Saturday, May 31, 2014

mixed race kids dilemmas

Phwewww! Thank god a rich white guy stepped in to save us from symbolic racism. I was getting worried. Without rich white guys like Steve Ballmer, we might have to look systemic racism in the face. As you were.

Speaking of which, a post about the racism and misogyny Asian-Americans deal with (h/t Broadsnark).  

On the other hand, there's the racism non-purebred-nihonjins deal with in Japan:
Did I tell you about the time I was at a hospital with my girl, then one year old, talking with some nice-seeming folks kind enough to not assume I wanted to, and could only, speak English? A rare treat. It was heaven until they asked about my girl's origins, whereupon I said she was a nihonjin. Hahaha, I laugh in retrospect, now getting it. One said, with great confusion, like, "so the mom is Japanese?" And I said, no, the kid was born in Japan, she speaks Japanese, she eats Japanese food, etc., she's Japanese. And another said, "oh, so she's half?" Hey, did I tell you it's completely OK, as in, there's not even any other word for it, to refer to a person with a parent of impure lineage as "half"?

So, with the kids, 3 and 5, about to be swallowed up or, rather, planted, by the Japanese education system, like those trees that line streets round here designed by city halls, bound in concrete, limbs regularly pruned, standing at a distance fixed by authorities, leaves escaping with great effort only to be pruned yet again on authority's whim, the wife and I have been contemplating a move to the U.S., where un- (or, home) schooling would be more doable.

A move to the U.S. and good odds of emasculation for the half-Asian boy and, I assume, greater odds of rape for the girl *shudders*.

Or stay here for a lifetime of halfdom and dedication to the spirit of trying hard and faking smiles 50 hours a week if you're lucky, because that's what good robots do. And more ass-grabs, shittier employment opportunities for the girl. But slightly less rape. I think. Yes, I'd like to bubble-wrap them up forever.  No, not a great option, or instinct but maybe not the worst instinct either.

From the collapse of the empire and its trusty Asian sidekicks riding shotgun to Japan's impending demographic nightmare and reactionary isolationism to the desperate, awkward hope that my kids don't end up like most kids in the world, the ones I got my ipad from, for example, or even the hope they don't end up like 99% of the kids in the richest country that's ever been, brains overrun by profit-seeking memes, this is an impossible calculus. Hoping to make the least terrible decision. No pressure. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

intentional insanity, symbolic lines in the sand, racist word things

This and this.

Symbolic cleansing is the main theme, a classic. We wash our hands and the stink comes off. We go to penance and unload our sins. We say sorry and win a new blank slate on which to screw up all over again. They form a commission and get their official seal of approval. Bernie Madoff pays the penitential price, and his contemporaries are purified; the impurity having been removed, by opaque inference, those remaining are deemed uninfected.

A good field goal kicker has a short memory. An MMA fighter on a losing streak is 100% sure he's going to win the next one. He's cleansed himself of his loss and regained his confidence insanity. He's 100% sure, you see. 100%. Once fight has been chosen over flight, self-delusion has enormous evolutionary advantages.

So of course I'm glad to know Donald Sterling is suffering. Did you know rich people suffer too? True story. And I did enjoy when the younger Stark girl killed that guy in the tavern. Get me to a priestery, I need a soul cleansing.

But Sterling's axing was a ritual reinvigoration, confirmation, celebration of the delusional purity, as always, of the inside. Revenge feels good. Smiting feels good. This is how every couple's quarrel plays out, the badness of the other vindicating the righteousness of the self. "You're wrong/bad because..." is at the same time "I'm right/good because." This is the basis of the two-party scam, you might have recognized. Somewhere Floyd and Greenwald are still telling each other what a bad, bad boy the other has been.

Back to our villain, this Sterling. All of the actors responsible for the purification ritual in question, previously aiders and abettors -- owners, media, players -- now get to pat themselves on their stylishly attired backs for their brave anti-racism. Can racism be overcome by "good" rich dudes punishing "bad" rich dudes for symbolic trespass after the former let slide decades of well-known economic-effect-having racism? Does it matter that most of those involved looked around first, being in the business of self-censorship, to check if their gut reaction that, 'hey, isn't this the kind of thing I'm supposed to get mad about?,' was the group, i.e., correct, reaction?

And of course, there are still well over 2 million humans incarcerated in the U.S. (to satisfy purity yearnings!) on demonstrably racist grounds. Outsiders by "race" are socio-economically, systemically, at an enormous disadvantage, to put it somewhat weakly. As far as the official civic religion goes, these facts, impacting millions of lives for the worse, are irrelevant. Nobody cares. Or, care, and you're a nobody. Nobody (with power) cared (enough to risk anything) when Donald Sterling screwed over poor non-whites. They only cared when his (fucking) mouth made (fucking) racist word things. The treasured belief that "we are not racist" can only be challenged by super-explicitly racist word things. Seems the problem is that most brains cannot translate systemic racism into coherent symbols with sufficient epistemic confidence to present a challenge to the "America not racist" narrative.