May 6, 2014

Slate: "Donald Sterling's Model Minority"

Two Chinese junior English Lit faculty members explain how Donald T. Sterling victimized Koreans in Slate:
Donald Sterling’s Model Minority

What the Clippers owner’s love of Koreans reveals about racism in America. 
By Hua Hsu and Richard Jean So 
Donald Sterling's affection for Koreans is the flip side of a deeply held, racist worldview: Alongside the "undesirable" minority groups, there is another that does everything right. 
... But there’s another piece to Sterling’s warped worldview, one that illustrates the bizarre and incoherent ways in which racism works. As Sterling allegedly schemed to rid his properties of certain racial minorities, he sought to fill his development with Koreans, an ethnic group he valorized as hardworking and reliable. 
Sterling did not take a passive approach to attracting Korean tenants. He changed the name of one of his buildings to “Korean World Towers,” adorned his buildings with Korean flags, and explicitly stated a preference for “Koreans” in his housing ads. A group of tenants, who saw this as a thinly disguised attempt to discriminate against black and Latino housing applicants, filed a discrimination case against Sterling in 2002. In 2003, a U.S. district judge issued an injunction barring him from using the word “Korean” in his building names and advertisements. 
Why did Donald Sterling love Koreans? At a basic level, he was buying into the myth of the “model minority”: the perception that Asian-Americans, compared with other nonwhite minorities, are innately intelligent and well-behaved.

Sterling has made a billion dollars in the Los Angeles real estate business over the last 50 years. Perhaps he's learned more about racial reality in diverse modern American than have two junior English Lit professors?
To Sterling, this made them ideal tenants: “[Koreans] will live in whatever conditions [I give] them and still pay the rent without complaint,” he allegedly remarked. His respect for the Asian immigrant’s quiet diligence extended to his own business. According to ESPN’s Peter Keating, in 2003 Sterling’s real estate business “had 74 white employees, four Latinos, zero blacks, and 30 Asians.” 
Lest you think Sterling’s prejudices begin and end with race, note that 26 of his 30 Asian employees were women, and that he wanted them to fulfill an Orientalist fantasy. One former employee claimed that Sterling would “tell me that I needed to learn the ‘Asian way’ from his younger girls because they knew how to please him.” 
Legions of social scientists and historians have debunked the myth of the Asian-American’s “natural” orientation toward economic achievement. They point out that it is more a function of immigration trends in the 1960s, which favored East Asian professionals who often arrived with significant educational and wealth advantages. In the mythical retelling, the minority’s model behavior speaks to an inborn superiority, an almost genetic predisposition to success. This is the flip side of a deeply held, racist worldview: Alongside the “undesirable,” vermin-attracting minority groups, there is another group that does everything right. 
Why did Donald Sterling idealize Koreans? Because, in his view, they did whatever Donald Sterling wanted them to do, and they did it without complaint.

Like pay their rent on time, not deal drugs out of his properties, attract other good tenants, raise the property values in the neighborhood, etc. Pure exploitation!
This will all sound very familiar to Asian-Americans, cast as the put-upon overachievers, whose head-down, by-the-bootstraps stoicism has resulted in remarkable educational and financial attainment. The “model minority” myth persists in part because it is cited as evidence that the system works. It makes for a great story—the plucky, determined Asian-American succeeding where others have failed. But the ultimate beneficiaries of this racial typecasting are the people who invoke the model as a bludgeon against others. Sterling’s admiration for his Korean tenants is actually a kind of scorn. After all, he still subjected Korean tenants to the same degrading treatment as everyone else

Huh? The man clearly had a policy of trying to attract more Korean tenants by making them feel comfortable, in part by trying to drive away the ethnic groups that attacked Korean shops during the Rodney King riots (see video). How is that degrading to Korean tenants?
—the only difference is that the Koreans seemed willing to take it.

