Archive for July, 2010
With all the buzz surrounding K-Town on the blogosphere, Jen over at Disagrasian warns us to tone down the joking. And she’s right — this is serious, folks. Jen warns that K-Town could invoke a new, very harmful, stereotype against Asian Men…
… that Asian Men hate shirts.
I applaud Jen for being vigilant in this matter. As she describes in her post, the consequences of this stereotype to hard-working, honest Asian American men is profound. We could be talking about scores of Asian men turned away by employers who require shirts be worn every day of the week — even Casual Friday! Thousands of Asian men might find themselves applying for jobs in fields where they won’t be unfairly penalized due to the anti-shirt stereotype. Do we really want our Asian brothers forced to work as strippers, cabana boys, and life guards?
Think about the self-hate and shame that will be invoked amongst decent, well-meaning Asian men when they hear phrases like, “Hey, dude, chill out! Keep your shirt on!” or “What are you, a nudist who lacks commitment?” Think of the pain Asian men will have to endure when they become targeted by new racial slurs, like “shirt-hater”, “Chippendale”, or ”nipple-flasher”. And will Asian men who take their shirts off — even while performing reasonably no-shirt activities like swimming or taking a shower – be accused of being sellouts for perpetuating the shirt-hating stereotype?
But, I do disagree with Jen on one thing: let’s put the blame where it belongs. The “shirt allergy” stereotype against Asian men did not begin with Peter Le, Young Lee or Joe Cha. No, these boys are mere symptoms of an institutional stereotype that just hasn’t received sufficient media attention until now, when K-Town finally exposed the stereotype’s full impact on our Asian brothers. These poor souls are only acting as they think they’re supposed to, because the “Asian men hate shirts” stereotype has been so deeply internalized into their self-identity. In a way, these men are heroes, for bravely shedding light on a silent oppression.
Consider how many other innocent Asian men have fallen victim to this syndrome:
So, you ask – whom should we really be blaming?
Well, I think the answer is clear — the blame lies squarely on the man who first brought this dastardly stereotype to American audiences.
That’s right: Bruce. Effin’. Lee. That frickin’ nipple-flasher.
Act Now! I’m declaring August 1st to be National Asian Male Shirt Solidarity Day. Wear a shirt and show your support. Spread the word.
I posted, not four hours ago, about Andrew Thomas’ latest efforts to smear Tom Horne, a fellow Republican running in the primary for the attorney general race. Thomas’ campaign has apparently funded a slew of campaign posters and a website that pretty much charge Horne with being the worst person in the world.
Don't vote for Tom Horne -- he turns smiles upside down.
I was able to get Tom Horne on the phone and by email this afternoon for a comment on Thomas’ underhanded tactics to paint Horne as “too liberal” for conservative voters.
The sign pictured above accuses Horne of supporting taxpayer funding of abortion. Horne responds: “That is a lie. I have never been for taxpayer funded abortions. I am pledged to enforce all abortion laws. As a legislator I voted to restrict abortion, such as to ban partial birth abortion and to require parental consent.”
When I called to ask for a clarification on his vote on HB 2708, Horne responded that taxpayer funding of abortion was “already banned” when HB 2708 came up for a vote. Horne further explains that he voted “no” on HB 2708 because he “had technical problems with the bill, which itself made technical changes to a ban [against publicly-funded abortions] that was already in effect” but that he had no problems with the spirit of the bill itself. Horne reiterated his pledge to support all anti-abortion laws in the state of Arizona.
Which is, if you think about it, kind of ironic since he’s telling all this to a progressive, feminist, pro-choice blogger. But, y’know, whatever.
As far as Thomas’ attempts to smear Horne’s conservative street cred, Horne recognized that negative campaigning is part of politics, but he said, “even if a campaign goes negative, it should be truthful. [Thomas] made all this up.”
In response to the attack campaign launched by Thomas against Horne, Horne cited a letter from the Republican National Commitee that documents a history of Thomas using attack ads to smear his political opponents (read the .pdf here). Horne has put up a counterattack website at TheAndyThomasTruth.com. According to the website, Thomas is described as still being under federal investigation, and that a court remarked that Thomas’ actions as a prosecutor have the “appearance of evil.” Thomas also apparently hates women.
