Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Yellows Against Obama :: 80-20’s "Defeat Obama" Campaign

Whoooeeee. Don’t you love that musty smell of bourgeois Asian American nationalism in the morning?

The knees are jerking over at the 80-20 Initiative, a group of crusty old Asian Am politicos trying to forge a Yellow Power voting bloc, over Obama’s apparent refusal to answer a simple six-question. (For the history, go here.)

Now don’t get me wrong. Heck, I’m certifiably pro-Yellow Power! I even wear Mao t-shirts sometimes (though mostly so people will think I’m Jeff Mao). And I think Obama’s–overwhelmingly white, it must be said–top professional staff has been particularly dumb when dealing with Asian Americans.

Here’s a particularly egregious screwup–one that btw didn’t happen to affect Americans of East Asian descent, and so apparently passed completely unnoticed by the 80-20ers.

Folks, this incident was so bad that it led to the flight of notable amounts of money and support from Americans of South Asian descent to Hillary, and Obama himself had to apologize publicly and distance himself from his staff.

But 80-20…well, let’s just reprint let Bob Wing’s letter to 80-20. It says it all:

I applaud your efforts to press Mr. Obama and the other presidential candidates on issues related to Asian Americans. But I think your Defeat Obama campaign is divisive and not related to your stated mission of uniting Asian Americans. Worse, I think it plays to the racism that is unfortunately so prevalent in our society, including among some Asian Americans.

As Asian Americans we ought to know that one of the principal forms of racism is the often unfair claim, usually by some whites, that we and other people of color are not qualified to hold important positions. To say that Mr. Obama is not qualified to be president is not only incorrect, it also plays to that racism.

Moreover, it inflames the racial fires currently impacting upon the Democratic campaign in response to Mr. Obama’s success in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.

I have no problem with criticizing Mr. Obama or any other candidate if they refuse to support legitimate Asian American rights. I also would have no problem with your deciding to throw your support behind a particular candidate and saying why. Those are positive actions.

But to mount a campaign claiming that Mr. Obama is unqualified to be president is harshly negative and divisive.

Whatever critique you may have of Mr. Obama, he is surely as qualified as many if not most of the people who have ever run for or even held the presidency. To decide that one candidate is more qualified than the others is what every voter must decide. To claim that a candidate with impressive credentials and massive backing such as Mr. Obama is not qualified at all is a harsh claim that smacks of partisan hype.

I hope you reconsider this ill conceived campaign and refocus on proactive efforts for Asian American equality and political unity.

posted by @ 2:29 pm | 10 Comments

10 Responses to “Yellows Against Obama :: 80-20’s "Defeat Obama" Campaign”

  1. Kid Che says:

    I should qualify my comments with stating this first: I am a Chinese-American and an Obama supporter.

    Growing up in a conservative family that voted republican because “they’re good for business,” I’ve often been frustrated by Asian Americans reluctance to confront real issues, preferring to settle for model minority status. This reluctance to challenge the status quo is because Asian Americans fall higher in this bullshit perceived racial hierarchy that we dream up.

    80-20’s “Defeat Obama” movement only works to continue this trend. Didn’t the civil rights movements help all minorities though the issues were specifically related to the Black community? When are we going to realize that as long as we allow the establishment to play divide-and-conquer, we’re going to continue to end up with crusty old white men running our country?

  2. marcus says:

    LMAO…I love it. Yellow-on-Yellow tongue thrashing. After years of blck-on-blck shit-talking (Read new inductee: Bob Johnson) it’s refreshing (and very American) to see. That shit was as entertaining as the Korean Vet on line at the DMV cussing out a Chinese guy sayin: You think I Chinese?! I no fucking Chinese? I Ko-Re-An!!! Uh, I no fucking Chinese.” And, yeah, the 80-20 Obama rant is a bit racist but, hey, he needs to be challenged. And if members of the 80-20 wanna think a little like whites, fine. White folks will eventually remind them of who they are: Yellow Niggas…LOL. Just hope a plunger in the ass doesn’t cum as the reminder.

  3. jrenee says:

    you gotta be kidding me… It kills me that they have no analysis of understanding complexity of race and oppression… much less even beginning to try to organize to try and change it… (ie. their boycott Obama campaign?)

    besides, they already lose credibility in my book by how unreadable their blog is… its a blur of red and numbers, entries that should have visual section breaks, etc.

  4. Zentronix says:

    kid che, right with you. 80-20 thinks they are playing hardball, but this feels more like crumbsnatching.

    marcus, OUCH.

    j., love the design dis! my eyes are still recovering!!

  5. Phillip says:

    judging by the content on 80-20’s site, I don’t know if anyone on their staff is literate enough to understand Bob Wing’s letter. I know, I know, that plays right into the stereotype of Charlie Chan no-speak-engrish, but how hard would it be for an organization claiming to represent 700,000 to hire just one person who can write well?

    Not only that, but Obama’s camp did respond ot the six-question letter, pledging to work towards appointing AAPI judges, but saying that they had concerns over the wording of the questionnaire. That questionnaire was revised for other candidates’ campaigns, but strangely not for Obama’s.

    Additionally, 80-20 is a PAC, the type of organization Senator Obama has pledged not to accept donations from.

  6. nv.apaforobama.com says:

    Asian Americans who support Senator Obama are undeterred by 80-20’s divisive approach to political engagement.

    A group of AAPIs, including Kelly Hu, Eric Byler and Annabel Park are in Las Vegas right now doing what they can to help Barack Obama become our next president.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for commentary, I was disappointed to read that 80/20 has decided to support Clinton. I read through Obama’s letter response to them, and he details carefully his support of Asian Americans, and I can say that I am more impressed with the fact that he actually has his own viewpoint and approach to minority issues, as opposed to Clinton and the other candidates, who have allowed viewpoints to be dictated to them, and then signed ‘yes’, in what is clearly a politically serving approach to the situation. – From an educated Asian American female voting for Obama

  8. Anonymous says:

    Obama should answer “Yes” or showed he was working on it from day 1.

    We may not read/speak English well, but Obama and you, his supporters, still have to win our vote.

    “Ban all Chinese toys” should be “Ban all bad toys”. Hope Obama will think this more…Otherwise, you will see the samething in general election!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am a Chinese American and 80-20’s movement to defeat Obama is very backwards, disgraceful, and short-sighted.

  10. Zentronix says:

    ‘”Ban all Chinese toys” should be “Ban all bad toys”. ‘

    Wow. So you’re upset because Obama went off on Chinese toys with lead-based paints? This is supposed to be evidence he’s biased against Chinese people or something?

    Meanwhile I’m left thinking: what about the Chinese workers who have to work with these toxics–and what about their children?

    Oh bougie Asian Americans…you’re no better than the progressive presidential candidates you unaccountably despise.

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