I happen to know a certain amount about the Los Angeles Korean real estate business. The notion that Koreans in America are passive, lacking in all agency, putty in the hands of White Plantation Owners like Donald T. Sterling is pretty funny.
Love and hate, praise and condescension —they are all engines of exploitation. 
For Asian-Americans who eagerly stand with other minorities in denouncing Sterling, this is all very awkward—even more so because Sterling’s history of housing discrimination is filled with small moments of Asian-American complicity. The housing case brought against Sterling in 2003 includes black, Latino, and white plaintiffs but no Korean-Americans. We have not been able to find prominent public complaints against Sterling by any Asian-American individuals or groups. There are also troubling stories of Sterling at one point replacing his security team with “Korean-born guards who were hostile to non-Koreans.” 
Of course, focusing exclusively on one minority’s gain when pitted against another risks obscuring the bigger picture. These moments when Korean-Americans enter the Sterling narrative are a reminder of how, on the rare occasions when Asians are invited in to a public conversation about racism, it is to play the role of the middleman. This is how California’s debates around affirmative action, for example, have become framed, with Asian-Americans as the purported victims of policies that benefit their fellow minorities.

Of course, that is how the Asian Democratic caucus in the state legislature, such as Leland Yee, frames the debate in which they recently stopped the Latino Caucus's attempt to reimpose affirmative action at UC. State Senator Yee is another one of those submissive Asians exploited by The Man, except for the part about him getting arrested just after his triumph over the Latino Caucus by the FBI for gun-running shoulder-launched missiles.
We don’t have a good way to talk about any of this publicly. More often than not, observers frame America’s racial dramas according to a black-white binary, one that abides by familiar tropes of hateful bigotry and righteous condemnation. 
This dynamic is central to American history, yet it feels inadequate in moments like these. While it’s not quite on par with degrading other minorities as lazy or filthy, Sterling’s praise for his hardworking Korean tenants and the “Asian way” reveals how racism can be a collection of contradictory impulses. Love and hate, praise and condescension—they are all engines of exploitation. 
Above all, Sterling saw the world in terms of winners and losers (“I like people who are achievers,” he once noted), and he used this logic to categorize racial groups along a sliding scale of desirability. For Sterling, Koreans never merited the decency of being looked upon as individual human beings. Rather, they were a faceless bloc, a group of indistinguishable “achievers” that did nothing more than provide the contrast that enabled his contempt for blacks. This is the lesson of Donald Sterling’s racism: A hierarchy that flatters those at the top and demeans those at the bottom can only serve to distract us from noticing the one shuffling the rankings.

Hua Hsu teaches in the English department at Vassar College and is completing his first book, A Floating Chinaman. 
Richard Jean So is an assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago.

When you stop and think about it, the Koreans are the real victims. How we should make up for it? Good question .... I know! By giving tenure to more Chinese low-level professors.

Problem solved.
      

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

OT:

Drudge could easily make Wade's book go viral if he said "RACE IS REAL" in the top center part of the page.

Write in to drudge and ask him to do it.

hardly said...

I <3 Donald Sterling for sticking up for Koreans. These english professors are essentially telling us that higher achieving minorities should not be given due credit for their achievements, because it makes the problems of underachieving minorities look even starker.

Space Ghost said...

If they don't make a Hollywood movie out of this Leland Yee guy, I will be sorely disappointed. Stridently anti-gun state senator from CA secretly trying to run military-grade hardware to Islamist rebel groups in the Philippines. Arrested on prostitution and shoplifting beefs before becoming a state senator. His henchman Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, survivor of the infamous Golden Dragon massacre and former head of the Chinese mafia in San Francisco. His fundraiser Keith Jackson, former president of the San Francisco Board of Education, arrested for conspiracy to commit murder for hire. You can't make this stuff up!

Anonymous said...

Well I tried to leave a Komment over there which never in a thousand years would have made it past Komment Kontrol at iSteve.

We'll see whether or not it stands.

Jerry said...

As a U of Chicago humanities alum, I'm ashamed of my school... even when I was there some 15 years ago, there was almost no one reasonable in the English department to work with. Now they are all retired or dead. The gap between reality and academia is medieval now.

http://www.afp.com/en/news/asians-outperform-white-students-because-they-try-harder-study/

Anonymous said...