This looks like we’re gearing up for an all-out war on the Republican side for the position of attorney general. Clearly, there’s no love lost between Thomas and Horne. It remains to be determined whether or not the Arizona Illustrated debate scheduled between these two candidates next week will touch on these negative attacks.
Negative campaigning is part of politics, and it can be a useful tactic in distinguishing oneself from one’s opponent: but there’s also a danger that the hateful back-and-forth will drive independent voters away from either candidate (particularly in the general election), and towards the candidate of the other political party.
Oh, hey — on a completely unrelated note — did you know that there are three Democrats running in the primary for attorney general? They are, in no particular order: Vince Rabago, Felicia Rotellini, and David Lujan. And there’s been very little sniping between these candidates on the Democratic side; these folks are so friendly towards each other, their debates have been practically boring. Wow, how about that?
Cross-posted: Blog for Arizona
Last night, while chatting with some friends, I predicted that a federal injunction would block SB 1070 some time today. I should’ve gotten a pool going — maybe I could’ve won some big bucks?
This morning, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton granted a partial injunction against SB 1070, preventing most of the nastier parts of SB 1070 from going into effect tomorrow. Saying that the federal government is likely to be able to demonstrate that SB 1070 pre-empts existing federal immigration laws, Bolton blocked the following provisions in her ruling:
- state and local police officers will be able to determine immigration status of detained suspects based on reasonable suspicion that the suspect is an illegal immigrant.
- legal immigrants or resident aliens will be charged with a crime under state laws for violating federal laws that they have their immigration documents on their person at all times.
- illegal immigrants can be charged with a state crime for applying for, or performing, work.
- stateand local police officers may make a warrantless arrest of any person suspected of a crime that would result in deportation of that person.
As a resident alien, I am particularly delighted that I won’t be charged with a state crime if I am found without my passport tomorrow. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to figure out if I even really oppose the neutered version of SB 1070 that will go into effect, which are:
- motor vehicles picking up day labourers — legally or illegally in this country — cannot block or impede the normal flow of traffic.
- people knowingly transporting an illegal immigrant in their vehicle can be charged with smuggling, if it can be shown they are doing so for profit.
- employers face charges if they knowingly employ an illegal immigrant.
Can I really say I’m against charging a vehicle with a traffic violation for blocking traffic? Not really, no — blocking traffic shouldn’t be allowable under any circumstance. How about charging employers with a crime for knowingly employing an illegal immigrant? Employers should not be allowed to hire illegal immigrants, and thereby skirt existing labour laws and avoid paying a fair wage. Furthemore, an existing Arizona state law requires that all employers use the federal government’s E-Verify system. SB1070, in essence, duplicates that state law, which has been on the books for two years.
As for the smuggling stuff — this part always sounded a little toothless to me. I mean, how would a court of law demonstrate that anyone, other than the members of a human trafficking ring who received payment from someone to illegally cross the border, knows a passenger’s immigration status? I always doubted that the average Joe, who drives his friend to the neighbourhood Boston Market, could be charged with smuggling if his friend turned out to be undocumented.
Now, I understand that the federal injunction is temporary, and that it’s possible (if unlikely) that the courts will allow SB 1070 to come into effect in its full form. And yes, I’m pissed that SB 1070 ever passed in Arizona in the first place.
But, I also think that there’s room here for tempering some of our outrage. SB 1070 is a terrible law, but there are some elements in the bill that need to be reasonably considered. To me, what sometimes gets lost in the anti-SB 1070 side of the argument is the fact that illegal immigrants are illegally in the country.
Illegal immigrants should not be harassed or mistreated (as Barry Wong suggested by cutting their utilities) or racially profiled or warrantlessly detained, but neither do they have a right to work in this country without paying income taxes. They do not have a right to federally-subsidized healthcare and education. They do not have the right to cross this country’s borders without abiding by this country’s immigration laws. Activists against SB 1070 sometimes seem to lose sight of this in their zeal to rail against the law.
