I thoroughly dislike when Asian Americans are compared to African Americans/Blacks. Perhaps Asians are more comparable to Latinos, who are able in some cases to “pass” for white (ex. Italian). African Americans/Blacks carry the weight of the reputation of their ethnicity wherever they go. They can seldom “pass.”
I know from first-hand experience that even when you do not act in accordance to your race’s stereotype, there will be some white people who wonder why you don’t, and they will look at you as though you are some sort of defective person or oddity. I’ve been told that I do not sing like a black person because I prefer pop music, don’t “act” like a black person, don’t talk like a black person. It is infuriating.
The reason I find the comparison highly insulting is that African Americans/Blacks, unlike Asians, have endured hundreds of years of discrimination (and torture) of a physical and psychological nature.
Asians didn’t have their families bought and sold like cattle. They were allowed to keep their familial relationships. They were not overwhelmingly hung from trees, denied the right to vote, denied the right to think of themselves as human, have their churches burned, etc.
These events caused damage to the psyche of a community by increasing frustration and lowering self confidence and the belief that you can meaningfully affect change in your life. So it angers me when we are supposed to “get it together” and collectively become “puritanical” scholars and entrepreneurs when education and ownership (business and private) denied to us for YEARS.
Whites like Asians because they are capable of embracing the white way of thinking as the norm. They often don’t challenge white society. I’ve noticed that Asians are often okay with denying certain parts of their culture to completely assimilate into the mainstream white culture. You don’t hear Asians complain as much as other minorities about being underrepresented in film, for example. I’ve heard some Asian women prefer white men, because they find Asian men “unattractive.”
Yes, a good work ethic is great. Agreed. But when talking about the black community, people forget that it is as if an atomic bomb was dropped on a populace and no one cared. Instead, white people are scratching their heads and wondering why there are mutations in the subsequent generations. The United States government has done very little to rectify the fact that almost everyone else (except Native Americans) have had a healthy head start in terms of education, privilege, and entrepreneurship when compared to blacks. Some whites have failed to be empathetic on these points.
The civil rights movement just happened people; let’s be realistic.
Despite immigrant status, racism affects every black person; so I was hoping for more of an optimistic takeaway from the book—a way forward through this mess. Instead, the book is depressing and cynical. Whites are allowed to retain their optimism, hope, happiness, nationalism and God; blacks are left to be cynical, depressed atheists waiting for a secular deity (the law? the government?) to save them. It reads to me as resignation.
More on that “hope vs. despair” debate here, here, and here. Another reader on the “model minority”:
The perception that some cultures value education and success more than others feeds into dangerous stereotyping. As a Latino who has spent most of his life in majority Latino communities, I can say with confidence that Latinos don’t suffer a cultural deficiency in wanting their kids to succeed. I have a hard time believing that the achievement gap exists because some cultures don’t have enough honor.
Ta-Nehisi Coates has done a great job of drawing a line through slavery, Jim Crow and mass incarceration to show how conscious policy decisions can benefit one race of people while casting out the other. While there’s no doubt that many in the Asian American community have overcome racism and discrimination to find success, it isn’t because they rose to the top of a meritocracy. There’s always help along the way. The reparations made to the Japanese Americans after World War II is a good example of that.
How to achieve educational equity is debatable, but it won't be accomplished by telling blacks, Latinos and other underachieving minorities that they don’t have their priorities straight.
The highly selective UC campuses are known, sometimes bitterly, to serve especially disproportionate numbers of Asian students; Asians famously make up half of the undergraduates at UC Irvine, for example, which was No. 1 on Leonhardt’s list. By highlighting economic diversity in lieu of its race-based cousin, this year’s Upshot and Washington Monthly rankings may support arguments that the state’s ban on race-blind admissions discriminations has shortchanged blacks and Latinos in favor of whites and Asians. While that may very well be true, the rankings offer an opportunity to highlight nuances to the “model minority” stereotype and the ways in which it hinders economic equality in education.
The irony being the people most “bitter” about the Asian-American students are so-called progressives who claim to care about minority groups.
Why is Asian achievement in the UC system so quickly dismissed? As any reader of The Atlantic knows, these Asian kids live in a country founded on “white supremacy,” a country where “white privilege” rules and where they experience microaggressions. You would think people who claim to care about minorities would celebrate this accomplishment. But they actually describe the UC system—a system where whites are underrepresented relative to the white population of California—as a system with an admissions policy based on “white privilege.” They must go through a lot of mental gymnastics to come to that conclusion.
A countervailing view from another reader:
Asians don’t go through nearly as many microaggressions as other minorities. They aren’t put down and treated as if they’re thugs or criminals purely because of skin color. They also haven’t been nearly as oppressed as other groups. There are still African Americans alive from the time when they weren’t allowed to vote or go to good colleges.
