iZombie S01

S01E01: Female South Asian medical doctor, European male heterosexualization (European female fiance, European female thinks he is an attractive catch, upper chest nudity, implied dating of European female, married European male pimps three European females), male South Asian medical doctor with British accent, Afropean male detective, East Asian male police lieutenant.

S01E02: Heterosexualized Latino males (married to Latina, multiple affairs with European females, impregnates European female, European girlfriend, wants to assault a European female), European male heterosexualization (zombie male sexes European female, sexually desires married Latina), Latino male feminization: one is killed by his wife, the other beaten by a female European zombie], South Asian male lusts after European female.

S01E03: European male heterosexualization (European female refers to one as “eye candy”, kisses European female).

S01E04: European male heterosexualization (upper chest nudity [x3], sexing European female [x2]), East Asian male feminization (dead gangster, another states he is into “white girls”, physically assaults European female, gets beaten by European female, said female states “… you got your ass kicked by a girl, get over it”, Daniel Lim credited as “Whimpering Asian Skell”, Andy Yu credited as “Humorless Clerk”).

 

S01E05: European male heterosexualization (wants to date European female, past European girlfriend, present European girlfriend played by Aryo-Dravidian-Latina female, upper chest nudity, physically violent with a much taller and bigger European male).

S01E06: European male heterosexualization (upper chest nudity, moves from London to Seattle for a girl, kisses European female), South Asian male doctor is an online gaming nerd.

S01E07: European male heterosexualization (impregnates European female, upper chest nudity), elderly Afropean male doctor.

S01E08: European male heterosexualization (upper chest nudity [x3], sexing European female [x4], married with dead lover and multiple sexual partners, violent gang members, married to European female), South Asian male gawks at European female, feminized East Asian male (lieutenant controlled by European male).

S01E09: European male heterosexualization (zombie boasts “Sex I can get whenever I want …”, kisses and sexes European female) Afropean male heterosexualization (elite sniper, married to Afropean female with female child, physically assaults Afropean male).

S01E10: European male heterosexualization (sexes European female prostitute).

S01E11: South Asian male dates and sexes European female, European male heterosexualization (sexes European female, upper chest nudity, sexes European female, kisses European female), European female lusts after Afropean male, European female states that sex with a South Asian male is “all we do”.

S01E13: European male heterosexualization (upper chest nudity [x3]).

Repost: The real reasons the U.S. became less racist toward Asian Americans

The real reasons the U.S. became less racist toward Asian Americans by Jeff Guo

Between 1940 and 1970, something remarkable happened to Asian Americans. Not only did they surpass African Americans in average household earnings, but they also closed the wage gap with whites.

Many people credit this upward mobility to investments in education. But according to a recent study by Brown University economist Nathaniel Hilger, schooling rates among Asian Americans didn’t change all that significantly during those three decades. Instead, Hilger’s research suggests that Asian Americans started to earn more because their fellow Americans became less racist toward them.

How did that happen? About the same time that Asian Americans were climbing the socioeconomic ladder, they also experienced a major shift in their public image. At the outset of the 20th century, Asian Americans had often been portrayed as threatening, exotic and degenerate. But by the 1950s and 1960s, the idea of the model minority had begun to take root. Newspapers often glorified Asian Americans as industrious, law-abiding citizens who kept their heads down and never complained.

Some people think that racism toward Asians diminished because Asians “proved themselves” through their actions. But that is only a sliver of the truth. Then, as now, the stories of successful Asians were elevated, while the stories of less successful Asians were diminished. As historian Ellen Wu explains in her book, “The Color of Success,” the model minority stereotype has a fascinating origin story, one that’s tangled up in geopolitics, the Cold War and the civil rights movement.

To combat racism, minorities in the United States have often attempted to portray themselves as upstanding citizens capable of assimilating into mainstream culture. Asian Americans were no different, Wu writes. Some, like the Chinese, sought respectability by promoting stories about their obedient children and their traditional family values. The Japanese pointed to their wartime service as proof of their shared Americanness.

African Americans in the 1940s made very similar appeals. But in the postwar moment, Wu argues, it was only convenient for political leaders to hear the Asian voices.

The model minority narrative may have started with Asian Americans, but it was quickly co-opted by white politicians who saw it as a tool to win allies in the Cold War. Discrimination was not a good look on the international stage. Embracing Asian Americans “provided a powerful means for the United States to proclaim itself a racial democracy and thereby credentialed to assume the leadership of the free world,” Wu writes. Stories about Asian American success were turned into propaganda.

