Who Are These So Called “Asian American Voters?”

Slate asks: why don’t we ever hear about the electoral influence of Asian Americans?

“Presidential campaigns can feel like an informal census. As the candidates traverse the country, they pander to Latino voters, African-American voters, working-class white voters, older voters, younger voters, elite-college-graduate voters … everyone gets to feel important.

Except Asian-American voters. Somehow, amid all the demographic navel-gazing, the country’s third-largest, fastest-growing minority—now 15.2 million people, or 5 percent of the population—gets overlooked.”

First of all, I’d just like to say that the so called “Asian American voter” is a mythical creature: though not as fantastic as flying unicorns and three-headed hydras, but on the same level as the Qilin.

Slate offers several explanations as to why the Asian American vote is not influential, but the most convincing one to me is geographical:

“The five states with the largest Asian populations are, in order, California, New York, Texas, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Not exactly the swingiest places around.”

I think this pretty much settles the question, and once again everything can be attributed to the electoral college, which should be abolished. In states like CA and NY, the individual’s popular vote is essentially a throwaway. Again, the electoral college disproportionately gives more weight to swing state voters, but something as arbitrary as where you reside (or immigrate to, in the case of Asian Americans) should not be the determining factor.

And the one instance that Slate points out as the efficacy of Asian American voters is HRC’s winning over 75 percent of the Asian vote in the California primary this year. What Slate doesn’t mention, sadly, is this: Asians are notoriously racist. In fact, I have not yet met anyone who’s more racist than Asians, especially the Chinese. Yes, I’m talking about my own people, but even I can’t lie about this. Otherwise decent Asian people, especially immigrants, harbor some really nasty prejudices against blacks, hispanics, and even other Asian people. This is the dirty little secret that no one ever talks about: mark my words, Asians will vote against Obama in droves.

Maybe I’m just too sensitive to this shit, but I get annoyed whenever political actors try to mobilize an entire ethnicity (even one as heterogenous as Asians) as a GROUP. Maybe it’s because I’ve had one too many experiences in which well-intentioned, nice white people fucking expected me to be some kind of cultural ambassador, but I cringe everytime those kind of expectations are hoisted on me. And it really annoys me, having traversed the political scene, that Asian Americans are typically stuck in “Asian American” political organizations.

In my opinion, the way to go is not for Asian Americans with political ambitions (definitely not me) to be working with other Asian American political actors: rather, they should not self-consciously make their group-identity the crux of their political careers. In other words: don’t play the political game through ethnicity; play the political game period, and play it well. That is the only way to get respect.

But this just shows the paradox of American politics: in a country founded on individual rights, you can’t get shit done politically unless you let yourself become part of a conformitizing collective.


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