Asians in California are typically pretty wealthy, and the average Asian family might even be wealthier than the average white family.
That’s true, according to this data from the Public Policy Institute of California:
Because of this wealth disparity, Asian Americans live in better neighborhoods with better schools and can afford all the tutoring and extracurriculars they did. Most Hispanics and African Americans have much lower income, resulting in getting the shorter end of the stick by needing to go to lower quality schools because they have less money and resources to be as competitive.
For example, SAT workshops are expensive (I did a few about four years ago) and nearly everyone else except myself were wealthy Asians. They can afford to be taking those classes/workshops for four or more years, whereas the average Hispanic/African American family can’t afford the four digit cost to even do one. You don’t think that makes a difference on the end result?
Another reader doesn’t buy that argument:
Asians don’t go through as many “microaggressions” as other minorities TODAY because Asians behave differently, have different values, attitudes and behaviors, and therefore different socioeconomic outcomes. Asians went though more micro AND macro-aggressions that any other minority at the turn of the 20th century, and certainly during WWII. But they triumphed over racism and poverty because of their intelligence, honor, value systems, and their cultural priorities, combined with a work ethic as strong as the Puritans’.
It is 100 percent cause-and-effect. And when we’re finally willing to publicly admit it, THEN we can earnestly attempt to close the achievement gap. But the only possible way to do it is for the under-performing minorities to change their cultures.
Disagree? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get a debate going. But here’s some quick historical context to go along with that last reader’s point about Asian Americans being macroaggressed during WWII—the most egregious example being internment, of course:
In 1988, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, [which] provided financial redress of $20,000 for each surviving detainee, totaling $1.2 billion. The question of to whom reparations should be given, how much, and even whether monetary reparations were appropriate were subjects of sometimes contentious debate within the Japanese-American community and Congress.
On September 27, 1992, the Civil Liberties Act Amendments of 1992, appropriating an additional $400 million to ensure all remaining internees received their $20,000 redress payments, was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush. He issued another formal apology from the U.S. government on December 7, 1991, on the 50th-Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack, saying:
In remembering, it is important to come to grips with the past. No nation can fully understand itself or find its place in the world if it does not look with clear eyes at all the glories and disgraces of its past. We in the United States acknowledge such an injustice in our history. The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated.
Three Atlantic staffers discuss “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” the second episode of Season 8.
Every week for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, three Atlantic staffers will be discussing new episodes of the HBO drama. Because no screeners were made available to critics in advance this year, we’ll be posting our thoughts in installments.
David Sims: Last week’s episode of Game of Thrones was all about the human stakes of the conflict ahead, and the unlikely alliances and friendships that had been forged over the past seven seasons. “Winterfell” existed to build up serious dramatic tension ahead of the climactic clash with the Night King and his army of the dead. This week’s episode, titled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” and written by series mainstay Bryan Cogman, served the exact same purpose. Set on the eve before battle, it saw almost all of the show’s friendly characters gather at Winterfell to hash out old grievances, pursue long-simmering romances, and generally cast a wistful glance back at all the crazy circumstances that brought them together.
A number of Democratic power brokers wanted Representative Joe Kennedy to run for president. He consulted with family members and said no.
FALL RIVER, Mass.—Four new members of the House were hanging out at a bar back at the end of 2012, after a long day of new-member orientation at Harvard’s Kennedy School: Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts, Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, and Eric Swalwell of California.
A woman approached the table, and caught O’Rourke’s eye.
“She’s like, ‘Are you who I think you are?’ And I thought, I just won this seat in Texas and she knows about me, and this is cool. I’m big-time,” O’Rourke told me last year, a few months before his Senate run took off. “And I say, ‘Well, yeah, I think I am.’ She’s like, ‘You’ve got to come over to my table. All my friends want to meet you. This is crazy.’ So I go over and we’re taking pictures.”
It’s much less scientific—and more prone to gratuitous procedures—than you may think.
In the early 2000s Terry Mitchell’s dentist retired. For a while, Mitchell, an electrician in his 50s, stopped seeking dental care altogether. But when one of his wisdom teeth began to ache, he started looking for someone new. An acquaintance recommended John Roger Lund, whose practice was a convenient 10-minute walk from Mitchell’s home, in San Jose, California. Lund’s practice was situated in a one-story building with clay roof tiles that housed several dental offices. The interior was a little dated, but not dingy. The waiting room was small and the decor minimal: some plants and photos, no fish. Lund was a good-looking middle-aged guy with arched eyebrows, round glasses, and graying hair that framed a youthful face. He was charming, chatty, and upbeat. At the time, Mitchell and Lund both owned Chevrolet Chevelles, and they bonded over their mutual love of classic cars.
“James’s performance, I’m sure, is causing grief for an accountant somewhere.”
