John Liu And Being Asian American

John Liu was in the lead. Then the Chinese soldier in the US Army succumbed to racism, committed suicide. John Liu organized protest events, made some noise. And he got targeted. The FBI created a slight stink around him and drove down his poll numbers. It was a deliberate institutional attack. It was racist.

Goes on to show it is harder being an Asian American in this city than it is to be a gay woman who is friends with a Mayor who is not from her party, or a white guy married to a black woman, or a black guy who ran for Mayor and lost.

But the Asian American is within striking distance of getting the second most powerful political office in the country. It can still happen. Although I don't see me getting too involved personally. I have yet to attend an Obama event this year. And I was Barack Obama's first full time volunteer in all of New York City. I expect to be too busy with my work to do much volunteering in 2013.

But it is not like I will not be watching. John Liu's chances are as strong as ever.

Although I must admit it is an interesting field of candidates. And a Democrat is about to clinch the office in, gosh, in a long, long time.

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How the Rules of Racism Are Different For Asian Americans
We realized that for all of Jeremy Lin’s accomplishments, we as Asians are still different, are still seen differently than other races by the vast majority of Americans...... The truth is, racism toward Asians is treated differently in America than racism toward other ethnic groups. This is a truth all Asian Americans know. While the same racist may hold back terms he sees as off-limits toward other minorities, he will often not hesitate to call an Asian person a chink, as Jeremy Lin was referred to, or talk about that Asian person as if he must know karate, or call him Bruce Lee, or consider him weak or effeminate, or so on....... Bullying against Asian Americans continues at the highest rate of any ethnic group. I remember, when I was taking the Asian American literature course, an article in a major magazine that ran pictures of (male) Asian models above the tagline, “Gay or Asian?” I remember a video that went viral last year in which people explained why men prefer Asian women and why women dislike Asian men. Some of the women on the video were Asian American...... Racist jokes were told with alarming frequency for a school billed the “most liberal in the South,” and I was friends with two groups: one mostly white, mostly Southerners in the same dorm; the other mostly black, with whom I played pick-up basketball. They joked without censor. I had a girlfriend whose aunt and uncle lived in North Carolina, and when we went to visit, they would say that at least I wasn’t black, often before some racist diatribe. This seemed the predominant sentiment then. At least I wasn’t ____. ...... Don Lee’s story collection, Yellow. In Lee’s stories, Asian American characters experience racist incident after racist incident, but these incidents are mostly background to their lives as sculptors, surfers, lovers, etc. The characters are very much of the world in which they live, the world in which I lived and a different world than the one in which white people live with the privilege of their color...... In class, the white students were incredulous. They claimed such acts of racism could never happen with such frequency. Yet if anything, to me, the racism seemed infrequent, and with minimal effect on the characters’ lives. I had grown up constantly wavering between denying and suspecting that my skin color was behind the fights picked with me, the insults, the casual distance kept up even between myself and some of my closest friends. Sometimes—in retrospect: oftentimes—these incidents were obviously rooted in race. I have been called “chink” and “flat face” and “monkey” many many times. And it is the context of these words that make a child grow uncomfortable with who he is, that instill a deep fear in him....... I remember watching, in one middle school class, a video meant to teach us that blackface and sculptures of big-lipped black people and stereotypes of watermelon and fried chicken were wrong. Later that same year, one of my best friends drew a picture of a square with a nose poking off of one side. I knew this was me even before he said it. Sometimes my friends would ask me to do the trick where I put my face against the table, touching both my forehead and my chin to the wood. I thought of this as a special ability, but underneath, I knew I should be ashamed........ I pretended it didn’t bother me. ...... That was the same year my closest childhood friend suddenly cut me off. We had been inseparable, but at the start of that school year, he made fun of me and seemed to use this attack to springboard into popularity. I spent many nights during those first few weeks of school crying myself to sleep, not understanding why we weren’t friends anymore......... the people who had hurt him most were those closest to him...... but also because they were the people in books and because I, too, feared the label, or at least told myself I did. What that fear really is, it seems to me now, is a fear of not being taken as seriously as the White Male Writer, who has so long ruled English literature...... He said something like, “Nobody ever talks about Asians,” and I said, “Asians don’t exist in Sociology.” We both laughed. It was a joke, but it stung with a certain truth. ...... it is a very real complaint that Asian descent seems to count against us in those same admissions numbers. Both Harvard and Princeton are currently under investigation on charges of racism toward Asians, whose grades and SAT scores, on average, must be higher than those of other races in order to gain admissions..... Why aren’t we happy with our disproportionate admissions and the many children who grow up to be doctors and lawyers, pushed by their parents? (The more sarcastic answer: why aren’t white people happy enough with EVERYTHING?).......... Writers always seem to mention how hard Lin works, and often mention this as a trait of Asian Americans. They mention that he went to Harvard, how smart he is. They mention that he is humble. When I wrote about the “Chink in the Armor” headline here, a commenter responded by pointing to Asian Americans being too respectful to speak up against racism. This respectfulness, he said, was something he admired about Asians...... But the positive stereotypes people think they can use because of their “positivity” continue (and worsen) the problem. Thinking you can call an entire race “respectful” is thinking you can classify someone by race, is racism. Which is what is happening to Jeremy Lin when he is called “hard-working” instead of “skilled” ..... . After ESPN ran the “Chink in the Armor” headline, the writer of the headline made a very defensive apology in which he claimed to be a “good person” who didn’t know the weight of the word he was using. He was fired, and this apology came afterward. ...... “Chink” is a very common term, probably the most common slur against Asians..... I had let a Korean American slip into my novel in a supporting role, a character who never finished his sentences, who was always cut-off or cutting himself off. .... But then a strange thing happened. I got used to seeing Koreans, and was surprised whenever I saw a white person. And after some time, not like the sudden realization in the mirror but a gradual process, I began to see myself as a person from this country. I wrote my first story with a Korean character, and something in it, the vulnerability, the honesty, clicked. In Korea, I had different differences than in America. Not that race was out of the picture—the biggest shock to people was my culture, in spite of my skin color, my inability to speak Korean—but it was like looking at race from the inside out, the opposite of how I had been forced to see myself my whole life. It was a lesson: that I had control over my differences, that I could choose to build them up or break them down, that they were not simply genetic, something that had never been true in America
Army Prosecutor Details Racial Abuse That Preceded Soldier’s Suicide