I married a Chinese man and he's honestly baffled by the concept of "people of color." If he were going to view another racial group as natural allied, he'd pick white people. After all, they're most of his colleagues and classmates, and he married a white woman. He's not clean on what he has in common with black Americans. In a stretch, he'd consider Latinos as fellow immigrants.

H said...

The moral of this story is that no matter what a white man does in regards to another race, it's racist.

Anonymous said...

"""""""Legions of social scientists and historians have debunked the myth of the Asian-American’s “natural” orientation toward economic achievement. """"""""


Don't let Amy Chua read this article or she'll have something to say vs these two professors. Basically, the article is calling the concept of the Tiger Mother one big fat myth.

'Nothing to see here, folks. It's nurture, not nature.' Paging Malcolm Gladwell. Two English Lit. Profs would like to hire you to give a lecture at their Universities.

Of course, what about a minority that has been in the US for a few centuries, haven't been slaves for about 150yrs., not faced segregation for at least 60 ys? If all things are equal among races, wouldn't we begin to see this group make substantial strides and gains in both education and economic achievement across the board in a wide set of diverse fields and subjects?

I mean, before the out of wedlock rate approaches 90% in about ten yrs time, making it that much more difficult?

Paging Gladwell, Paging Gladwell.

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

Props to Hua Hsu and Richard Jean So for doing their part to dispel the stereotype that Asians are smarter than the rest of us.

Jason Roberts said...

This is the worst case of cognitive dissonance I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

Given his mis-handling of bimbos, it's quite possible the dude is dumb enough to do the illegalities claimed.

Some of us ==do== know how to LEGALLY manipulate a situation to discourage NAM's from congregating in a place.

Just decline to sell menthol cigarettes or rent to a Popeye's Fried Chicken, for simple starters.

Next: donate space to a Korean-language-immersion Public Charter School.


So many ways to skin a cat, people.

Harry Baldwin said...

Anonymous Anonymous said... Well I tried to leave a Komment over there which never in a thousand years would have made it past Komment Kontrol at iSteve. We'll see whether or not it stands.

Thanks for the status report. Please update us ASAP.

Anonymous said...

"""""So many ways to skin a cat, people. """""""

Since this post is about Koreans, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that there are more ways to boil a dog?

Anonymous said...

Sterling's real estate company is all rental apartments. The reason a quarter of the employees are Korean is that about a quarter of the buildings are located in Koreatown and fluency is essential for the job. (ditto for Russian speakers in Hollywood, to a lesser extent). Since the positions are just about all resident managers who receive little reimbursement beyond free rent, the overwhelming majority of employees are married women whose hubbies bring home the bacon.

Anonymous said...

"The housing case brought against Sterling in 2003 includes black, Latino, and white plaintiffs but no Korean-Americans."

It's pretty clear now that Sterling has the quintessential HBD worldview: jews > koreans (and other east asians?) >> white gentiles >>> latinos >>>> blacks.

Mike said...

I lend money to people in LA. The default rates (highest to lowest) are: African American, Hispanic, White, Asian.
Sound familiar?
The default rates for African American customers almost defy belief.

Last King of Poland said...

"Asian-Americans as the purported victims of policies that benefit their fellow minorities." LOL, only an academic could be this dense.

bgates said...

in 2003 Sterling’s real estate business “had 74 white employees, four Latinos, zero blacks, and 30 Asians.” Lest you think Sterling’s prejudices begin and end with race

-lest you think those numbers are the beginning and end of racial prejudice, look up Hua Hsu's colleagues at Vassar. (Not that there are no black people in the department - they do have the author of "a collection of autobiographical essays called 'How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America'", who is also an editor at Gawker.)

Anonymous said...

Strangely enough Koreans in Korea behave in much the same way as Koreans in America. Perhaps this inconvenient fact was not known to the "legions of debunkers".

Anonymous said...

