Why Are Asians Invisible?

Chris Roberts, American Renaissance, September 22, 2016

Because liberals want it that way.

Every so often, someone in the media or academy asks, “Why are Asians in America largely invisible?” It’s a good question. Almost no one worries about the welfare and identity of Asians–unlike for blacks and Hispanics. You can see this discrepancy everywhere.

  • The media have plenty of prominent black talking heads who focus on “black” issues–Ta-Nehisi Coates, Donna Brazile, Gary Younge, Joy Reid, Roland Martin, et al.–but there are no prominent Asian talking heads who focus on “Asian” issues.
  • Black and Hispanic advocacy groups are well known, and always portrayed positively: NAACP, La Raza, and MEChA. Can you name a single Asian one?
  • In public schools–and I speak from experience–reading lists are filled with sob stories about blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians: To Kill a Mockingbird, Bless Me Ultima, The House on Mango Street, Love Medicine, Black Boy, The Invisible Man, etc. Asians have just one such book that white students must read, The Joy Luck Club.
  • There are countless books on the economic and cultural status of blacks in the United States. Jonathan Kozol has made a name for himself writing about blacks in public education for over half a century. Books such as The New Jim Crow and Gang Leader for a Day always set off hand-wringing discussions about “what it’s like to be black in America.” One of the few Asian equivalents was Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which examined the rigors of Asian-American parenting.
  • Much is made of blacks and Hispanics generally. The Huffington Post has a section for “Black Voices” and “Latino Voices” but nothing for Asians, and plenty of other websites are the same way. Bookstores invariably have a section on “African-American Studies,” but only very large or specialized ones have “Asian-American / Pacific Islander Studies.” There are plenty of films and TV shows about blacks, such as Roots and 12 Years a Slave, but Asians have little media specifically tailored to them. Blacks and Hispanics even have their own TV channels: BET and Univision. Asians do not.

It is true that for every three blacks in the US, there is only one Asian, but this does not explain the discrepancy, because Asians get far less than one-third of the attention blacks get. Is it because blacks have been here since the 17th century, while Asians only started arriving in large numbers in the late 19th century? No. Hispanic immigration began in earnest only in the last 50 years, yet Hispanics are already discussed at much greater length than Asians.

The reason Asians are invisible is simple: They are successful. They are a silent refutation of the view that white wickedness causes the failures of blacks and Hispanics. That’s why the media and academy ignore them.

In the United States, on average:

Of course, the opposite is true of blacks and Hispanics, and this is generally thought to prove that white racism is still a terrible force.

But if blacks and Hispanics earn less money than whites because of malevolent social forces, then wouldn’t it follow that similarly malevolent forces make whites less successful than Asians? If affirmative action for blacks is necessary because society conspires to keep their test scores low and keep them out of college, shouldn’t whites who lag behind Asians deserve a similar leg up?

Ta-Nehisi Coates has said that “there’s nothing wrong with black people that the complete and total elimination of white supremacy would not fix.” That means white supremacy causes high rates of black crime, poverty, and illegitimacy. Then what causes higher rates of white crime, poverty, and illegitimacy compared to Asians?

Critics of IQ and other tests claim they are “culturally biased” in favor of the people who created them–whites–which explains why blacks and Hispanics score poorly. How do Asians outscore whites?

Asians have done well without affirmative action or set-asides. Nor have they formed aggressive pressure groups like the NAACP to get where they are. They don’t need special after-school programs or “role models” in popular culture.

They’ve had plenty of obstacles as well. Anti-Asian sentiment was high for a long time, which led to violence on the West Coast and immigration restrictions that specifically excluded Asians, such as the “Chinese Exclusion Act,” and the “Gentlemen’s Agreement.” Needless to say, if blacks had been sent to relocation camps during the Second World War, they would never shut up about it, but that did not hold back Japanese Americans.

Asian accomplishment in the face of discrimination, and with minimal help from government, “anti-racist” organizations, and charities suggests that those groups that cannot do well for themselves–even with massive support–have something else standing in their way: genes.

The elites in academia, government, and media (what Sam Francis called the “managerial elite”) make a living analyzing and proposing solutions to problems. Black and Hispanic problems of crime, poverty, and education, are infinite fodder for egalitarian theorists, bureaucrats, and commentators. Asians provide nothing for these people. Even more important, the success of Asians also suggests that genes are a bigger factor in success than government programs or colleges that teach “white privilege.” That is a big problem for leftists.

All of the pundits who make a living blaming whites for the failures of non-whites would be out of a job if it were shown that genes were the problem. Human resources departments could be cut to the bone, and multicultural administrators and whole government agencies could be abolished.

The reason no one writes about Asians, therefore, is because to even mention their success implies that genes help explain the world around us, and our ruling elite can’t have that. That is why Asians are invisible.

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Chris Roberts
Chris Roberts is Director of Special Projects at American Renaissance.
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