By the 1960s, anxieties about the civil right movement caused white Americans to further invest in positive portrayals of Asian Americans. The image of the hard-working Asian became an extremely convenient way to deny the demands of African Americans. As Wu describes in her book, both liberal and conservative politicians pumped up the image of Asian Americans as a way to shift the blame for black poverty. If Asians could find success within the system, politicians asked, why couldn’t African Americans?

“The insinuation was that hard work along with unwavering faith in the government and liberal democracy as opposed to political protest were the keys to overcoming racial barriers as well as achieving full citizenship,” she writes.

Recently, Wu and I chatted on the phone about her book and the model minority stereotype — how it was equal parts truth, propaganda and self-enforcing prophecy.

Can you tell us a little bit about the question that got you started on this book?

WU: America in general has had very limited ways of thinking about Asian Americans. There are very few ways in which we exist in the popular imagination. In the mid- to late-19th century, all the way through the late 1940s and 1950s, Asians were thought of as “brown hordes” or as the “yellow peril.” There was the sinister, weird, “Fu Manchu” stereotype.

Yet, by the middle of the 1960s, Asian Americans had undergone this really arresting racial makeover. Political leaders, journalists, social scientists — all these people in the public eye — seemed to suddenly be praising Asian Americans as so-called model minorities.

I thought that might be a very interesting question to try to unravel.

How did these earliest stereotypes — these very negative, nasty images — take root?

Asian Americans first started coming in significant numbers during the California Gold Rush. Chinese immigrants came to do mining, then they ended up working on the Transcontinental Railroad, and agriculture. When those jobs died down, a lot of them moved to the cities where they started working in manufacturing.

At that time, in the 1870s, the economy wasn’t doing that well in California. White American workers were very anxious about keeping their jobs. They looked around and they saw these newcomers who seemed very different from them.

There already had been a long tradition in the Western world of portraying the “Orient” as unknowable and mysterious. American workers started attaching these ideas to the Chinese newcomers, who were an easy target for white American anxieties about the growth of industrial capitalism and the undermining of workers’ autonomy and freedom. They believed that the Chinese threatened American independence and threatened American freedom.

These ideas were particularly popular among the white working class at the time. The momentum started to build in the American West. There was the Workingmen’s Party in California — one of their platforms was “The Chinese must go.” That’s how they rallied people. And they were very successful at it.

By 1882, Congress passed the first of a series of Chinese Exclusion Acts, which was the first time a race- and class-based group — Chinese workers — were singled out by American immigration law. The Chinese Exclusion Acts restricted their entry into the United States and said they couldn’t become naturalized citizens.

What’s really striking is that in the 1890s, the federal government even mandated a Chinese registry. That sounds a lot like this issue of the Muslim registry today, right?

A lot of what you’re describing sounds familiar today — the economic anxiety bleeding into racial anxiety, the targeting of outsiders …

Absolutely. There are a lot of resonances. What’s happening today didn’t spring out of nowhere — it has a very long history in the United States.

Can you describe some of these old stereotypes? I think that most people have some idea from old Hollywood movies, but it’s just such a contrast to how Asians Americans are portrayed today.

The ways in which Americans thought about these “Orientals” hinged a lot on moral differences and on issues of gender, sexuality and family.

Many great historians and scholars have done work on this. The major groups that came before World War II were the Chinese, Japanese, South Asians, Koreans and Filipinos. There were both similarities and differences in how the groups were viewed, but generally they were thought to be threatening — significantly different in a negative sense.

For the most part, a lot of Asian immigrants weren’t Christian, so that was suspect. American Chinatowns had a thriving vice economy, so gambling, prostitution and drugs became popularly associated with Asians. (Of course, some of the same white Americans who were criticizing Asians were also the ones participating in these activities.)

There was this idea of moral depravity. At the time, the Chinese and Filipinos and South Asians in America were mostly single, able-bodied young men, so that also raised a lot of eyebrows. It looked like they were sexually wayward.

If you look at old stereotypical imagery of Asians in political cartoons, the way they tend to be depicted is that they are not aligned with white, middle-class notions of respectable masculinity. There’s the long hair, the flowing clothing that didn’t quite look masculine yet didn’t quite look feminine — or maybe it was something in-between, as some scholars have argued.

The women were also thought of as morally suspect — as prostitutes, sexually promiscuous, that kind of thing.

An important argument in your book is that Asians were complicit in the creation of the model minority myth. The way we talk about this issue today, it’s as if the white majority imposed this stereotype on Asian communities — but your research shows that’s not the case. How did it really get started?

