This video’s made the rounds, and I felt compelled to write some about it. It’s not a great panel, but it’s good that the video was made and put out there for a general audience that might not be too familiar with the current debate/infighting.
I’m not going to dig too deep into the video, because it was relatively shallow. So here’s a list of the people.
They were all largely pro or semi-pro public figures.
I leaned toward siding with Ellen Acuario and Ziad Ahmed, and that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Ellen is a comedian and mom who I used to follow in Tik Tok, and Ziad is a overachiever guy / gen Z comms guru who does Ted Talks and visits the White House to meet with Obama.
I thought the conservatives Vince Dao and Vish Burra made their positions look ridiculous.
Vince is some kind of ultra-right Christian pundit who got kicked off Twitter.
Vish is an ultra-right GOP insider (along with Wu, below), and worked for Matt Gaetz, of the Marjorie Taylor Green fanclub. The TL;DR: I think these guys are white supremacist people of color.
(Vish’s cached Twitter profile had a link to Mike Cernovich, an anti-feminist, manosphere, ultraright, conspiracy theorist who sometimes hosted the Alex Jones Show.)
So, no wonder they seemed ridiculous. They’re professional trolls, and their gig is trying to put a melanated face on white conservative talking points.
I’ll call Ellen, Ziad, Vince, and Vish the Loud Four, because they were the most argumentative. That’s no surprise: they’re professional arguers.
The Loud Four were largely repeating talking points that fall on a left vs. right, poc vs. white perspective.
The others, I found to be more authentic in their uncertainty and confusion.
Conservative Joyce Wu – insider in the NYC Young Republican Club. I feel like she could flip and become a Conservadem once the GOP goes fully fascist.
Yu Ling Wu – Social Media brand consultant, and an actor on some reality show. She tried to push a race+class angle.
Yasna Vismale – had encouraging things to say about being a proud Japanese and proud Black person, and embracing diversity. She is the only one to get a link, because she has a YouTube channel that makes me feel good, and wish I grew up with a mom like her’s.
Joven Calloway seemed pretty authentic in his identity crisis. He’s an actor.
Micah Cueja had nice things to say about Hawaii. He’s an actor.
I was disappointed that they didn’t have a Democratic Party insider who does elections and coalition politics. They had two NYC GOP insiders, and one seems to be a bridge to fascism.
I was also disappointed they didn’t have one of the older radicals who helped create and push the Asian American movement and identity. This, being Vice, they probably didn’t want a wrinkly 65 year old activist on. I get it.
They didn’t go into the class or gender angles. It would have taken a lot longer, but… that’s where all the heat is at these days!
These panelists seemed to have different definitions of “assimilation”. None of them considered:
Once two groups have assimilated into each other, you can’t tell them apart.
White ethnic people have basically assimilated into whiteness, and into each other. National or ethnic distinctions have been reduced to the point where people can’t identify differences by observing one another. We have to ask about ethnicity.
Asians have not assimilated into whiteness – and it’s not for lack of trying. It’s because the broader “white” society doesn’t rapidly assimilate people into whiteness. Rather, it’s created barriers to entry, for Asian, Black, and Native American people. It’s also kicked both Latinos and Middle Eastern people out of whiteness during the 20th century.
Black society, however, quickly assimilates people, if they look Black. Yasna is assimilated into Blackness, even though, culturally, I get the impression she’s Japanese. She asserted her Japanese-ness during the panel, and she makes it part of her videos.
I get the impression Vince Dao wants to be white. He got that 25% Italian genetics, and ran with it! Maybe he could get plastic surgery, get his eyes altered, and maybe lighten up his skin tone. With technology, it’s possible.
This part of the video was mainly about rehashing a lot of debates. To understand the origins of the MM, see:
Brian Niiya on William Petersen’s Success Story, Japanese American Style
The “Model Minority Myth” story is a “myth” and a “lie”. It’s a story about hardship and success, but it’s not the whole picture.
