Freedom of Speech: American Style
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The following letters were distributed to a large email discussion group on Chinese American issues. Email addresses have been deleted.
CAMW Rating: Bravos to our Chinese American brothers!
Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2001 02:34:30 +0800 From: Bevin
Subject: RE: Stayng quiet
Dear Ed, Basilio,
Being a "good Chinaman" is no longer an option.
Chinese Americans are belatedly finding themselves in the same place African Americans found themselves in back in the 60s. Back then black Americans had to decide whether to keep trying to be "good niggers" or try a new tack because the old way just wasn't working.
They chose to be "uppity niggers," and like the Peter Finch character in the movie "Network, got to the point where they were "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore." Now Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Samuel Jackson are leading men.
No more Step n' Fetchits for them. And no more Hop Sings for us.
Being "good niggers" didn't work for them, and it won't work for us. Lee Wenho tried it. Look where it got him. The China bashers claim to admire Fang Lizhi, Harry Wu, Wei Jingshen, Wang Dan. They claim to admire their courage in defying their own nation's government.
I say it's time to find out if they're serious, or whether it's merely a case of whose ox is being gored. I say it's time for Chinese Americans to take a leaf from Wei Jingshen's book, and see how our American government reacts when American counterparts of Wei Jingshen demand the same rights and respect from the American government.
At 09:42 AM 4/13/01 -0700, Edward Liu wrote:
Given the atmosphere of jingoism at this time in America, one cannot win the "saliva" war.
In the public relations realm, it is obvious that W. Bush and his team in the White House are orchestrating a media blitz to spin the story they would like the American public to know.
Inherently, in the saliva war, it is now the "bashers" in center stage, not the "constructive engagers," and not even the "needlers."
What is more important, after this first round, is what comes on the second, and later rounds.
I think in the short-term, the following will be political "tripwires" in U.S.-China relations:
1. The issue of resuming spy planes off the South China Coast;
2. The issue of sophisticated arms sales to Taiwan.
Both of these are "meat and potatoes" issues, and how W. Bush will decide will determine whether or not the "Bashers" are in charge, or the "constructive engagers," and the "needlers" are in control. I consider Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to be in the first camp, and General Collin Powell to be in the latter camp.
What concerns further is not how America engages in the PR "saliva war," by bashing China, but how it will impact domestically on the fate of Chinese-Americans.
Already, one can discern the tone shifting since 1997, with the Asian donorgate scandal, then last year with Wen Ho Lee. There is a mood is this country which harkens back to a hundred fifty years ago in the era of "People versus Hall", when the "Celestial" People were lumped together and considered to be "negroes", and hence, incompetent to challenge the white man.
This thread in American history has been dormant for sometime, but it is resurfacing again.
Just observing how the news media pundits, cartoonists, talking heads, talk show hosts, have racheted up this demonishing, racist dribble, have been distressing for me.
You are correct: we don't need these "namby-pamby" types in the Chinese-American community, or what remains of it, to suck up to American politicians and play the role of "little yellow brother."
Little brother Lin-Tien, formerly the famed UC Berkeley chancellor, is one of these "howdy-doody" little yellow brother. I see some of those in the Committee of 100 - the Shanghai clique and Shanghai chic, "American moon is rounder" types.
It is also important to talk softy, firmly, but carry a big stick. Now, at this time, we Asian-Americans not only can't talk; we ain't firm; and we don't have no stick.
This is the sad state of affairs. But definitely, let's no longer play "namby-pamby" asslickers and cocksuckers. For me, this is no time for licking or sucking. The only thing I will lick are stamps, and the only thing I will suck are oranges.