Absolutely. That is a critical point to understand. The model minority myth as we see it today was mainly an unintended outcome of earlier attempts by Asians Americans to be accepted and recognized as human beings. They wanted to be seen as American people who were worthy of respect and dignity.

At lot was at stake. At the time, Asians were living life under an exclusion regime that had many similarities to Jim Crow — not the same as Jim Crow, but certainly a cousin of Jim Crow. There was a whole matrix of laws and discriminatory practices.

By 1924, all immigration from Asia had been completely banned. Asians were considered under the law “aliens ineligible for citizenship.” There were all these racial restrictions to citizenship under the law — and the last of these didn’t fall until 1952.

Asian Americans tended to be restricted to segregated neighborhoods, segregated schools. They often did not have the kind of job prospects that white people had. They would be barred from certain kinds of employment either by law or by custom.

In 1937, a young U.S.-born Japanese-American man lamented that even if you went to college, you could only end up being a “professional carrot-washer.” That was really true for a lot of people. They had very limited options for social mobility. And of course there was also violence — lynchings.

So for Asian Americans, one survival strategy was to portray themselves as “good Americans.”

As you argue in your book, it became increasingly expedient for mainstream Americans to acknowledge, and even amplify, Asian attempts to gain respectability. What changed?

Those claims really start to stick in the 1940s, when the nation was gearing up for global war. American leaders started to worry about the consequences of their domestic racial discrimination policies. They were concerned it would get in the way of forging alliances with other people abroad. That really motivated American leaders and the American people to work on race relations.

During World War II, lawmakers thought that Chinese exclusion made for bad diplomacy. So Congress decided to overturn Chinese exclusion as a goodwill gesture to China, who was America’s Pacific ally.

With the beginning of the Cold War, American policymakers became really attentive to putting their best image out into the world. They were very interested in winning hearts and minds in Asia.

Japan is a very good example. Japan lost the war and the United States took charge of reconstructing Japan in its own image as a rising democratic, capitalist country. And because Japan became such an important ally, that was the moment when Japanese exclusion laws could finally be overturned, which happened in 1952.

Again, people in Congress worried that if we left these laws on the books, it would endanger a billion hearts and minds in the Far East.

It wasn’t just a geopolitical thing right? It seems that by the 1960s, there were other reasons for investing in this image of Asians as upstanding citizens, reasons that were closer to home.

Oh, absolutely. There were definitely domestic reasons for why the idea was appealing that Asians could be considered good American citizens capable of assimilating into American life.

In the 1950s, there were general concerns about maintaining the right kind of home life. There’s this image of the perfect American family — a suburban household with a mom, a dad, two to three kids, a white picket fence. That was the ideal, but it wasn’t always realized. There was a juvenile delinquency panic in the 1950s, a big scare over how the nation’s youth were getting themselves into trouble.

The Chinatown leaders were really smart. They started to peddle stories about Chinese traditional family values and Confucian ethics. They claimed that Chinese children always listened to their elders, were unquestioningly obedient and never got into trouble because after school they would just go to Chinese school.

When I started digging, I found that this idea of this model Chinese family, with the perfect children who always just loved to study and who don’t have time to get into trouble or date — started to circulate quite prominently in the 1950s. That speaks to America’s anxieties about juvenile delinquency.

Also, since these stories were taking place in Chinatowns, it allowed Americans to claim that America had these remaining repositories of traditional Chinese values at a time when the Communist Chinese had completely dismantled them. So there’s this other level where these stories are also anti-Communist — they are doing this other ideological work.

How true were these stories though? How much of this was racial propaganda, and how much of it was rooted in reality?

These are obviously very strategic stories. In 1956, the federal government started to crack down on illegal Chinese immigration, which was in part motivated by the Cold War. So partly, the conservative Chinatown leaders thought this model Chinese family story would do a lot to protect them. They thought this PR campaign would reorient the conversation away from “Communists are sneaking into our country” to “Hey, look at these squeaky-clean, well-behaved children.”

From reading community newspapers in these Chinatowns, we know they also had a lot of concerns about juvenile delinquency. In fact, behind closed doors there were heated disagreements about what to do. One woman in particular — Rose Hum Lee, a sociologist with a PhD from the University of Chicago — wrote lots of books and papers about the problems in Chinatown, and accused leaders of sweeping these problems under the rug.

There were Asian Americans then, as today, at the end of the socioeconomic spectrum. And that segment of the population tends to go unnoticed in these kinds of narratives.

