The Asian Problem
Let me explain the title of this post up front. The “Asian Problem” is a term I’m using NOT to describe any kind of issue I have with Asian people. Rather, it refers to the problem the Asian community in North America presents to the commonly accepted social justice narrative.
As I have explained many times before, the social justice narrative sees the world as people groups competing for social power. In North America, it is assumed, white people control the power. As a result, people of colour are to be considered oppressed minority groups who should be advocated for in order to achieve social justice. This is what the term “social justice” means in a nutshell.
However, there is a significant flaw that gets exposed in this over-simplified explanation of society: Asian success. Asians are technically a minority group and therefore should be considered as part of the oppressed group in society. Yet when various measurements are used to assess how people groups are doing in North America, Asians regularly rank at or near the top of the list. Examples like median household income and average SAT scores illustrate this point well.
As you can see, the claim that America is a white supremacist nation is undermined by the success of this non-white people group. It at least forces us to consider other possible explanations for this seeming anomaly, explanations which can deviate far enough from the social justice narrative that it might bring it into question altogether.
What is the response? Social justice and Critical Race Theory activists are now conveniently sliding Asians over from the oppressed column into the oppressor column. I have seen several instances where “white/Asian” is designated as the oppressor group rather than the traditional argument that simply accuses “whites” as being oppressors.
In other words, while the old model of social justice would pit white people verses people of colour, the new model pits white/Asian verses minority ethnic groups. It is almost certain that this new label of Asians being complicit in white supremacy, coupled with the origins of the Coronavirus, is what has created the hostility and violence we are witnessing against Asians in North America.
This is not particularly unique to Asians, as other successful (if you measure success in terms of things like wealth) minority groups have been accused of aiding the system of white supremacy. The technical term for this is “brown complicity”, the idea that non-white minorities actually strengthen the system of white supremacy they exist in by living according to its conditions. Put differently, instead of fighting to overturn the system, minorities can flourish inside the system of white supremacy if they play by its rules. Thus, people can still be technically a minority race while incurring the same hostility that white supremacy receives because they are considered to be a part of that system. This hostility can come in the forms of rogue street violence or in policies like the ones many colleges and universities have in place, which intentionally discriminate against Asians by docking their test scores while bumping up ones from other minorities in an effort to create more equitable admissions.
Why do I bring all of this up? Because it is yet another example of why the group identity mechanisms inside the social justice formula are inherently broken, hostile, and destructive. It does not represent a Christian way of thinking or even a rational, objective, secular way of thinking. The over-obsessive nature we have with racial and group identities in North America is tearing apart our nations and communities, and it is the responsibility of level-headed citizens (and followers of Jesus in particular) to refuse to play the game. We must offer a different approach moving forward, one that builds justice on individual guilt or innocence and shows care and concern for others, regardless of their group identity. This is the very reason Jesus selects a Jew and Samaritan in his parable known as “The Good Samaritan”. It is precisely because these people groups despised each other; yet Jesus called on his followers to show kindness to others who are unlike ourselves. Our world could sure use a healthy dose of that right now.