Friday, February 26, 2010

Hate-O-Rama: Welcome to My Tea Party—analyzing the comments on my column on Asians and Jews

It's been interesting but more than a bit icky wading through the cesspit of comments that have been posted to my Asian Pop column this week, but I felt it was worth analyzing simply to better understand the source of the inchoate rage

I have to admit I'm still confused as to what set off this particular hatebomb—there are already more comments on this piece than on any piece I've ever written, other than the one on interracial relationships, which perhaps isn't entirely surprising. What is surprising is that, as best I can tell, over 90% of the comments are from people who are neither Asian nor Jewish. The demographics and mindsets of the commenters, however, can be extrapolated from their threads of other comments to SFGate, their self-selected handles, and their avatar icons.

They seem to mostly be white, and angry at minorities and immigrants. From their comment threads, they generally frequent articles that mention people of color gone wrong, and pile on the Schadenfreude, and articles that celebrate minority achievement or success and attack them for stealing opportunities from "real Americans" e.g., white non-immigrants. Also:

  • They do not like Barack Obama, or liberals. Handles like libsrbad, sfrepublican and takebacksfnow are common, and more than a few have avatars depicting President Obama in unsettling Photoshop collages
  • They are fast to accuse others (people of color in particular) of racism without explaining the rationale, but also freely spout statements that invoke stereotypes and outright hatred of other races
  • They're really angry when any American subgroup asserts its right to have some kind of identity, whether it's an ethnicity, a religion or a race. Nothing presses their button more than invoking the idea that "Asians" have something in common, or share a political or cultural past and future
  • And, oh yes, they don't like reading. Many also comment about how long the piece was and how as a result they couldn't finish or even begin it (but that didn't stop them from posting their opinions anyway). (On this they have a point. I'll be writing shorter and less ambitious pieces going forward.)
In short, this column seems to have spontaneously generated its own Tea Party protest—whether due to someone crossposting it on a site or list frequented by people of that ilk, or because the title and topic served as some kind of irresistible bait to those who are nativist by nature and, openly or secretly, hostile towards those who are different from themselves.

What's fascinating is that this piece wasn't particularly ideology-driven—it took what I thought was a fairly centrist and balanced look at the very complicated issues related to admissions and preference or exclusion by race and ethnicity, and quoted people on both sides of the aisle, so to speak. 

The Asian/Jewish comparison was the lead-in because, as I noted throughout the article in quoting other writers, it's a constantly repeated meme whenever the topic of education comes up in the media. In fact, my column was meant to interrogate whether the comparison is appropriate or useful, not to reinforce the meme (as anyone who actually read it would realize)—but most people from the title alone seemed to have concluded that I was embracing the comparison, and that that, somehow, was racist and/or offensive.

(Also note: Unlike many of the commenters, who freely voiced ugly caricatures about stinginess, driving ability and yes, genital size, the article focused on shared experiences and cultural values—things frequently noted by observers of and from both sets of communities.)

Anyway, I've plucked some choice comments from the sludgepile and organized them into categories. There are so many that have been deleted as violating the SFGate terms of service that this is actually a heavily elided selection—the worst and most horrible ones are long since gone. (Spelling and grammar preserved, even at its most erratic.)

FROM THE "THIS ARTICLE SUCKS" DEPT. (with no explanation as to why)

uncommon13 2/25/2010 3:04:35 PM
Jeff yang is a good boot-licker. He may get the Oscar,Grammy,Nobel and few other awards from Europe and Israel. Good thinking, Jeff, on how to make millions and perhaps billions. You found the right way.

citycitizen 2/25/2010 12:33:00 PM
Thank you Mr. Yangstein for such an insightful article....not.

takebacksfnow 2/25/2010 10:13:42 AM
What a piece of crap journalism....I don't even no where to begin on how screwed up this article is...

sfgiantpoet 2/25/2010 8:03:20 AM
kokc eyed idea, off root stocks? nooooo... jews are Gods chosen, asians are not, per the bible. also, they sooooo different looking... asians are classically buddhist . they are on opposite sides of the world. new jews, asians? i dont see no minorrahs in the windows, and i have yet to find dragons lighting up the night at hannukah. why does the chron let this guy print this up? why, cause he guilt tripped the editor into it. YES they ARE!

cadetpep 2/25/2010 1:30:48 AM
I don't care what credentials you have Mr. Yang, you and I both know you are one of those weird writers that us "normal" asian people look at and think "Damn he is one weird guy". Asian or not, after reading your garbage of an article I ask you this question, "Don't you have -ANY-thing better to write about? COME ON, MAN".

nativesf67 2/25/2010 12:15:34 AM
This article is an insult to every Jew in America and across the globe. Sorry Mr. Asian you are no Jew.

riceandegg 2/25/2010 12:12:21 AM
The Asian author degrades himself and his race by writing this piece of junk.

strukhoff 2/24/2010 11:45:30 PM
What a stupid, offensive article.