It’s interesting to compare the efforts of the Chinatown leaders to the parallel efforts of leaders in the African American civil rights movement, who also emphasized respectability — who wore their Sunday best on these marches where they were hosed down and attacked by dogs. What’s stunning to me is the contrast. One group’s story is amplified, and the other’s is, well, almost denied.

I think the Japanese American experience also highlights some of this contrast. At the same time in the 1950s, you hear these stories about how the Japanese Americans dramatically recovered from the internment camps, how they accepted their fate. “After internment, many families were scattered across the country, but they took it as an opportunity to assimilate,” that sort of thing.

Japanese Americans aren’t perceived to be doing any kind of direct action, they weren’t perceived to be protesting. A bad thing happened to them, and they moved on, and they were doing okay.

These stories were ideologically useful. They became a model for political cooperation. The ideas solidify in the 1950s. Americans had recast Asians into these citizens capable of assimilating — even if they still saw Asians as somewhat different from whites. And by the 1960s, what becomes important is that these socially mobile, assimilating, politically nonthreatening people were also decidedly not black.

That’s really the key to all this. The work of the African American freedom movements had made white liberals and white conservatives very uncomfortable. Liberals were questioning whether integration could solve some the deeper problems of economic inequality. And by the late 1960s, conservatives were calling for increased law and order.

Across the political spectrum, people looked to Asian Americans — in this case, Japanese and Chinese Americans — as an example of a solution, as a template for other minority groups to follow: “Look how they ended up! They’re doing just fine. And they did it all without political protests.”

That isn’t really true, by the way. Asian Americans did get political, but sometimes their efforts didn’t get seen or recognized.

These stereotypes about Asian Americans being patriotic, having an orderly family, not having delinquency or crime — they became seen as the opposite of what “blackness” represented to many Americans at the time.

I would say it also costs the majority less to allow Asian Americans, who were still a very small part of the population, to let them play out this saga of upward mobility, rather than recognizing the rights and claims of African Americans during that same time.

I’m not saying somebody sat down and did a cost-benefit analysis. But in some ways, there seemed to be a big payoff for little risk. Even with the overturning of the exclusion laws, it’s not like large numbers of Asians were coming into the United States at the time. Asian Americans at that time were still a pretty marginal part of the population.

As harmful as Asian exclusion was, I would agree that those structures were not as deep or pervasive as anti-black racism. It wouldn’t do as much to change the overall social picture by allowing these small numbers of Asian Americans to move forward. It was easier to do, in some ways, because those exclusion structures were not as pervasive, and the consequences had not been as long-lasting as they had been for African Americans.

A really fascinating part of your book describes how these new Asian stereotypes shaped the Moynihan Report, which infamously blamed the plight of African Americans on “ghetto culture.” I think that is a great example of how this model minority stereotype started to get used against others in the 1960s.

Daniel Moynihan, the author of that report, was a liberal trying to figure out how to solve this huge problem — the status of African Americans in American life.

If you look in the report, there’s not really any mention of Asian Americans. But just a few months before the Moynihan Report came out in the summer of 1965, Moynihan was at a gathering with all these intellectuals and policymakers. They’re talking about how Japanese and Chinese Americans were “rather astonishing” because they had thrown off this racial stigma. Moynihan points out that 25 years ago, Asians had been “colored.” Then Moynihan says, “Am I wrong that they have ceased to be colored?”

That was a very striking and powerful moment to me.

I think a lot of people believe that the model minority stereotype came out of the huge surge of highly educated Asians who started coming to the United States after 1965. But as your book shows, I think, the causality actually runs the other way.

It’s mutually reinforcing. At the time that the United States did this major immigration law overhaul in 1965, policymakers decided that the nation should select its immigrants based on how they could contribute to the economy (and also to reunify families). So what we start to see is people coming to the United States with these credentials and backgrounds and training, and they seem to confirm some of the ideas that are already there — that Asian Americans are model minorities.

My book stops in the late 1960s, but what I think has happened since then is that the model minority stereotype story has really shifted away from the original ideas of patriotism and anti-communism. We now fixate more on education. There’s the image of the tiger mom focused on getting her kid into Harvard. That emphasis also speaks to a shift in the American economy, how upward mobility really depends on having a certain kind of educational training.

And the anxieties about Asians have never really gone away. Now they’re portrayed as our global competitors. So underlying the praise there’s also this fear.

Sometimes in America, it feels like there are only so many racial buckets that people can fall into. With increased immigration from South Asia and Southeast Asia, for instance, it seemed like lot of the newcomers were swept up into this model minority narrative.

