A piece from New York Magazine’s Andrew Sullivan over the weekend ended with an old, well-worn trope: Asian-Americans, with their “solid two-parent family structures,” are a shining example of how to overcome discrimination. An essay that began by imagining why Democrats feel sorry for Hillary Clinton — and then detoured to President Trump’s policies — drifted to this troubling ending:
“Today, Asian-Americans are among the most prosperous, well-educated, and successful ethnic groups in America. What gives? It couldn’t possibly be that they maintained solid two-parent family structures, had social networks that looked after one another, placed enormous emphasis on education and hard work, and thereby turned false, negative stereotypes into true, positive ones, could it? It couldn’t be that all whites are not racists or that the American dream still lives?”
Sullivan’s piece, rife with generalizations about a group as vastly diverse as Asian-Americans, rightfully raised hackles. Not only inaccurate, his piece spreads the idea that Asian-Americans as a group are monolithic, even though parsing data by ethnicity reveals a host of disparities; for example, Bhutanese-Americans have far higher rates of poverty than other Asian populations, like Japanese-Americans. And at the root of Sullivan’s pernicious argument is the idea that black failure and Asian success cannot be explained by inequities and racism, and that they are one and the same; this allows a segment of white America to avoid any responsibility for addressing racism or the damage it continues to inflict.
“Sullivan’s comments showcase a classic and tenacious conservative strategy,” Janelle Wong, the director of Asian American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, said in an email. This strategy, she said, involves “1) ignoring the role that selective recruitment of highly educated Asian immigrants has played in Asian American success followed by 2) making a flawed comparison between Asian Americans and other groups, particularly Black Americans, to argue that racism, including more than two centuries of black enslavement, can be overcome by hard work and strong family values.”
Gerhard Marx (South African, b. 1976, Johannesburg, South Africa, based Cape Town) - 1: Pigeon from Lessons In Looking Down exhibition, 2012 Hard Ground Etching on Paper 2: Binocular Skull 1, 2014 Hard Ground Etching on Zerkall Intaglio 3: Hare, 2012 Hard Ground Etching
The story is that Zeus saw the young goddess Hera and fell in love with her. To win her, he changed himself into a distressed cuckoo and flew into her arms. She cradled the bird until she found herself holding Zeus the god, and they were married. One of her main symbols is the peacock, due to her bodyguard whose entire body was covered in eyes, whom she then put on a bird to honor him.