Ken Jennings rose to fame after an unprecedented run on Jeopardy 15 years ago: Over the course of 74 episodes, he won a total of roughly $2.5 million.
Recently, a contestant named James Holzhauer has been working toward Jennings’s record at an astonishing pace. After the Friday-evening broadcast of the quiz program, Holzhauer had won about $850,000 over just 12 episodes. If he keeps up that rate, he’ll reach $2.5 million in less than half the time it took Jennings to do so.
Better to run than to have your liver squeezed out.
The great white shark—a fast, powerful, 16-foot-long torpedo that’s armed to the teeth with teeth—has little to fear except fear itself. But also: killer whales.
For almost 15 years, Salvador Jorgensen from the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been studying great white sharks off the coast of California. He and his colleagues would lure the predators to their boats using bits of old carpet that they had cut in the shape of a seal. When the sharks approached, the team would shoot them with electronic tags that periodically emit ultrasonic signals. Underwater receivers, moored throughout Californian waters, detected these signals as the sharks swam by, allowing the team to track their whereabouts over time.
Gérard Araud says that Trump is right about trade. Kushner is “extremely smart” but has “no guts.” And John Bolton’s not so bad, actually.
Gérard Araud, the charmingly blunt French ambassador to the United States, is famous for two things: the lavish parties he hosts at his Kalorama mansion, and his willingness to say (and tweet) things that other ambassadors might not even think, much less state in public.
Araud ends his nearly five-year tenure in Washington today, and when I spoke with him last week, he was, even by his usual standards, direct to the point of discomfort. He told me his view of the U.S. (“The role of the United States as a policeman of the world, it’s over”) and Donald Trump (“brutal, a bit primitive, but in a sense he’s right” on free trade), and he shared his opinions of John Bolton (he’s a “real professional,” even though “he hates international organizations”) and Jared Kushner (“extremely smart, but he has no guts”).
Democrats and Republicans echo Trump’s anti-Beijing rhetoric, but escalating tensions could leave Americans far worse off.
News reports suggest that in the coming weeks, the United States and China will sign an agreement that repeals the tariffs the two nations have been levying on each other’s goods for the past nine months. If past behavior is any guide, Donald Trump will call it the greatest deal ever, and global markets will breathe a sigh of relief. But the deal will likely constitute only a modest pause in Washington’s growing hostility toward Beijing.
That’s partly because, for Trump, no agreement is truly final. The president, The New York Times recently observed, “has repeatedly agreed to new trade terms with foreign partners, then talked about undoing those deals to achieve additional goals.” Trump has already begun to renege on commitments made as part of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, which he hailed as “incredible” in October.
The students have survived watching their teacher demonstrate how to put a condom on a “wooden penis model.” They’ve been assigned homework to find examples of contraception use in sex scenes in movies or TV shows. But before they go, they have one final lesson, one last barrier method for their teacher to sheepishly explain: the dental dam, a latex sheet used as a barrier during oral sex.
According to a sex-ed curriculum used by school districts in San Diego, Boston, Portland, and elsewhere, their teacher would show them how to remove a dam from its package and place it over genitalia by forming an “O” with their hand. The instructor would inform the students that dental dams are flavored, and that they should only be used once and then thrown away. Most important, the teacher would instruct them to always use dental dams when performing oral sex on women, or they’ll be at risk of transmitting STIs.There’s just one problem: The pupils are unlikely ever to take their teachers up on the suggestion. Even the teachers, preaching about the dangers of STIs, have probably never bought one themselves.
These two very different stories have more in common than meets the eye. In each case, there’s a central tension between the president and aides who refuse to execute orders from him that they believe are illegal or foolish. Mueller’s report is packed with incidents in which White House staff not only didn’t do things Trump said, but never had any intention of doing them. In the case of the border, Immigration and Customs Enforcement staff rebuffed Trump’s plan to bus migrants on legal grounds; meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan refused to turn away migrants seeking asylum, concluding that it was illegal. (Nielsen was sacked soon after, while McAleenan is now her acting replacement.)
Americans are consuming more and more stuff. Now that other countries won’t take our papers and plastics, they’re ending up in the trash.
After decades of earnest public-information campaigns, Americans are finally recycling. Airports, malls, schools, and office buildings across the country have bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans and newspapers. In some cities, you can be fined if inspectors discover that you haven’t recycled appropriately.
But now much of that carefully sorted recycling is ending up in the trash.
For decades, we were sending the bulk of our recycling to China—tons and tons of it, sent over on ships to be made into goods such as shoes and bags and new plastic products. But last year, the country restricted imports of certain recyclables, including mixed paper—magazines, office paper, junk mail—and most plastics. Waste-management companies across the country are telling towns, cities, and counties that there is no longer a market for their recycling. These municipalities have two choices: pay much higher rates to get rid of recycling, or throw it all away.