One of my first exposures to observation of social fear of whites was reading an anecdote of an Asian-Am woman born here and walking the park with her grandfather. She said how she respected her grandfather; who was kind but stern. He’d use his deep baritone voice to direct and correct his grandkids when they acted out. One day in the park, a white kid came up and said something offensive to him. Rather than confront him, as he normally did for them or other Asian kids, he said nothing. And slowly walked away. From that day on, the As-Am girl said it changed her perception of her grandfather (and of Asian men). (It’s likely that the Asian grandfather tried saying something an earlier time, and the white parents came rushing in like mad, insane with “protective instinct” and the Asian grandfather backed off, and then thereon decided not to get involved)
I’ve seen this myself too. Once I was with a few family friends in a store in the city. One my of “uncles” (which is just a term to use to describe one of your parent’s friends) was saying something about this store being a waste of time. He is normally very talkative and combative if need be. However, in this case, the white store manager got in his face and said “If you don’t want to be in this store, you can leave”. He was silent. Said nothing.
Social fear arises from past bad outcomes when engaging in social conflict with someone or some group. It is not uncommon with minorities given the majority is often white, or have more power in the setting. However, I’ve also met many Asians- many 2nd gen (some 1st gen) who act the same way with whites they do to anyone else.
1st Gen vs. 2nd Gen
It made me realize that acquiescence to whites is an adaptive 1st gen strategy in some ways. 1st gens have modest social expectations. They want a career and family, and no problems. Their wife they meet from back home or a fellow immigrant. If as a man, you back down to whites, your fellow immigrant spouse may think no worse of you. She may also seek to avoid confrontation with whites. But a white girl? Or an American born Asian or Indian woman? Oh yeah- she will lose respect for you in a heartbeat. 1st gens could not handle white aggression the same way- they lacked the verbal skill. Even now if they have it, they probably remember cases when they first arrived and couldn’t verbally spar as well. That memory stays with them. Bear in mind the 1st gen RARELY has any whites as part of their permanent social circle. But if you’re second gen, again, if you simply fold every time a white steps to you, you lose cred with your friends. Even men rank one another in status terms, having nothing to do with women.
Because social self-defense against whites had no direct correlation to the 1st gen’s standing either with his Significant Other or with his largely immigrant Asian friends, he avoided conflict with whites. He didn’t know how to win the conflict, and in any case, the social expectations of his peers/spouse were low. He could afford to lose.
Unfortunately, he often tries to pass this trait on to his children (since children watch what parents do, not say), who can ill afford it.
In a group situation, with 2nd gen and 1st gen, it’s often the case that if a white person makes some unsolicited comment about you or your group (which white people do often, given how nasty they can tend to be; and also because they assume Asians are ‘soft’), you’ll often find the 2nd gen being more likely to stand up to whites. But 1st gen timidly trying to avoid confrontation or chastise the other not to ‘get involved’; they sometimes get angry at 1st gen for even engaging. Their social fear combined with their supposed “higher standing” (from their often being ‘older’) makes for a confusing, counter-productive role. 1st gens who are of a similar age– often don’t actively try to thwart Asians from standing up for themselves; they range from being impressed that someone stands up to whites to also wanting to avoid the conflict, but not doing anything to undercut the other.
I believe the social fear that Asian 1st gen men have of conflict with whites may be one reason 2nd gen women drift away from 2nd gen Asian men, through no fault of the latter. They just assume things will be the same.
How to Deal with It
A few things to realize:
Ignore the chidings of 1st gen Asians who have a kind of stockholm syndrome when it comes to social conflict with whites; and take a perverse pride in avoiding it, as well as lecturing the next gen to avoid it as well. As described, this avoidance strategy was fine for their modest social expectations. If you’re to mix with whites socially, dating, etc. – you need a toolset to stand up to whites and put them in their place when they act up.
I would put myself as one of those people that doesn’t mind giving it right back to whites. Partly, because when out in public, I see myself as just another person, and see whoever else as just another person. This often happens when a white person says something unsolicited when I’m: at the drycleaners, on the elevator, standing in a park, on line to buy something. etc. I’ll call this Unsolicited Commentary – a common aggression of whites. It ranges from the mildly annoying (when it’s not in the form of an insult, just an intrusion, and not a necessarily polite one) to the intolerable (ie: racial epithet). The first thing is to not be blindsided by it or impressed by it. I find if you just say something back to them, just as confidently and look them in the eye, they often are at a loss for words.
An Example (Extreme Case)
(I realize this may not be the best example; it may not be the most common either, so it has less direct usefulness to the reader. But it stood out in my mind and was somewhat colorful, so I thought I’d share it)
Then there are cases which are more direct. Not too long ago, I had an extended vacation in Australia. I had come to the park with a few friends. They had gone to the restroom and then to get some things from a nearby convenience store and I sat down on a park bench. Admiring the lake, I noticed someone had hit by shoe with a stick. I looked up and saw a bratty white kid. I stood up from the bench and proceeded towards that family. Sure enough, the white father acted like an albino Western lowland gorilla, trying to act overly protective. I wasn’t impressed and told him he had better apologize.
At first, he said, “what’s the problem mate?” even though he had seen the whole thing. I told him he knew what the problem was and he had better apologize. He just kept jabbering excuses and trying to act tough. Finally, I had enough, and made it clear to him that I was going to beat him and his kid was going to watch. (There’s a concept called “gameness” – to develop traits of eagerness despite the threat of substantive injury; it’s the signal men send in a conflict that they are absolutely willing to fight.) At this point, he stopped acting like an albino gorilla, because he knew I was serious, calmed down and apologized.
Unfortunately, that’s what it sometimes takes with whites, although this is an extreme case of the scenarios I’m talking about. As an adult fights are rare, but you have to at least be willing to make clear you will. In the extreme scenario with whites, you may have to.
(Of course, 10 minutes later as he and his family left hurriedly, he tried to get the last word as he was full speed walking away (a very white thing to do). I gladly told him to “fuck off” so his wife and kids could hear.)
This is life in white world. Their being aggressive but Asians telling them off. It’s something that’s foreign to a lot of Chans and certain 1st-genners. (In fact, they will try to “apologize” on your behalf if there’s any sign of conflict with a white person.)
Lifting is important to this; and important to gameness. Have lifted for the last 10 years.
This gets more complicated in a group setting- but I’ll leave that to another post. Esp when surrounded by conflict-averse Asians (conflict-averse to whites primarily) as I explained earlier. Whites are very skilled in finding out the weak links in a group that are amenable to their dialogue and use Chans as “useful idiots” in social aggression. More complicated on how to handle that, but that’s for later.
For now, just wanted to speak on a few dynamics I’ve observed and tie them together.
Great speech on immigrants. Why should Asian Americans discount ourselves because we are not white? It is every Asian person’s right to demand equal rights and equal treatment in America.
Eddit Huang speech on immigrants