What happened in 1965 is that we opened up the gates to large-scale immigration from places like Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. From Asia, you get large numbers of people coming from South Asia, the Philippines, Korea. Then by the 1970s, the United States is fighting a war in Southeast Asia, so you get this refugee migrant stream. And you’re right, they’re stepping into this predetermined racial landscape, these preconceived notions about how Asians are.

But as a historian, as someone who thinks about race in American life for a living, I also think that the “model minority” category has only a limited usefulness now in terms of our analysis. We talk about it as a common stereotype, but it doesn’t explain the whole scope of Asian American life today — especially since 9/11, when you have communities of South Asians who are Muslims or Sikhs now being racially targeted or labeled as terrorists. So that has become another stereotype of Asians these days.

I think that underscores maybe the meta-narrative of your book — how we in America have always viewed ethnic and racial minorities through the lens of politics and geopolitics, right? In terms of international relations, in terms of what kind of image we want to project to the world, and in terms of what our national anxieties about other countries are.

Absolutely, that’s the link. The model minority stereotype and the terrorist stereotype are related, I agree, in how they speak to the geopolitical anxieties of their times.

Repost: The Metamorphosis of Irwin Tang

Growing up Chinese-American in College Station, Irwin Tang experienced the challenge of being a minority among minorities in a small Texas town. After struggling to define his identity, he began to channel his frustrations and confusion into writing, first in the form of hip-hop lyrics and later as journalism and fiction. Tang has written for Asian Week, The Nation, and National Public Radio. He’s also been a longtime political activist, working with César Chávez and the United Farm Workers and leading student political coalitions. In 2000, he published The Texas Aggie Bonfire: Tradition and Tragedy at Texas A&M in response to the 1999 bonfire collapse that killed 12 students. Five years later he self-published How I Became a Black Man and Other Metamorphoses, a collection of autobiographical short stories that explores racism, Asian-American history, and existentialism. A revised edition was published in February. Currently he is working on Asian Texans: Our Histories and Our Lives, which will be published by University of Texas Press.

Recently the Observer spoke with Tang. The following is an excerpt of that conversation.

Texas Observer: In the title story of your book, you describe your struggles growing up as an Asian-American in College Station, struggling to identify yourself when you weren’t black or white. The story describes your metaphorical “metamorphoses” and how you grew to accept and embrace your identity. How do you define yourself now?

Irwin Tang: I am an American, an Asian-American, a Chinese, a Chinese-American, a modern-traditional mash, a multiculture clash … a misplaced yellow man, a slave to desire and consumption, a microbe of the market, and a rebel against every aspect of colony.

TO: What is the most autobiographical story in this collection of short stories?

IT: It is all autobiographical. Every story is based on some very important aspect of my life and my personality. The story about the law student and the gang banger. That has so much to do with my conflict, my sort of moral dilemma being the friend of someone who I thought was doing wrong things, and also, at the same time, my wanting to be that gang banger, that gangster, that’s “Two, One.” “Burials and Upheavals” is straight family history. The other stories are often told in the sort of poetic or frantic or over the top or circuitous and obtuse voice. “Burials and Upheavals” has a much more relaxed tone with just a slight reverence towards my parents and my ancestors, which is so very Chinese of me.

TO: So what was it like growing up as a Chinese-American in College Station?

IT: I think the worst part of it was the constancy of racism, ostracism, harassment, violence, and the complete, utter alienation of what seemed to be the entire world. I was born there, born in downtown Bryan—which is kind of a ghost town now—and lived there my first 22 years.

One image that really haunted me and haunts the stories in the book—even though a lot of the stories are funny—is the image of the noose that was hung on the tree in my front yard when I was 12 years old.

I also grew up in the small, tight Chinese community in College Station. It was constantly growing during my time there. My father was the second Chinese professor at A&M, and it just grew from there. But there were very few kids; there were mostly graduate students and professors. When I was growing up, the vast majority of kids were black or white. I was the only Chinese kid in my class, so I would deal with the taunts and stuff. One of the things I always noticed—maybe in middle school—was that the black kids weren’t picking on me. So my identification with black culture began in sort of a very negative sense—in the sense that I liked the black kids because they weren’t trying to beat me up; they weren’t ganging up on me. Once in a while, one of them might stand up for me, and so I was very open to black culture. It didn’t seem weird to me that—as my sister had put it—I had become one of the “brothers” in high school. But it seemed weird to other people.

TO: What do you think has been the biggest breakthrough for Asian-Americans in American media?

