Obama: Using China to gain votes with the same old xenophobia

Monday, February 04, 2008

Updated February 4th 7:30 PM

You know what I get sick of? I get sick of people who use fear tactics that play on ignorance and xenophobia - and I get even more sick of it when it's turned around to Asian Americans. It's like the auto industry and Vincent Chin - Chin became a local scapegoat who got murdered for an American problem because people took it upon themselves to look at him as the enemy - that slanty eyed enemy who took away American white jobs.

And as far as we've come, it's still happening.

Even candidates like Obama who talk of change and a new America still can't help but lean on this old and tired stereotype. Check out a snippet a friend sent me which apparently is getting even more air play because of Super Tuesday (being cut for different areas):

I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message.

BO speaking to town hall sized crowd
BO Synch: Ordinary people all across the country are struggling from paycheck to paycheck.

If the plant moves to China, and you’ve been working there for 20, 30 years and suddenly you have the rug pulled out from under ya…

And you don’t have healthcare, and you don’t have a pension, you’re on your own.

We gotta stop giving tax breaks to companies that are moving overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in IA

In the United States of America.
Because we as Americans have no idea how to save like the rest of the world *gasp* it's China's fault? Because a U.S. company couldn't provide their workers with health care because of our American system it's China's fault? Because American companies and lobby groups have allowed our government to create tax breaks for large corporations investing all over the world that's China's fault too?

What about the Bahamas? Shouldn't they get some blame as well?

But then again what am I thinking - easier to blame the Asian people right?

Does Obama even know that less than 1% of jobs are actually outsourced - in total? Does Obama know that China really doesn't have anything to do with our U.S. health care system?

See - this is different from talking about fair trade and tariffs - this to me is outright fear mongering at the expense of Asian Americans - because as many know in the Asian American community, the line between China and Chinese Americans - and then Asian Americans in general isn't that hard for some people to connect - no matter how wrong that connection is.

Do I have to bring up the manufacturing of toys made in China, or some food that came out from a plant or two? Do I have to remind people that Asian and Asian Americans are sometimes still seen as a collective who all look alike?

Do I have to say Vincent Chin again?

Even more befuddling at times is how some Asian American media and bloggers come out in support of Obama, but yet they make no mention of this. I understand about supporting your candidate - but nothing? Hasn't this ad been up since Iowa?

What? Because Obama has some people of Asian decent in his family he can do no wrong? We're not supposed to call him on his tactics - the same ones that have been used throughout history to keep down Asian Americans?

I'm not saying you can't be for Obama - you can and maybe you should (just like Clinton or McCain) - I'm not saying Obama isn't a good candidate either. But what I am saying is that Obama, like every other candidate, still needs to be held accountable for issues like this where he is clearly in the wrong.