were kind of glib about it, but it was still troubling, which I wrote about awhile back about the irony of him going after two well-to-do vacationing Asian Americans descended from a recent refugee past.

Today I feel the call to speak again, echoing the words of the this year’s Pulitzer Prize author of The Sympathizer, Viet Thanh Nguyen:

Today, when many Americans think of Vietnamese-Americans as a success story, we forget that the majority of Americans in 1975 did not want to accept Vietnamese refugees. (A sign hung in the window of a store near my parents’ grocery: “Another American forced out of business by the Vietnamese.”) For a country that prides itself on the American dream, refugees are simply un-American, despite the fact that some of the original English settlers of this country, the Puritans, were religious refugees.

Today, Syrian refugees face a similar reaction. To some Europeans, these refugees seem un-European for reasons of culture, religion and language. And in Europe and the United States, the attacks in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Calif., and Orlando, Fla., have people fearing that Syrian refugees could be Islamic radicals, forgetting that those refugees are some of the first victims of the Islamic State.

Because those judgments have been rendered on many who have been cast out or who have fled, it is important for those of us who were refugees to remind the world of what our experiences mean.

People tend to have different frames of reference for who they identify with and who they humanize more.  This refugee situation has been particularly troubling for Asian Americans because it feels so familiar.  

Migrants pulled an inflatable boat crowded with Syrian refugees arriving last month from the Turkish coast on Lesbos island, Greece. From the NYTimes.

My family didn’t enter the United States as refugees.  We came as immigrants.  But our story of being in America came as a result of my grandparents fleeing China to Taiwan as the losing side in the Chinese Civil War who would have imprisoned, tortured, or slaughtered had they stayed.  We waishengren Taiwanese are not technically refugees.  However, many of the psychological wounds in experiences of our families who left their homes unwillingly to never see anyone or anything they knew again resonate on for our people.  Many felt that Taiwan could never be a place they could belong and left to the United States, bringing our story to this part of history I’m living in.  

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Fleeing China. Photo taken from China Times

As an Taiwanese American growing up in San Gabriel Valley and later attending a UC campus, I grew up around Asians who were refugees from the Vietnam War, eventually living with Hmong roommates in the dorms of a school that over-indexed for Asian Americans from these backgrounds.

As we Asian Americans converge with the histories of our peoples and our stories blurring into a shared collective memory, this narrative of unwanted people in boats cast fleeing destruction and persecution cast adrift in subsequent cycles of loss, alienation, discrimination, and suffering in strange lands is a potent arc in our story, one we see tragically being repeated now. 

Our psyches continue to bear witness to this history.

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Fleeing Vietnam.  Photo taken from Canadian Encyclopedia

Today, many Americans consider Vietnamese Americans a model minority, conveniently forgetting how unwanted they were and how hard they many have it and still have it. Some of them even consider themselves the good immigrant and shirk away from the Syrian refugee crisis.

For many Westerners, people in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, this idea of refugees continues as a faceless mass on dinghies in the sea or heartbreaking pictures of children, as those to be pitied or praised from afar but not to be dealt with as actual people. We don’t like to remember that the United States turned away Jewish refugees, including Anne Frank.

These pasts rendered not real.  People abstract.

It’s important for those us of who have these experiences to show our existence for those who cannot.  For those of us who see those adrift in the Mediterranean and see our own past staring back, we have to be real to counter the ignorant and the political opportunists that dehumanize other people.  

The St. Louis: A boat carrying Jewish Refugees refused by the ports of Cuba, Canada, and the United States. A quarter would eventually perish in Nazi death camps. Picture from Wikipedia.

As Nguyen writes:

We can be invisible even to one another. But it is precisely because I do not look like a refugee that I have to proclaim being one, even when those of us who were refugees would rather forget that there was a time when the world thought us to be less than human.

Many former Southeast Asian refugees are helping Syrians.  I continue to advocate that the United States and Canada, despite imperfections, are much better suited to give refugees an accepting home.  

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This picture of a gay Syrian refugee with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Pride and Aatish Taseer’s articulation of his love for America they day he got his green card paint a more vivid picture than any empirical example of success in re-settling people why these places have been and continue to be more prepared to integrate people than parts of Western Europe.  

It is important for those of us who have memory and can bear witness as real people living in the West must continue to hold values sacred, to articulate humanity, and also to fight, we have to fight, against the tide of bigotry, intolerance, and inaction. These battles have to be refought every generation. There is never a moment which these values are safe, especially now. 

To Start:

Trump’s ‘Losers’ of Capitalism Army

Some scary as shit from NYTimes: Voices From Donald Trump’s Supporters Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 12.16.40 AM.png

I have to wonder if there is some dark side of capitalism and structural change when mixed with an entitled group if people fall behind. The unsympathetic side of me would say these racist losers who probably have no skills for the 21st century deserve to be poor and forgotten. After all, isn’t our system supposed to reward those who work hardest (in theory)? If people can cross oceans and deserts and care out better lives than them, why the fuck should I give a shit about them? Full disclaimer if you couldn’t tell already from the blog title, I’m an Asian person. I could make the argument I probably pay tons of taxes for their welfare and they probably hate seeing someone like me living a much better life than them or god forbid a Black president who was the son of an immigrant. But then the on the flipside, they literally are a flaming trash fire of danger to everyone including themselves. I also generally believe in alleviating the suffering of the downtrodden, if not to just to save my own skin with keeping society stable.

The United States is hardly the first country to have seen a middle class get gutted because of mechanization, globalism, and other structural changes. I have to wonder though if the natural conclusion and human nature is to blaming other people and turn against each other when you live in a diverse society. It’s not as if middle class people in other developed countries haven’t started facing salary crunches long before the United States did, but it spurred renaissance of small businesses and people finding other ways to live, even if obviously is not ideal (I’m thinking particularly of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong here) and cope. In the West, we have resurgent xenophobia, racism, and the strange economic and political self-immolation with actions such as the Brexit and supporting an unstable demagogue. Once you get entitled people in a frenzy, fearful, and desperate, they’ll believe anything someone says. Also, while these people aren’t anyway near a majority of the country, it’s not as if vengeful and prejudiced minority groups haven’t exercised tyranny over entire countries for significant and devastating periods of time (the Serbs in the Balkan wars, White South Africans, upper classes in South America, the KMT-in-exile in Taiwan, colonialism the world over). Unfortunately, generally educated peace-loving cosmopolitan people are shit in a fight and slow to wake up and stand up to barbarism. Just saying.

Thoughts on Sadiq versus Trump and the rise of ‘Others’ in the West

I’m a little late to this party, but it seems that the Western world is facing a reckoning, will it let the the people imported for essentially subordinate labor rise in meritocracy? Are people willing to face reality, history, and an integrated future as equals?

It’s easy to imagine London, possibly the most cosmopolitan and global of cities electing Sadiq Khan (sorry New York). It’s harder to imagine the masses of Europe or the United States be nearly as accepting (maybe Canada?).

A particular proclivity of these multicultural countries is joyfully celebrating token celebrities and successes, yay enjoying Beyonce and Barack on TV, cheer on Mario Balotelli and Zidane Zidane, but secretly hating accountability for history and non-White male superiors and ideologies that don’t place past practices and power as supreme.

In the United States, our reckoning has come. It’s everything from Black Lives Matter to the Bernie Bros.  We’re at a strange moment in history, White anxiety and racism versus the cacophonous rise of ‘the other America’ and everything in between. (See the disconnect between those thinking minorities wanting token unmerited representation versus those of us who are sick of seeing our talent and work denied in favor of upholding White mediocrity). It’s going to be a rough one.