IT: The biggest breakthrough? That’s really hard to say. The sad part of it is that America has a history of separating Asian-American men and women. The greatest breakthroughs for Asian-Americans in the media have all been for Asian-American women; they’re much more easily accepted by the American public. The greatest breakthroughs would be like The Joy Luck Club, both the book and the movie, where it’s all about Asian-American women, mothers and daughters, with white men and negative portrayals of Asian-American men.

I would tell people to go see movies that really capture our humanity. Go see two recent releases, which might be considered breakthroughs. Go see Americanese. And Lane Nishikawa just made a movie about the Japanese-American 42nd regiment and combat team, Only the Brave. Those two movies are very different from anything that has been made for the mainstream. Better Luck Tomorrow also, I guess. Those are all extremely recent movies. But of course there’s more in literature, but it’s predominantly Asian-American women. American publishers feel a lot more comfortable with [Asian-American women writers] because they know that Amy Tan was a great commodity. You know, even though Chang-Rae Lee, who’s a man, might be a great writer or Ha Jin might be a great writer, they’re not as sure of a thing as Amy Tan.

TO: Why did you establish your publishing company, the It Works?

IT: I established it first in the year 2000 when I published a book about the Texas A&M bonfire. I didn’t want to write a book about the bonfire. I wanted to publish other people’s essays about the bonfire, but I realized after researching and starting to write that I had a book on my hands, and it’s probably the most honest book ever written about Texas A&M because it incorporates both the reverence for the Aggie Spirit and the actual history of Texas A&M and some of the more disturbing aspects of the culture at A&M.

The reason why it’s called the “it works” is because “it” is the most generic thing that there is, and the most American thing that there is, is “it,” a pronoun possibly meaning anything. And “it” is also my initials (laughs).

TO: You’re also doing a book, Asian Texans: Our Histories and Our Lives.

IT: It’s a history of Asian-Americans in Texas, and it’s being published by the University of Texas Press. It will be out between 2007 and 2008. I’m the principal author and editor; there are other writers who contributed chapters to the book. It’s a straight-up history, but it stresses the voices and lives of certain individual Asian-Americans, or Asian Texans rather, and it’s just a fascinating, fascinating history because our history is so closely intertwined with the African-Americans and especially the Mexicans and Mexican-Americans of Texas and war and all sorts of wild events. The Chinese were willing to do all sorts of stuff to survive in this nation. Just in those first few decades, I don’t know how many thousands or tens of thousands died violently—either killed or as a result of their working conditions. The Japanese were sending the boys off to fight World War II for the United States, even as they themselves were being interned in prison camps. There’s so many moving stories because so many people had to go through so much. Even my parents, when they first moved to College Station back in 1967, there were people writing letters to the editor because of the growing Chinese population, [telling us] that we should all take our sperm back to China, so I imagine that this was the attitude that so many Asians encountered when they came to Texas, the first ones especially. Unusually, one of the first places around which the Chinese settled in Texas, was just north of College Station, in Robertson County. It’s where the very first large groups of Chinese settled because they worked on the railroads, and they ended up settling within the black community in Robertson County, back in the 1870s.

TO: How long have you been working on this book?

IT: Since 2002.

TO: What’s the most compelling information you’ve discovered about the history of Asians in Texans?

IT: In light of the current immigration debate, one of the most compelling aspects of Asian-Texan history has to do with the immigration of Asians into and through Texas after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Because of anti-Asian immigration legislation, Asians were the first (and for many decades the only) illegal immigrants of the United States. The Border Patrol was formed to stop Asian immigrants, and the Department of Labor deported Asians caught without residence papers. As a result of this, the El Paso Chinatown became one of the most important Chinatowns in the nation, as illegal Asian immigrants crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States and attempted to hide at first in the El Paso Chinatown.

From El Paso, the immigrants would often hop on a box car to other places in the nation. El Paso was most likely the most important stop on what was known by immigration officials as the Asian “underground railroad.” Many of these early Asian immigrants—almost all were men—married Mexican and Mexican-American women. Similarly, many of the very first Chinese railroad workers in Texas married African-American women. And so these very early biracial communities were formed. A biracial young woman named Herlinda Wong Chew helped about 200 Chinese-Mexicans escape from Pancho Villa and into El Paso during the Mexican Revolution. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Chinese were treated terribly in Mexico. When the Mexican Revolution began, the Chinese were natural scapegoats. Hundreds of Chinese—and even their Mexican wives—were killed by the revolutionaries.