Comparing the Liu Inquiry to a Soldier's Hazing
Chinese-American leaders came to the defense of the embattled city comptroller, John C. Liu, on Thursday, comparing the federal inquiry into his campaign fund-raising to what has been called a hazing campaign before the death of Pvt. Danny Chen. .... Mr. Liu’s campaign fund-raising troubles were fanned by potent forces determined to prevent him from becoming mayor in 2013. ..... invoked Private Chen, a Chinatown native who apparently committed suicide in Afghanistan in October after being subjected to harsh treatment by fellow soldiers .... “I see another assassination. This is a character assassination. Worse than death, you lose your good name.” .... The news conference was the first time some of Mr. Liu’s ardent backers had voiced their support in so public and unified a fashion, after months of what they said was nonstop negative publicity. .... Mr. Liu has not been accused of wrongdoing. .... “This is politics,” said Nora Chang Wang, a commissioner at the Department of Employment under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. “When people see him as a viable candidate, such a strong solid candidate for that highest position in the city, in a way it’s a threat.” ..... Another former city official, Hugh H. Mo, a lawyer who was a deputy police commissioner under Mayor Edward I. Koch, said Mr. Liu had been denied due process. “I believe it is an effort to destroy John, who really represents the hopes and aspirations of Asian-Americans, and particularly Chinese-American immigrants,” Mr. Mo said. “We take pride in John.” .... the city’s leading Chinese-language newspaper, World Journal, sent three reporters, and two others, Sing Tao Daily and China Press, each sent two
John Liu: Mayor Of NYC: 2013
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