Above all, Sterling saw the world in terms of winners and losers (“I like people who are achievers,” he once noted)

A lot of people see the world like Sterling. I bet the authors' parents are among these people.

Anonymous said...

This whole multi-racial nation-state thing just isn't going to work out, is it?

Fred Mok said...

I'm with you on this one Steve. I like Hua Hsu's writing on Grantland but I think he's misinterpreting this one. There is a racist fetishization of Asians but this is not it.

Bert said...

It's freaking Slate, what the heck do you expect?

Anonymous said...

Please reinstate the 1924 Immigration Act. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Someone help me here. What is the best word to describe a person who sees trivial events in the context of some grand conjectural arc? There must be some great English word for this phenomenon, because I feel I encounter it more and more, yet the perfect word escapes me. The article by the two junior Lit profs is a good example.

Anonymous said...

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

"Props to Hua Hsu and Richard Jean So for doing their part to dispel the stereotype that Asians are smarter than the rest of us."

You are joking, but seriously... They are not smarter, they just study much harder and cheat a lot more. I've met, worked with, interviewed many Asian scientists at an elite institution. The vast majority are impressively unimpressive.

That said, while Asian applicants are discriminated against in university admissions (because of the sheer numbers and the disconnect between scores/grades and actual real-world intelligence), university departments still have AA for Asian faculty. So that's how those two intellectual giants got hired.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
Your articles on the possible plot to force Sterling to sell the team were very good. How far back might the plot have gone? I wonder if they engineered/bought the retirement of the previous commissioner so that the new commissioner could "assert himself" with this decision. The new guy has to be in on the plan as the logical thing for him to do, if he was honest, would be to start an investigation, have the recordings examined as to whether they're doctored, have people deposed under oath, especially V Stiviano. Instead, the new commissioner made a big decision in a matter of days from when the story broke. That does not make sense unless the commissioner is actively on board with a plot that required moving fast. The team is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. When has something worth hundreds of millions of dollars been treated like this?

Discard said...

Sterling gave the Koreans what they wanted, a place to live free of Blacks, Mexicans, and Whites. Why does no one blame the Koreans for their racism?

Uncle Peregrine said...

TontoBubbaGoldstein said:

"Props to Hua Hsu and Richard Jean So for doing their part to dispel the stereotype that Asians are smarter than the rest of us."

LOL, But they are smart enough to know what their SWPL colleagues want.

Anonymous said...

Renting to Koreans seems to be very profitable. Physician turned real estate tycoon, David Lee, has a $3.5 billion portfolio.

map said...

This is your "model minority."

http://www.commerce.gov/os/ogc/minority-business-development-agency

"For purposes of determining eligibility to receive MBDA services, an MBE is defined as a business concern that is owned
or controlled by the following persons or groups of persons that are also U.S. citizens or resident aliens admitted for
lawful admission to the United States: African Americans, Hispanics, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, Native
Americans (including Alaska Natives, Alaska Native Corporations and Tribal entities), Asian Indians and Hasidic Jews.
See 15 CFR § 1400.1 and Executive Order 11625. It is important to note that there is no cross-cutting federal MBE
classification and the above definition does not serve to establish eligibility for federal programs or services outside of
those offered by MBDA."

The American Notice said...

Treated me bad.

Me victim.

Treated me nice.

Me victim.

------

I guess US favoring Korean goods over African goods means Americans are 'racists'. It perpetuates the 'model minority' myth that Asians work harder and make better stuff.

Poor poor Toyota and Kia.

Anonymous said...

I find it a using these two keep saying Asian American when what they mean is Korean .... Sterling wasn't renting to Hmong, Egyptians, or Tarters.

Anonymous said...

https://vdare.com/articles/hollywoods-sexual-predator-problem-explodes

Fruitkins gone wild.

Hacienda said...

And this should answer the question of why Mao felt a need to take the intellectuals of China and put them to work in the rice fields.

If only this were possible with the American elite. Take the humanities professors and Wall Street analysts. Put them back on the farm. Better yet, hunter gatherers work. Back to basics for the white race. Long, long overdue.