Cityscapex5 2/24/2010 11:43:20 PM
Stupidest article ever.....not even sure where to begin.

daosbox 2/24/2010 10:26:29 PM
Jeff, I didn't finish reading this article. But this is probably the dumbest article I've ever read on SFGATE. If you made a comparison between Asians and Mexicans, I would have probably read a little bit more.

sonofmark77 2/24/2010 10:23:53 PM
are jews the new asians, are mexicans the new blacks, are gays the new gypsies?? stupidest story i've read in a long time by far. how does this get past an editor's desk at the Chronicle is just stupefying

clizown 2/24/2010 9:57:36 PM
This is the most absurd piece of copy in the modern history of Bay Area journalism.

laylalayla415 2/24/2010 10:39:07 PM
Kudos to clizown who summed up best. This article reminds of the crappy reporting provided by Asian Week. I think the author of this article owes everyone 10 minutes of our lives back. And yes, we need a lobotomy for even wasting our time for clicking the link. Oh wait, maybe in our defense we were looking for bone-crushing news worthy articles....oh wait that's another news outlet.....

nonunion 2/24/2010 10:37:46 PM
Take this crap article down. Stupidest thing I have ever read.

eurodisco 2/24/2010 10:30:54 PM
Jeff, show this article to an Asian and every likely they say, "are you stupid?"

straightarrow 2/24/2010 10:56:08 PM
This stupid article is a piece of crap and SFGATE should be ashamed to put this garbage on the website. The writer need to have his head examined.


bayareasam 2/25/2010 5:44:59 PM
The anti asian sentiments expressed here by the self-professed left wing-nuts is sickening. And it's typical of the hypocrisy of the radlibs.

noneleft 2/26/2010 2:03:37 AM
So, old white money buys their way in to the best colleges. Under performing minorities get freebies, and the best students (his folks) get the leftovers. I can understand why the guy is whining. Touchy subject, guess he had to be a little round about in how he posed his complaint. Bringing the whole Jewish thing up.

libsrbad 2/26/2010 6:03:21 AM
Progressives are anti-semetic. Plain and simple.

payme 2/26/2010 8:40:44 AM
If I read another story about how bad the Asians have it because they are soooo smart, I don't know what I'm going to do. What a self-serving piece of crap. Gag!!

xspotsters 2/26/2010 8:34:14 AM
If there was a "report abuse" button for articles, this one would surely be gone. The racial stereotypes presented by the author of this diatribe are disgusting.

oaktownhomie 2/26/2010 12:50:57 AM
After re-reading, I've decided the Chron needs to issue an apology. It is outrageously racist in many ways.

sfgatefan411 2/25/2010 12:42:08 PM
I would never call somebody a "new jew" because that's anti-semitic in it of itself. What is wrong with you Yang? Do you also sit around with your friends calling each other the "N-Word" also? Stop trying to rob other cultures of their image. Embrace the image you already have or come up with a new one. Your baggy clothes don't fool me. You ain't OG. And stop writing such wordy articles. They tend to drag on and on and on . . . I couldn't get through even half of it.

olesya71 2/25/2010 9:48:54 AM
what's the ... ? Who allows to publish this stuff? This is the most prejudice and stereotyping crap I had ever read in my 12 years being in the United States.

mackroe 2/25/2010 8:51:12 AM
If you mean it by identifying Asians as a successful, educated, and wealthly racial class that suddenly becomes overly neurotic and thinks everyone is out to get them then yes. Well at least you are.

icysurfer 2/25/2010 8:15:10 AM
Guess what, the title of the piece is - in and of itself - racism.

sonofsf 2/25/2010 12:17:18 AM
McCoveyCove, I disagree, they are not all just Americans - they Are Asian first, as they like to remind us

McCoveyCove 2/24/2010 11:58:40 PM
Yang, they are all just Americans, you dense, elitist asian s.o.b.