Some of them helped U.S. General John J. Pershing hunt in vain for Pancho Villa, and they tried to return to the United States with Pershing. But they were at first blocked at the border because of the Chinese Exclusion Act. With the help of General Pershing, these Chinese, who became known as the Pershing Chinese, were allowed into the United States. They worked for years for the U.S. Army until Congress passed what was essentially the first political asylum law in U.S. history. The Pershing Chinese settled in San Antonio, El Paso, and Houston, found Chinese, Mexican, and white wives, and established grocery stores and restaurants.

TO: What has influenced you to focus on Asian-American issues in your writing? What are your goals as a fiction writer and as a journalist?

IT: As a writer of nonfiction, I like to seek out what has not been written; I like to write what hasn’t been written. And there’s such a huge sort of void when it comes to Asian-Americans. There is so much that has not been written about our history, about our lives, about our points of view, our humanity. It’s like a big pile of gold sitting there. It’s also extremely compelling to me because the stories of immigrants and their children are always exciting. Sometimes you can’t not write about something—like when Shaquille O’Neal was taunting Yao Ming with those racial taunts and no one was saying anything, no one was writing anything about it.

I tried to get the Los Angeles Times, AP, Sports Illustrated, all these people to write about this, and no one would—they didn’t think it was a story. So, I had to write it, and luckily it became a compelling story within the sports culture, and as a result, the sports culture in America has changed in its attitude toward Asian-Americans. You know, since then when Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said that the Cowboys had “Jap” plays, meaning “sneaky” plays, he was immediately censured by the mass media, whereas before the Shaq incident, that sort of thing would have just been accepted.

Former Observer intern Sofia Resnick is a freelance writer based in Austin. To learn more about Irwin Tang, visit http://www.irwinbooks.com.

[ https://www.texasobserver.org/2251-the-metamorphosis-of-irwin-tang/ ]

Scribd: Forbidden Citizens

| Thanks to The Plaidbag Connection blog for the link |

A large PDF preview (over 100 pages) of Martin B. Gold‘s Forbidden Citizens: Chinese Exclusion and the US Congress: A Legislative History is available on scribd. Users may need to sign up for a free account. The book download is about 10 MB and contains debates in the US House and Senate about Chinese immigrants as recorded in the Congressional Record.

Repost: For Spain, an Economic Lifeline from China

By Suzanne Ma on February 23, 2012

With an unemployment rate of 22.8 percent, the euro zone’s highest, Spain appears to be spiraling back into recession. Yet the Cobo Calleja industrial park 15 miles south of central Madrid shows few signs of economic distress. A manager’s Mercedes must be moved to make way for an incoming truck. Forklifts and workers pushing metal carts swerve to avoid each other as they rush to deliver orders. Merchants cram white sneakers and brown leather boots into cardboard boxes. “I can’t think of one Chinese person who is unemployed,” Jin Jing says as she surveys the commotion outside her warehouse crammed with women’s clothing. “There are jobs to be found in this crisis if you are willing to work. The Chinese are clearly willing to work.”

The activity in Cobo Calleja reveals a surprising source of strength for the troubled Spanish economy: immigrants from China. Virtually all of the shopkeepers and wholesalers in the park are Chinese. Only 2.9 percent of Chinese registered for social security received unemployment benefits in 2010, vs. 16.5 percent of Spanish nationals and 24.5 percent of all foreigners, government data show. And though they account for less than 3 percent of Spain’s 5.7 million immigrants, Chinese make up nearly 23 percent of the country’s foreign-born entrepreneurs, labor ministry data show.

For a decade, Spain’s explosive growth lured foreign workers into the country. But when the housing market collapsed in 2008, more than a million immigrants found themselves out of work. The government offered €10,000 ($13,300) to foreigners who agreed to go home and not return to Spain for at least three years.

Few Chinese accepted the offer, and government statistics show there are now 165,000 Chinese in Spain (though many academics believe the real number may be more than double that). Nearly 18,000 new Chinese immigrants arrived in Spain in the three years ended December 2010, and most seem to have found work with little problem. From 2007 until the end of 2011, legal Chinese workers increased 41 percent, while employed Moroccans and Ecuadoreans—the largest non-European immigrant groups—fell 23 percent and 52 percent, respectively, according to the labor ministry.

A primary strength of the Chinese community in Spain is its cohesion. Though no official figures exist, many Chinese in the country say a strong majority of their ranks come from one place: Qingtian County, about 300 miles south of Shanghai. That mountainous corner of Zhejiang province has little arable land, so for the last 200 years many of its people have emigrated. Qingtian folklore even holds that 18th century migrants walked across Siberia to Europe. Throughout the 20th century, Qingtian immigrants trickled into Spain, and their numbersbegan to rise in the late 1990s.