Peter Akuleyev said...

Legions of social scientists and historians have debunked the myth of the Asian-American’s “natural” orientation toward economic achievement.

They have missed the point. From Sterling's point of view, it doesn't matter where the orientation is "innate" or not. What matters to a business owner is that the behavior of your average Korean immigrant today is empirically very different from that of your average Black. We have no evidence at all that Sterling believes in innate racial differences, or cares about them. The nature vs. nurture debate is interesting to people looking to adopt, or designing long term immigration policy, or to social scientists. But business people are working on shorter time horizons, and for us even cultural differences are stable and significant enough to be the basis for rational discrimination.

Anonymous said...

Is it me or are SYPL are becoming like SWPL in that "self-loathing as moral superiority" way?

Anonymous said...

Sterling is now evil incarnate. Therefore, anything or anyone he favors must be, by extension, also evil.

Henceforth, all Koreans must be hated and denounced... even by their own "intellectual elites" and certainly by other Asians.

No more Harvard for you! Or maybe we'll just require higher SAT scores for you and shut you out of the temple. Oh, wait, we already do that.

Anonymous said...

As someone already pointed out, Hua Hsu writes drivel for Grantland.com. According to his byline there, he has been working on his "Floating Chinaman" book for three years now. Either it is 2,000 pages long or he is trying to single handedly destroy the Asian work ethic reputation. Maybe he should stop writing crap in Slate and finish his damn book.

Simon in London said...

Sterling's lawyers/reps need to start saying "There is a whiff of anti-Semitism in these hate-filled diatribes", or words to that effect. Why let the other side get away with it?

Also: No more black/mulatto mistresses. Perhaps a DNA test would help. >:)

Oswald Spengler said...

"And this should answer the question of why Mao felt a need to take the intellectuals of China and put them to work in the rice fields."

If only this were possible with the American elite. Take the humanities professors and Wall Street analysts. Put them back on the farm. Better yet, hunter gatherers work. Back to basics for the white race. Long, long overdue.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

And best of all, make the SWPL overclass live cheek to jowl in Section 8 housing alongside their beloved black and brown wards. And make the elite's children have to attend school in inner city public schools. Let our aristocracy be at long last fully enriched by the diversity of multicultural America.

Dave Pinsen said...

Why would Egyptians be Asian Americans? Egypt isn't in Asia.

David said...

>observers frame America’s racial dramas according to a black-white binary, one that abides by familiar tropes of hateful bigotry and righteous condemnation<

This is exactly the lens these authors are using. What hypocrisy! In their view, everyone who isn't white is and ought to be black.

Mr. Anon said...

"After all, he still subjected Korean tenants to the same degrading treatment as everyone else — the only difference is that the Koreans seemed willing to take it."

Check out the microagression practiced by these profs. Willing to take it? Well what else could you expect ............... from a Korean. A little Chinese anti-Koreanism perhaps? I think these two dudes are anti-asian.

"A hierarchy that flatters those at the top and demeans those at the bottom can only serve to distract us from noticing the one shuffling the rankings."

And the guy shuffling the rankings in this case is a.........oops, uh, never mind.

Otis said...

"Love and hate, praise and condescension —they are all engines of exploitation. "

This pretty much sums up the left: no matter what you do, its exploitation and we're going to complain. Thus it stands to that the proper response for normal people is to ignore it.

Anonymous said...

"Harry Baldwin said...Anonymous Anonymous said... Well I tried to leave a Komment over there which never in a thousand years would have made it past Komment Kontrol at iSteve. We'll see whether or not it stands.

Thanks for the status report. Please update us ASAP."

Lol. Anybody who says sarcasm is a low form of humor hasn't seen it done well.

Bill said...

Anonymous said...

Someone help me here. What is the best word to describe a person who sees trivial events in the context of some grand conjectural arc? There must be some great English word for this phenomenon, because I feel I encounter it more and more, yet the perfect word escapes me. The article by the two junior Lit profs is a good example.


