Earlier this week, I gave a standing-room only talk at Yale about the Asian American Model Minority Myth, wherein I talked about the Myth’s anti-Black underpinnings and its dehumanizing obfuscation of the struggles (and very real racism) faced by the diverse people who belong to the AANHPI community. Afterwards, a young Chinese American woman came up to me and introduced herself: her name was Joyce. Earlier this year, her father (Temple University physics professor and former department chairman, Xiaoxing Xi) had been arrested by the Justice Department and wrongly accused of espionage. In 2002, Xi had worked at a company that had invented something called a pocket heater, which is now a restricted technology used in superconductor research. Later, Xi purchased limited access to the technology for one year to continue his research on it.
In an emotional and heartfelt op-ed published this past week, Joyce recounts how in May of this year, the US Justice Department raided the Xi family home. Twelve FBI agents broke into the house in the early morning hours and pointed guns at a bewildered and terrified Xi, his wife, and their children. The agents dragged Xi away in handcuffs, and accused him of sharing the pocket heater schematics with Chinese scientists in 2010, in a series of emails. They implicated Xi — a US citizen who naturalized in 1989 — as a Chinese spy. In addition to facing federal charges of espionage, Xi became informally black-listed: before even having a chance to defend himself in a court of law, Xi found himself demoted from his departmental chairmanship by Temple University.
One inconvenient problem: Xi appears to be completely innocent.
Oh, hell no.
Less than an hour after Donald Trump ejected Univision reporter Jorge Ramos from a press conference in Iowa, the buffoonish moppet-topped businessman turned presidential hopeful adopted broken English (and possible stereotypically Asian r/l slurring) in a campaign speech (video after the jump). Trump was apparently trying to mimic Japanese or Chinese businessmen.
Earlier, in that same press conference where Ramos later went on to openly confront Trump on his anti-Latino rhetoric, Trump also suggested that undocumented immigrant gang members had sparked riots in Ferguson, referred to Asia as a “country”, demanded an apology from Megyn Kelly for asking questions relevant to feminism, and promised to immediately expel all undocumented immigrants from the American soil with an invitation for “good ones” to return.
Right now, Congress is considering the Marketplace Fairness Act, a bill that would change US tax law to allow states to collect taxes from online retailers, even if those retailers are physically located outside of the state of the sale. The Act is backed by the Alliance for Main Street Fairness, a public relations groups which argues that existing tax loopholes disadvantage the mom-and-pop brick-and-mortar small businesses of American “Main Street” by requiring them to pass the cost of state taxes onto their patrons, while online retailers can charge lower prices for the same goods.
Ironically, however, the Alliance for Main Street Fairness doesn’t actually just represent small business; instead, it includes among its members big box-store retailers such as Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot and JC Penney.
This month the Alliance for Main Street Fairness has set its sights on lobbying for the Marketplace Fairness Act using ads that specifically target Alibaba, a Chinese eBay-style online retailer. These ads draw upon Yellow Peril fears by casting a Chinese face as the destroyer of Main Street. In addition to the ad embedded above, the group has released a cartoon showing a red wrecking ball emblazoned with the name “Alibaba” and the yellow stars of the Chinese flag smashing the windows of an American Main Street shop (after the jump).
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!