Asian guys are increasingly refusing the assimilationist liberalism that often excludes them, so is the alt-right a natural landing spot for those who fall out of the collapsing center? Teen, Chris, and Jess talk about the need for a new progressive Asian political identity.
The following are edited excerpts from “What If Asian Guys Go Alt-Right?”, the 2nd episode of Plan A’s podcast, Escape From Plan A. Oxford’s article on Asian guys and the alt-right can be read here:
If you’re an Asian guy and you join the alt-right, then you’re a fucking moron. Period.
There is this other identity happening online and I actually think that’s more prevalent than going alt-right. It’s this sort of Asian nationalist identity, where they’re not exactly pro-alt-right, but they take on this almost comical hard-line stance of being, say, pro-Chinese.
Quite honestly, these Asian nationalists are borrowing the lingo and whole nationalist rhetoric form the alt-right, but applied to a very specific context. This is the incredibly hard-line, pro-China, and any critique on Asia or Asians is seen as an attack on Asia or Asian Americans. Their identity as Asian Americans has to align more with their Asian identities than American identities. And it’s policing at the very edges too, very concerned about concepts like purity — however you want to define that — and viewing it all through the lens of being Asian.
If you strip down everything, what is the thing that’s really at issue here among Asian Americans? And my theory is that it’s about this right to assimilate without any scrutiny. If you strip away the window-dressing of policy-oriented things, like reproductive rights or taxes or any of the typical “white,” so-called neutral political stances… If you get to the heart of it, it’s about this right to assimilate without question.
Did you notice that a lot of the article’s critics used “intersectionality”? They’ll come out and just be like, “You forgot that this issue is a lot more complicated.” You hear this all the fucking time, this appeal to intersectionality. What that does is establish these intersectional coordinates — Asian and Male — and they can say all this hateful shit about Asian men, but because it’s intersectional, they say it’s about men, not Asians. But actually, they’re pretty fucking anti-Asian. The intersectionality is a way for them to have two coordinates — race and gender — and they can say all this hateful shit, but you can’t call them a racist because they’ll claim they’re being feminist and hitting the male coordinate, not the Asian coordinate.
I’m wondering if there’s a disconnect in tribal affiliation. Because in reading through the extreme disconnect in the reactions from some Asian women to Oxford’s article — especially that girl who just invited everyone, particularly white guys, to take a shit all over your piece on Facebook — it made me wonder if there’s a question of tribal identity. Like for her, her tribal identity would be feminist, “social justice warrior” maybe, a whole host of liberal-friendly buzzwords, but race would be dead last. Whereas here, we’re talking through the lens of race first and this is a tribal marker that’s been de-prioritized for her and inconvenient for her.