Saturday, November 26, 2011

In Identity Politics and Diversity Games On Campus, "East Asians Don't Count"

The writer of this piece actually comes out and says that.  Mini-rant below.

Well, I've told you this for a long time ... about as long as I told you that identity politics and the diversity boondoggle on campus is an eye-rollingly hypocritical, idiotic pursuit and ultimately a source of ever more social garbage, tribalistic division, and general discrimination as corruption creeps into every process from admissions to hiring.  You're probably wondering if I've ever felt some kind of way about my chances of sinking or swimming in this environment.  It boils down to this personally: I don't give a [insert appropriately rude word here of your choice] about these games.  I don't care what people think of me or not in such terms.  I still believe in working hard and letting the results of that speak for themselves. It shouldn't matter what my unchangeable biological features are.  The real question should be: can I do the work and do it well?  And for goodness sake, do NOT have different standards of measurements for different people.  So the playing field isn't really level?  Don't whine and fret about it.  Instead, get to work and be even more awesome.  Work on skill sets.  Master your material.  Become undeniably awesome by any standard.

You know, someone recently asked me what it was like to be an Asian American in my field (and, as the corollary goes, surrounded by a lot of non-Asians).  My basic response was that I didn't understand the question because I considered myself an individual person first and foremost and try not to look at the world primarily through Asian American-colored lenses.  Really, if you walk into a social situation -- any situation -- and your first thought is about race and ethnicity, be it your own or other people's, then you've fallen right into the gorram trap, and you're going to flail around in there until you figure out that simplistically pigeonholing people based on superficial appearances is no way to go through life, son.  People are more than the sum of their melanin count, you know.  It might behoove you to try to get to know the individual.

As for the whole "East Asians don't count" bit in diversity dementia, let me just say this: How is that not racist?  You've singled out a whole group of people based on nothing other than their race and have decided to treat them a certain way because of that unalterable trait. Isn't that in itself the fundamental definition of racism?  Pffft.  It's not right.  But it's OK.  I'm gonna make it anyway.  *hums the song*  

The real solution is to eliminate race as a consideration, period.  What was that lovely hope of none other than Martin Luther King, Jr.?  What did he say about being judged not by the color of one's skin but by the content of one's character?

UPDATE: Oh, the thought occurs to me that maybe I'm the hypocritical clown here because I recently said what I said about the casting for the live-action "Akira."  "Akira" is Japanese to its last pixel.  This thing is a cultural, cinematic landmark.  In this case, I'm trying to make a point about source and adhering to the source.  I suppose what the next question is should be: is the new movie supposed to be a total remake in the sense that "The Departed" was a remake of "Infernal Affairs," or is it a live-action version of the original and therefore set in the particular, already defined, and now-iconic world of Neo-Tokyo?  Dude, I hope so.  Having people running around Neo-Los Angeles or Neo-New York just wouldn't be the same.

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