- The MMM hides the poverty in the AAPI communities.
- Poor AAPI people feel invisible, and often are. People come up with some wild ideas:
- That Asians who look poor have a secret stash of money.
- That Asians who don’t act middle class white are “not really Asian American.” They get jokes about “actually Mexican” or “actually Black”.
- Low-performing AAPI people are not believed to exist, though they do. They might be doing poorly in school, but their need for additional help might be ignored.
- Unhoused/homeless AAPI people are invisible. People see them, but don’t think they’re Asian, or don’t think they’re actually homeless.
- AAPI people who get caught up in the criminal life, do crimes, and end up in prison are ignored.
- On the other hand, they might not be suspected, in some situations.
- Poor AAPI people feel invisible, and often are. People come up with some wild ideas:
- The MMM was crafted to pit Asians against Black people.
- Specifically, that first article above pits Japanese Americans against Black people, which is particularly insidious, because Japanese American civil rights activists participated in the larger Civil Rights Movement.
- The MMM is told to Asians to prevent them from having sympathy with Black peoples’ struggles. It’s a form of brainwashing:
- On the one hand, we’re abused by the master or anyone willing to be a henchman.
- On the other hand, we’re told we are loved, if we follow the master’s rules.
- If you can’t follow the rules, you don’t count. Sometimes, even another Asian will kick you out of the “Asian” category.
- Implicit in this is the idea that “Asians hate Black people”.
- Latino and white people will say something anti-Black to an Asian person to probe if the Asian person is also racist, and try to “bond” on that basis.
- This leads to assumptions of Asian guilt when there’s a conflict between Asian and Black person.
- If there’s a fight between an Asian kid and a Black kid, the Black kid can claim the Asian kid was saying something racist, and the Asian kid gets expelled.
- The MMM was crafted to argue against having the government provide remedies to end racism, poverty stemming from racism, and racism in social aid, and racism at work.
- AAPI needs for social assistance may go ignored.
- AAPI needs for mental health counseling might go ignored.
- AAPI needs for education assistance might be ignored.
- The MMM presents Asians as a foreign “uber-mind” or “robotic whiz kids”, which aligns with the post 1965 immigration policies that favor middle class, educated immigrants, and also millionaires and corporate management.
- These class-biased immigration policies erase the existence of poor and working class Asian immigrants, so they live in shadows.
- The immigration policies set up Asias to be slotted into jobs with no career ladder, so we can remain intellectual workhorses for American society.
- This reduces opportunities for Asian Americans who want to do things that don’t fit into the “uber-mind whiz kid” stereotype.
- The MMM argues that Asians are “outdoing whites” by referencing statistics that reduce Asian Americans to averages about income, college test scores, and educational level.
- It’s treating life as a contest to be scored. Asians, brainwashed by this “positive stereotype”, overfocus on these things, to get through the system, and then learn that actual American society (not the conservative pundit class) doesn’t like us doing too well on any of these measures.
- In some cases, these stats are the basis of:
- Hating Asian Americans.
- Not caring that Asian Americans are hated.
- Not believing hate incidents happen.
- And when a hate incident happens, not believing it was a hate incident.
I’m tired and can’t go on any longer, to get into #StopAsianHate, which is the most important thing happening for Asian Americans, and Asians in the West, today. I’m also missing the cis-het gendered male and female roles within the MMM.
Burra and Joyce Wu are in the NYC Young Republicans Club, which recently had a gala that invited alt-right neofascist participation.
Vice, which was co-founded by Gavin McInnnes, founder of the neofascist Proud Boys, has helped to platform people who are complicit in moving the Republican Party closer to Fascism.
Vince Dao kept implying that the only group attacking Asians was Black people. This is simply not true. A breakdown of stats and facts, contrasting with narratives, was published by Janelle Wong and Rossina Zamora Liu: Between Empirical Data and Anti-Blackness: A Critical Perspective on Anti-Asian Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents