Thursday, May 29, 2014

The UCSB Shooter and How Self-Hate Works


One of the things that struck me most about the UCSB shooter was the intense self-hate that he had. He was half-Asian, yet he hated people of his own race (especially Asian guys) and had an unhealthy reverence for White blonde people. The main focus in the mainstream media, and deservedly so, has been about his misogyny; we do need incisive discussions about how to stop treating women as little more than winnable prizes to boost men’s egos in order to further their ascent into Greatness (see Amy Schumer’s funny satire of Aaron Sorkin's work).

However, I want to focus more on the self-hate aspect of this disturbing equation, which has gone largely unnoticed by the mainstream media. Thankfully, some writers such as Jeff Yang, Emil Guillermo, and Grace Hwang Lynch—all of whom are, unsurprisingly, Asian—have noticed it. The Atlantic sort of brought it up, but it failed to pinpoint the racial basis for it.

I’ve written about some of the driving reasons that some Asians, including myself, have had at times for veering away from their heritage: The Places That Matter and The Question: “So Where Are You From?” So this is a topic of great interest to me.

Just take a look at what the UCSB shooter wrote in online forums or in his manifesto:

"Shoes won't help you get white girls. White girls are disgusted by you, silly little Asian."

"Full Asian men are disgustingly ugly and white girls would never go for you. You're just butthurt that you were born as an asian piece of shit, so you lash out by linking these fake pictures. You even admit that you wish you were half white. You'll never be half-white and you'll never fulfill your dream of marrying a white woman. I suggest you jump off a cliff."

"I was different because I am of mixed race. I am half White, half Asian, and this made me different from the normal fully-white kids that I was trying to fit in with."

"As my frustration grew, so did my anger. I came across this Asian guy who was talking to a white girl. The sight of that filled me with rage. I always felt as if white girls thought less of me because I was half-Asian, but then I see this white girl at the party talking to a full-blooded Asian. I never had that kind of attention from a white girl! And white girls are the only girls I'm attracted to, especially the blondes. How could an ugly Asian attract the attention of a white girl, while a beautiful Eurasian like myself never had any attention from them? I thought with rage."

"Two new housemates moved into my apartment for the Autumn semester. They were two foreign Asian students who attended UCSB. These were the biggest nerds I had ever seen, and they were both very ugly with annoying voices. My last two housemates, Chris and Jon, were nerds as well, but at least they were friendly and pleasant. Thes two new ones were utterly repulsive, and one of them had a very rebellious demeanor aout him. He went out of his way to start arguments with me whenever I raised the issue of the noise he made. Hell, even living with Spence was more pleasant than these two idiots. I knew that when the Day of Retribution came, I would have to kill my housemates to get them out of the way. If they were pleasant to live with, I would regret having to kill them, but due to their behavior I now had no regrets about such a prospect. In fact, I'd even enjoy stabbing them both to death while they slept."

Some people don’t understand how self-hate works. “How can you be racist against yourself?!” they ask, with a kind of smug incredulity as they think that they’ve just posed an impossible-to-answer rhetorical question and can just drop the mic.

I once took a class that examined fairy tales and their role in Western culture, and we learned that one of the foundational tropes in fairy tales is the wishful desire of a child born into ordinary circumstances that his or her actual parents are royalty or all-powerful, or both. It was called the "heroic fable" or "personal fable" or something. It’s why stories like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and tale of Anastasia are so popular, because they tap into that longing we all had/have that we too could somehow secretly be mythically special.

Don't we all wish that our dads were secretly powerful Jedi masters?
Self-hate can work in a similar way in that you think and hope that you’re actually somehow better than the lineage that you’ve been given. If you’re multiracial like the UCSB shooter, then you disown the “inferior” part of your heritage. If you’re not, then you see yourself as some kind of special snowflake exception who’s not like all the others in your group. So you don’t hang out with them and you certainly do not want to procreate with them.

The rationalizations usually go something like this:

“I don’t identify with Asian culture!” As if all Asians, even Asian Americans, are somehow genetically unable to extricate themselves from their old wacky Ming Dynasty ways. Except, of course, your special snowflake self. Moreover, who says that “Asian culture” is something to run away from at all costs?

