The Catalogue: No. 17

Saturday, October 13, 2018


Oops oops this is so very late. This week, in Asian American stuff.

When Asian Women Are Harassed for Marrying Non-Asian Men | Celeste Ng for The Cut
To this community, it’s a scarcity model: Asian women who succeed are accused of succeeding “at the expense of” Asian men. The worst scarcity, they believe, is in the dating pool: Asian women who “marry out” are perpetuating the stereotype that Asian men are undesirable. (The reverse, however, is not true — relationships between Asian men and white women are celebrated, with AZNidentity even crowdfunding a porno based on such a couple.) Asian women who have mixed children, it’s assumed, will raise them to prefer non-Asians, perpetuating the cycle.
The Rise and Fall of Affirmative Action | Hua Hsu for The Cut
This article opens with Michael Wang, a graduate from my own high school who didn't get into Harvard and never quite got over it. I'm super fucking done with him, and the (primarily East) Asian American community for taking an inadequately informed stance on social/political issues only when it concerns whether they get into elite universities. I can rant about this forever. I've written a "manifesto" about it. But I digress (for now). Here's an interesting-ish article that traces a lot of shitty opinions (like ones that equate violence on the black community with Asian Americans feeling discriminated against in college admissions.) Oof, I'm angry just thinking about it.
It’s possible that immigrants are the only ones who speak about meritocracy and fairness without a trace of irony. (After all, an H1B visa literally attests to one’s merit.) Yukong Zhao, the Florida activist, kept mentioning the American Dream as though it were a contractual arrangement: “The American Dream says that each U.S. citizen should have equal opportunity to pursue prosperity and success through hard work, determination, and initiative.”
Additional takes:
Anti-Asian Bias, Not Affirmative Action, Is on Trial in the Harvard Case | Jeannie Suk Gersen for The Cut
But to understand the stakes of the case, it is important not to conflate two separate concepts: the legal issue of affirmative action and the factual issue of whether Harvard discriminated against one particular racial group. The case against Harvard will be strongest if the allegations about how Asian applicants were evaluated relative to white ones turn out to be true. The defense of Harvard will be strongest if it can demonstrate that there is no way to fulfill the goal of diversity without suppressing Asian applicants relative to white ones to some degree. But answering these key factual questions does not entail upending the consideration of race as a factor in evaluating black or Latino applicants, or other groups that would be unacceptably underrepresented in the absence of race-conscious admissions. 
Actually, Race-Conscious Admissions Are Good for Asian-Americans | Janelle Wong for The Chronicle of Higher Education
A false "Asian penalty" narrative is embodied in the Department of Justice’s investigation into Yale. At the core is an assumption that Asian-Americans need higher test scores than non-Asian-Americans to get into a highly selective college (this myth has been debunked). Higher test scores among Asian-Americans compared with other groups are best explained by systematic group advantages, such as the higher average levels of income and parental education that result from selective U.S. immigration policies in place since 1965.
To argue that variations in test scores are a result of qualities intrinsic to "Asian culture" or group values is to rely on the very kinds of bias that the groups suing Yale and Harvard say they oppose. Furthermore, Asian-Americans who do not benefit from high levels of parental education, proximity to high-performing schools, or high levels of income do not as often demonstrate stellar test scores. The consideration of race in college admissions has been shown to help these Asian-American students. In addition, considering race as one among many, many factors in admissions helps to create a more diverse campus, which has been shown to be the best learning environment for young people.
WashU Students in Group Chat: "Why Are Asians Invading Our Study Room" | Kimberly Yam for Huffpost
This one is actually about my alma mater. I have a lot of feelings about this that I am still unpacking.
Racist comments aimed at Asian-American students at Washington University in St. Louis has caused a stir among the college’s students.
Undergraduate research assistant Han Ju Seo shared a screenshot of an Oct. 3 group chat in which several freshman students complained about their Asian-American peers using a study room.
The conversation contained comments like “Why are Asians invading our study room” and “Fuck there’s one in my room too,” highlighting how the students of Asian descent are often treated as others or seen as second class. 
BONUS:
It was recently 10/10, aka the day that I unfollow everybody on my Instagram feed that celebrates it as "Taiwan's birthday" because I! Am! A! Gatekeeper!
Just kidding about the gatekeeper part, because I do try very, very hard to adopt a "mindset of generosity and inclusivity," something imperative to the communities I want to build. But a lot of Taiwanese and Taiwanese Americans would agree with me that how one feels about 10/10 is a sort of litmus test for how one feels about Taiwanese sovereignty -- equivalent to the "228 test." To celebrate 10/10 as Taiwan's birthday explicitly conflates the ROC government with Taiwan as an independent entity. I'm not here for it.
Put more eloquently by Professor Catherine Chan:
This Double Ten Day I am grateful to all of the writers, academics, and activists who have helped me to see just how small my imagined island was, and how much more complex and resilient is the Taiwan that fights every day for its existence, in the interstices of a global system that would just as soon wish it away. That Double Ten Day must still be ritually celebrated, to keep up appearances, is both an absurdity and an indignity. But the slow dismantling of the Republic of China and the continued, contingent life of Taiwan are proof that absurdity and indignity can also be fertile ground for remarkable awakening. 
With great love,
L

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