Thursday, February 25, 2010

My latest SF Chron column—The Asian-Jewish connection: Is it kosher to call Asians the "new Jews"? (The haters are out in force.)

Image: Jews from one of China's ancient capitals, Kaifeng (in Henan), reading the Torah

Wow. I suspected the article might be provocative just because of its subject matter, but my latest San Francisco Chronicle column, "The Asian-Jewish Connection," has brought the most overwhelming tide of vitriol I've seen in five years of writing "Asian Pop." And yes, quite a lot of it is racist and/or anti-Semitic in varying degrees, but it goes beyond that -- a lot of people are simply enraged at the article for no clear reason at all

The piece begins with a brief look at the oft-repeated comparison between Asians and Jews, but then focuses in on the topic of school admissions, comparing the arcs that the two communities have faced; I cite Dan Golden's The Price of Admission and Jerome Karabel's The Chosen, both of them must-read books (and not particularly controversial in their scathing indictments of the system), and I interview people on both sides of the larger affirmative action debate. 

I also talk to James Chen, the proprietor of a unique college consulting firm, Asian Advantage, that purports to help Asian Americans "level the playing field" -- essentially by being less Asian, or at least stereotypically Asian

Oh, and I point to a very interesting exhibition, "The Jews in Modern China," that was unveiled yesterday at San Francisco's Presidio

All in all, though, I'm a little dumbfounded at the roiling hate in the comments -- as you might guess, almost all from people who are clearly neither Asian nor Jewish. But read it for yourself, I guess. 

Posted via email from OriginalSpin

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