After arriving in Spain the Qingtianese began opening Chinese restaurants and small corner stores, then began importing and selling goods from their homeland. Lately they’ve started buying tapas bars catering to Spaniards, and today signs of their presence are everywhere. Many Chinese schools and cultural centers are operated by Qingtian natives. Chinese restaurants serve up the region’s cuisine, and the lingua franca in many Chinatowns in Spain is the rough Qingtian dialect. The close Chinese community helps new arrivals find work and has created informal lending groups that allow immigrants to pool capital and more easily borrow money.

Such networks helped Jin Jing and her siblings, who have been in Spain for more than two decades. They own Freebase, a clothing line designed in Spain, made in China, and sold in over 2,000 stores across Spain, including the El Corte Inglés department-store chain. In 2002, the siblings invested €60,000 in a tiny store in Madrid. Three years later they plowed €3 million into a sprawling warehouse in Cobo Calleja. In January the company bought a 113,000-square-foot textile printing factory previously owned by a Spanish company. “For the Chinese who have managed their savings, this crisis has brought a business opportunity,” says Jin’s brother Yong.

The growing Chinese presence has forced Spaniards to recognize the Chinese as customers and competitors. While many in Spain admire the can-do spirit of the newcomers, they often feel the Chinese “do not integrate and are only interested in working,” says Dan Rodríguez, an anthropologist at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. As a result, “anti-Chinese sentiment is quite widespread,” he says.

Katia Wu, a 27-year-old clothing wholesaler and retailer in Barcelona, says she has experienced that resentment. “I have been told by Spaniards that I work too hard and steal business from the locals,” Wu says. Though Wu says business has slowed, she and her husband, Deng, opened three new shops last year. “We had a choice,” Deng says. “Slow things down or be aggressive. We decided to compete.”

The bottom line: Chinese immigrants, who have an unemployment rate of just 2.9 percent, are helping the troubled Spanish economy.

Source:

Ma, Suzanne. 2012. For Spain, an Economic Lifeline from China. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-02-23/for-spain-an-economic-lifeline-from-china [accessed: 2012-07-07].

Comment on an Immigration Book Review

| Thanks to the Occidentalist blog for the link |

Martin Witkerk has posted a book review of Debating the Ethics of Immigration: Is There a Right to Exclude? on the race-realist VDARE website.

His analysis contains the following:

Professor Cole offers a brief history of what he considers to have been “exclusions based on racism,” including the Chinese Exclusion Act, the White Australia Policy, the United Kingdom’s Aliens Act (1905), as well as restrictive legislation in the history of Canada, New Zealand and Natal (South Africa).

If by “racism” Professor Cole means attention to ancestry, I am happy to concur with him: a great deal of immigration policy has been, and still is, motivated by such concerns. Are you thinking of applying for citizenship in India? It helps to be Indian. If you have China or Taiwan in your sights, best to be Chinese. South Korea gives preference to Koreans. Liberia and Haiti have both imposed constitutional requirements that citizens be of African ancestry.

What exactly is attention to ancestry? If Europeans were ‘attentive to ancestry’ would they have become the majority population in the following non-European countries?

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • New Zealand
  • Puerto Rico
  • Uruguay
  • USA

That’s the size of three continents or half the number of habitable continents. Would they have created three large ethnic groups because they liked sexing ‘swarthy’ people?

  • Afropeans (mulattos)
  • Eurasians inclusive of Anglo-Indians
  • Mestizos

Not to mention that they imperialized most non-European countries. Thus from the list of non-European acts, the only one that can be justified is the UK Aliens Act (1905) which seemed non-ethnic in intent. From Wikipedia, it was

designed to prevent paupers or criminals from entering the country and set up a mechanism to deport those who slipped through. It provided asylum for people fleeing religious or political persecution.

The problem as always, is that immigration is not really the issue. The issue is that there should be mass scaled repatriation of European ethnics to their sacred European continent paid for by the governments of their respective ancestral lands. Reparations must follow for stolen lands with official apologies. Legislation must be introduced into every colonialist European nation stating that they will pursue policies of non-aggression and that their military will only be used for domestic affairs (à la post-war Japan). Then and only then will they have any moral authority to close THEIR borders. It is not that closing borders in any country is wrong, just that the people who want to clamour for it to be closed should never be European ethnics who reside in non-European countries.

Source:

Witkerk, Martin. 2012. The Philosophy Department Looks at Immigration. http://www.vdare.com/articles/the-philosophy-department-looks-at-immigration [accessed: 2012-06-26].