We say they suffer from an idée fixe. That's French, of course, but English has appropriated it. Or you can call them Manichean---the idea being that Manicheans interpret everything about reality as being a manifestation of a single, overall struggle between a single light side and a single dark side. The dark side in this case would be racism, obviously. The use here is metaphorical, and some (most) people are not going to get what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

"There is a racist fetishization of Asians but this is not it."

But such fetishization is a story of the bravery of love. ROTFL.

But maybe Asian guys can cry 'racist' whenever some white dude goes for an Asian chick.

Why, it's racial stereotyping of Asian women as 'me so horny' Suzie Wong or 'i sucky sucky long time' mamasan.

As for Sterling renting his apartment complex to Koreans, it's a story of the bravery of housing.

Anonymous said...

"except for the part about him getting arrested just after his triumph over the Latino Caucus by the FBI for gun-running shoulder-launched missiles." - guns are bad. badass.

jody said...

slate is another leftist outlet to automatically ignore, but i do chuckle that they get through an entire article on this subject without once mentioning that toko is jewish or that he completely reinforces the stereotype of the shifty hebrew businessman.

it's the chinese assistant professors who REALLY benefit from jewish business acumen. you thought it was all about them making money, when in reality, it was about providing fodder for minor league english instructors to write slate articles about.

David said...

>And the guy shuffling the rankings in this case is a........<

White Southern Plantation owner. Move along, nothing to see here!

Anton Chigurh said...

"Legions of social scientists and historians have debunked the myth of the Asian-American’s “natural” orientation toward economic achievement."
This is in fact true. "Social scientists" and their Cultural Marxist ilk do in fact name observable reality "myth" and then create pseudo-science to debunk those myths.

Anonymous said...

If Sterling has a right to hire Korean tenants over blacks and hispanics he also has the right to hire Black basketball players over white players.

International Jew said...

One thing for sure: Anglo-Saxons are the model majority. And I have a feeling they'll also be regarded as the model minority in future California.

Anonymous said...

"One thing for sure: Anglo-Saxons are the model majority."

In many ways, yes. But not in remaining as the majority.

Anonymous said...

They may be the model tenants, but you don't want to see them across the counter in a retail transaction.

Anonymous said...

Please reinstate the 1924 Immigration Act. Thank you.

From Wikipedia:

The Act controlled "undesirable" immigration by establishing quotas. The Act barred specific origins from the Asia–Pacific Triangle, which included Japan, China, the Philippines (then under U.S. control), Siam (Thailand), French Indochina (Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia), Singapore (then a British colony), Korea, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), Burma, India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Malaya (mainland part of Malaysia).[15] Based on the Naturalization Act of 1790, these immigrants, defined as non-white, were not eligible for naturalization, and the Act forbade further immigration of any persons ineligible to be naturalized.[15] The Act set no limits on immigration from the Latin American countries.[16]

In the 10 years following 1900, about 200,000 Italians immigrated annually. With the imposition of the 1924 quota, 4,000 per year were allowed. By contrast, the annual quota for Germany after the passage of the Act was over 57,000. Some 86% of the 155,000 permitted to enter under the Act were from Northern European countries, with Germany, Britain, and Ireland having the highest quotas. The new quotas for immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe were so restrictive that in 1924 there were more Italians, Czechs, Yugoslavs, Greeks, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Poles, Portuguese, Romanians, Spaniards, Jews, Chinese, and Japanese that left the United States than those who arrived as immigrants.[17]

The quotas remained in place with minor alterations until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous David said...

>And the guy shuffling the rankings in this case is a........<

White Southern Plantation owner. Move along, nothing to see here!"

Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara, that a basketball team doesn't mean anything to you? Why, an NBA franchise is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts.

Anonymous said...

Tiger Tenants?

http://time.com/88125/the-tiger-mom-effect-is-real-says-large-study/

Anonymous said...

I find it a using these two keep saying Asian American when what they mean is Korean .... Sterling wasn't renting to Hmong, Egyptians, or Tarters.

Or Japanese....