Newshound1 2/24/2010 11:07:45 PM
OK, SFGate censors--how could you let this article get by you?
It takes a whole let less for one of your readers/ commenters to be censored than the veritable avalanche of sensitive, politically incorrect racial/religious stuff that was in this article. You have been caught with your flagrant double standards at play. It's OK for your writers, but not for your readers to make such comments. Physician, heal thyself!!

potatotrappist 2/24/2010 10:56:44 PM
We all have obstacles to overcome, individual & familial & cultural & racial issues. We all have links to Asian cultures and Jewish culture. At best, the writer is pandering to weak stale stereotypes, at worst he's bargaining for privilege.

fishfry 2/24/2010 10:21:58 PM
What a pile of racist crock. Why did you print this?

ilikebeer 2/24/2010 10:16:37 PM
Pardon my french, but this comes across as blatant stereo-typing and down right racist. And I agree with absurd and bizarre piece of 'journalism' - if you can call it that. I am offended and can't believe someone actually authored this garbage.

mysixcents 2/25/2010 1:29:48 AM
This article is simply offensive and stupid. It is offensive for every group that is not Asian or Jewish. February is Black History Month. An article about how the African-American community is being displaced from the Southeast part of San Francisco by other certain ethnic groups would have been more appropriate.

beenhere 2/26/2010 9:06:49 AM
When you make it back to human, give me a call. Anyone "white" who wrote this would be jailed.


gregj46 2/25/2010 3:19:50 PM
You hardly ever see cauc girls marrying Chinese guys, But you see tons of Chinese girls marrying Caucasian guys. You know why? It's the smartest thing they can do.

bayrider 2/25/2010 12:32:55 PM
I have personally known Americans of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian etc origins. It is beyond ignorant to to refer to these individuals collectively as 'Asians'. The various cultures have almost nothing in common and have fought bitterly amongst themselves for centuries.  My wife is of Japanese and Guamanian (Pacific Islander) parentage. We laugh when people ask my wife what 'nationality' she is. This writer is almost as clueless as that.

under_dog 2/25/2010 12:20:21 AM
Asians and Jews: Stereotyped as being cheapskates; push their kids to be doctors and lawyers; are successful in business; came to this country at a disadvantage, discriminated against, but rose above and kicked butt. Both have pretty daughters

silom6x 2/25/2010 7:52:05 AM
@clizown: I totally agree. As a gay man who has a special affinity for Asian men, I KNOW that at least physically Asians and Jews are nowhere alike. As for the cultural aspects, people will make up anything to make their point about this or that, most of it being hogwash.

xab3000 2/25/2010 7:06:57 AM
"Jewish culture promotes questioning, intellectual engagement, assertiveness (espec. in women), standing up for truth, speaking out when things are not right, looking out for the underdog, civic engagement. Asians are not the new jews." Writing as a Jew, I find the para above that someone posted obnoxious and ignorant. An long passage could easily be written to rip that para apart. It would also be easy to write about the wonderful and common individual and social traits Asians are noted for possessing. As a Jewish man, I would prefer to marry an Asian American woman rather than an American Jewish woman for many reasons. That of course is my personal statement and not a factual one for others.

manwithoutastar 2/25/2010 5:24:06 AM
Asian chicks are hot! (This article was way too long.)

ianto39 2/24/2010 11:56:19 PM
Maybe Mr. Yang explains the Asian girl White guy thing. [NOTE: I think this one is implying that I reflect the generally unappealing nature of Asian men, and thus, that explains why Asian women find white guys more attractive]

oskie 2/24/2010 11:27:52 PM
Jewish guy + Asian gal = sweet, happy Hanukkah love. Asian guy + Jewish Gal ... only happens in Bizarroworld.

jqthegreat 2/24/2010 11:26:42 PM
I still want to know why asian girls are wanted by all men, but asian guys don't get the same lovin from women of most ethnicities.


mc5595 2/25/2010 12:02:25 PM
WHAT DRIVEL....WHAAAAA! Can you believe this crap. If Asians are all smart enough to go to Harvard but aren't being let in, then why are there multi-generational families in Chinatown? Why are people living there for decades? Surely their super intelligent kids are all doctors etc and can afford to get their Moms/Dads/Grandparents out of there?