So, I really can’t say that I’m terribly pissed off about the parts of SB 1070 that will become law tomorrow. I still have questions as to whether or not these portions still preempt federal law, but in spirit, I don’t find them particularly noxious. In fact, I’m remarkably optimistic that we’re well on our way to finding a good compromise on this whole matter. Perhaps we might even build some political momentum behind wholesale immigration reform.
And maybe even with a minimum of rioting?
Another recent post over at Change.org:
Why Pop Culture Matters to Race Bloggers
Prince of Persia, Twilight, The Last Airbender, Karate Kid, Red Dawn — this summer’s blockbusters seem to have gotten the blogosphere humming more than usual, with many writers examining Hollywood’s relationship with race.In my experience, sardonic or critical posts focusing on the latest pop culture icons fare far better among readers than dry, data-heavy sociological analyses (which take about 23 times as long to prepare). Pop culture diatribes tend to be easy to write, widely read and more likely to go viral. For bloggers who live and die by pageviews and ad-clicks, this is our bread and butter.
As if elections in Arizona weren’t exciting enough, we can always count on the ambitious to cross the line and go negative. And for our part, all we can do is sit back and try to avoid being caught in the crossfire of muckflinging.
In the Republican primary for attorney general, Tom Horne is squaring off against Andrew Thomas next month in a contentious, and hard to predict, race.
The following signs were spotted around Tucson this week:
Don't vote for Tom Horne -- he turns smiles upside down.
Just on a purely graphical note, these signs certainly do the right job in attacking Horne. Red triggers emotions of fear and anger. The text is large enough to read from any distance or lighting. And, really, who would vote for a guy who could make the bouncing Wal-mart happy face mascot cry?
The signs link to StopTom.com, a website that is saturated with righteous indignation against Tom Horne. The banner of the site accuses Horne of being a “RINO” – a Republican in name only. “Tom Horne is no conservative,” screams the header in stark blacks and greys, ”he is a confessed con artist.”
The website than proceeds on a long litany of accusations against Tom Horne, that supposedly demonstrate that Horne isn’t a true conservative — including the fact that Horne has received several speeding tickets. Because we all know that conservatives always abide by speeding laws. Reports are still pending as to whether or not Tom Horne also kicks puppies and steals candy from babies.
But the most inflammatory charge made by StopTom.com is the one also referred to in the campaign sign pictured above: that Tom Horne supposedly supports tax-payer funded abortions. And, it is true that while in the State Legislature, Horne voted “No” on HB 2708, which explicitly banned use of public funds to pay for abortions, in all or in part. The bill also required underage women to receive parental consent, and failed in the House by a vote of 28-28.
Interestingly, StopTom.com includes footer information revealing that it is paid for the “Thomas for AG Committee”. Horne is running as a traditional candidate, but Andrew Thomas is participating in Arizona’s Clean Elections Commission, which begs the question as to whether or not a potentially slanderous (or at least a clearly distasteful) negative campaign can be conducted on Clean Elections money.
Turns out it can. I called up the Clean Elections office today and found out that the Commission allows candidates to conduct negative campaigning with its funds. “We don’t regulate speech [in campaign materials],” said a representative of the Clean Elections office. Furthermore, a financial disclosure (which the sign pictured above lacks) is not required on small campaign materials, including campaign signs (regardless of the dimensions of the sign). So, as long as the expense is documented in the candidate’s financial reports, Clean Elections candidates are free to pay for attack ads out of their campaign funds – while hiding the fact that they’re paying for the ad on the materials themselves. Talk about loopholes.
Either way, while I’m no fan of Tom Horne (aka, the guy who spear-headed Arizona’s recent ban on ethnic studies programs), I’m really put off by the shameful muckflinging demonstrated by the sign above.
Tom Horne may (or may not) support tax-payer funded abortions, but Andrew Thomas clearly supports tax-payer funded character assasination.
Note: I am awaiting a comment from the Horne campaign on this story. If I hear back, I will update this article accordingly.
UPDATE: I have written about Tom Horne’s responses to this negative ad campaign here.
Cross-posted: Blog for Arizona