“I feel more American!” Asians can be American too. The fact that many Asians internalize the whole "American=White" mindset is so frustrating. It's as though I spend a lot of effort in the West trying to fight against this harmful idea, then I go to Asia and have other Asians reaffirm the idea that "American" is an Anglo-Saxon ethnic identity.

“I don’t find Asians attractive because they remind me of my siblings!” Funny how you never hear White people say this. Evolution must've also really screwed up if it instilled in certain groups a sexual aversion to the people who for thousands of years were the only potential partners around them. Sounds like a freeway to extinctionville.
It greatly bothered me how ordinary some of this murderer’s identity issues were: the blaming of your disappointments on your race, the desire to match society’s image of an ideal man (which doesn’t look at all like you), the disdaining of others similar to you in hopes of differentiating yourself from their lower castes. I’ve either experienced them myself to some degree or have known others to express them.

Extreme incidents like the UCSB murders give us a chance to critically examine all the everyday circumstances that played a part in allowing such a thing to happen. Yes, there will always be crazies, but insanity and the way it manifests itself don’t happen in a vacuum. And it’s all too easy to handwave away difficult questions by invoking “mental illness.” This move is such a cop-out because it makes it seem as though sexism and racism are the exotic domain of a few incomprehensible individuals and can't possibly exist within us. It is a false protestation of innocence, and its invocation is a surefire sign that we're dealing with issues that require the kind of unflattering self-examination that leads many to want to shut down discussion at all costs.

Remember when this mentally ill murderer killed a ton of people and everybody just said, "C'est la vie. Oh well, can't
stop these things?" It's not like we started decade-plus wars over him or anything.
So let’s ask the hard and uncomfortable questions about why men feel that they’re entitled to sex from beautiful women and become murderous when they don't get what they want. The mainstream media has jumped on this, and though we're far from the ideal place, we at least seem to have started down the path towards it.

But let's not forget to also ask why a half-Asian kid so desperately wanted to be White and blonde, and why he hated his Asian side. Yes, the UCSB shooter was abnormally pathetic (for god's sake, his life goal became winning the lottery so that he could become attractive to girls), but I guarantee you that a lot of guys, including myself, can disturbingly see some snippet of themselves or their former selves in this murderer's rants and ravings.

Let's ask these questions so we can try to find the answers instead of constantly ignoring the problems because these perpetrators are all "mentally ill."


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Donald Sterling Admired Koreans? What An Insult.

As a Korean guy, I can think of few greater insults than being racially praised by someone like Donald Sterling.

So he has seriously slandered me and many others.

Like many good old racists, Sterling looked down on Blacks and Latinos but had a paternalistic admiration for Asians, Koreans in particular. He loved the fact that they apparently were willing to put up with any living conditions without complaint and pay the rent on time. He loved them so much that even though he hired almost no minorities in his real estate business, he hired a very high number of Asians. And predictably, almost all of them were women. According to a former employee named Sumner Davenport, it was because these Asian female employees supposedly knew how to please him and could teach other female employees like Ms. Davenport on how to be properly deferential. And in a shocking twist, Ms. Davenport also once sued Sterling for sexual harassment.

Sterling dislikes Black people to the point where he will not hire them or let them live on his property. He doesn't even want his people to associate with Magic Johnson, a superior in almost every respect. But he will have sex with their women. Why aren't You People more grateful?

It's the old La Malinche/Pocahontas Complex: Look down on another race, kill the men, but keep the women if they submit to you in a ego-gratifying way.

Beautiful exotic wind-talking woman falls in love with colonizer and brings peace everywhere. Why, it's practically as if European imperialism and colonialism was good for everyone.

No wonder Sterling loves Asians. He can use us to attack racial AND gender equality. When other minorities complain about racism, he uses us to say, "Be more like Asians." When women complain about sexism, he uses us to say, "Be more like Asians." We're the Swiss Army Knife for bigots lost in the wild forests of progress.

It'd be bad enough if it were the peculiar opinion of some old kook whose world view would soon rot away with his carcass. But it's a prevalent and influential belief that has defined the image of Asians in America as the Model Minority. We're sometimes called "Honourary Whites," as if that were something to aspire to. Furthermore, if you an honest conversation with Asians, they can tell you the exact moment they realized that they were not and would never be White.

What an honour

Asians in America are constantly redefining ourselves and making progress, and I am very proud of that. I will be satisfied with our level of achievement when the next Donald Sterling comes along and we find out that he absolutely despises us.