PWZ 2/25/2010 11:11:44 AM
I would not call Asians new jews, but old jews.

poppawheelie 2/25/2010 11:10:09 AM
No sweetnsour pork for you Choyberg.

sfrepublican 2/25/2010 10:51:23 AM
Jews are good drivers, just noticing.

Sad_Fran_Native 2/25/2010 9:21:32 AM
I don't see any jewish grandparents stealing my recycling in the middle of the night. The jewish immigrants of my era always tried to fit into the culture they fled to while keping their cultural idenity.

mrbobj 2/25/2010 9:02:38 AM
Whites are the new Mexicans, I think I'll go to the gov. with my hand out that way they can pander to me...

sfrepublican 2/25/2010 8:46:12 AM
I only see one thing,my Jewish neighbor take pride in his house and landscaping all my Chinese neighbors do not and it lowers all of our property values as well as our quality of life .

mayorSunset 2/25/2010 8:08:46 AM
I think it would have been better if they just called this, "Asians, the other white meat."

peroba1 2/25/2010 8:01:08 AM
ya, they're both cheap [NOTE: this person's icon is a "PROHIBITED" symbol across Obama's face]

kfyu7 2/25/2010 2:47:05 AM
You people be careful with what you say!  The anti-defamation league will call the Mossad, and the Mossad will summon the Red Army to get you.  This subject is closely monitored, by Bronstein and Keller, et al.

che818 2/25/2010 2:06:18 AM
I totally agree. Right now asians are always pushing for US intervention in the middle east and blind support for Israel. If you disagree with an asian on any issue they call you an "anti-asianite"

buzzman 2/25/2010 2:03:56 AM
No. Asians don't talk enough, and don't have the sense of humor either.

mysixcents 2/25/2010 1:33:07 AM
And no Asians are not the new Jews. Jews got soul and are great artists. Jews gave us intellectuals. Jews gave us artists. Jews gave us Einstein. What has the Asian community contributed to the world. They are so cheap and that they don't even contribute to the local economy.

govknitwhitman 2/25/2010 1:29:44 AM
Goldman Sachs is a piller of humanity and their raw intellect has used non Jews interest free money to skirt the crisis it helped create and wallow in massive gains while Americans ate dirt last year. Its not the interest free money they pour into the unseen black market wall street driving stocks higher as the peasants lose their IRA's its their sharp buisness sense and crisply directed social network.

gulpttub 2/25/2010 1:23:29 AM
If this is such an issue then wouldn't the 2 countries be the greatest places on earth and thus never need to immigrate elsewhere ?

delbipman 2/25/2010 12:42:10 AM
All this hoopla I find amusing. Stereotypes can be true, that's why they exist. That aside, what about the unfortunate downtrodden, under served blacks. Lets throw some more money at their problems. That should fix it. Come on asians, pony up, you're the only ones who seem to ignore them and get away with it.

bayrider 2/25/2010 12:41:51 AM
This is 'article' is overly long and I can tell from the absurd title that it is not even worth the time required to read it. My theory is that Asians are the new Mexicans. Car thieves who can't drive!

valleyswede 2/24/2010 10:41:32 PM
It's not Asians. It's Chinese. Living in a high immigrant, high wealth area, I am in contact with many high achieving people of different cultures. The Chinese are not like Europeans. Neither are the Japanese, but generally I find Euro's would aspire to the Japanese ideal. The Chinese ideal was formed through years of stunted social oppression, and quite frankly, they aren't quite right in the head. I'd put them in the third world camp with oil enriched Sunni's. (not Shiah's). It's not racial. It's cultural. I like Japanese a lot. Not a fan of Chinese at all. They don't aspire to norms of US values.

dorsalfinish 2/24/2010 10:41:24 PM
Vanderbilt has it right. Jews like to talk and talking is good for a classroom environment, where the Asian kids are quiet, waiting for someone to tell them what the correct thing to say is.

thinkagain2 2/24/2010 10:27:14 PM
The comparison doesn't seem to hold up. Jewish people came from a rich cultural background, and made great achievements in entertainment. Asians will always be boring -- just go to the sunset.

Fun, eh? I think I'll regularly present some of the tidbits from my mailbag, just to archive this stuff for posterity. And to show that even in a market that's one-third Asian American and known for progressive politics and diversity in outlook, we have a long, long way to go.

Posted via email from OriginalSpin


Blogger 123 said...

far from eye, far from heart. ....................................................

8:26 AM  

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