A cop is still a cop; 'PoC' respectability politics, and how China sees the American Uprising


A special welcome to all new subscribers!  

Today’s episode is about the murder of George Floyd and the actions around the country.

A few days ago, Jay wrote in our newsletter about Tou Thao, the Hmong cop who participated in Floyd’s killing, and “the myths of Asian American solidarity.” Jay describes what motivated this post, and we discuss when Asian American self-reflection is useful versus narcissistic

Tammy and Jay describe the protests they attended in Brooklyn and Oakland, respectively, over the weekend (May 29 and 30). We also discuss the allegation—made by local, state, and national officials as well as liberal media—that the uprisings in Minneapolis and other cities have been the work of “outside agitators.” Finally, Andy asks whether having an international spotlight on these protests could serve progressive ends. 

0:30- We discuss Jay’s essay, “Tou Thao and the Myths of Asian American Solidarity,” which preceded the first Minnesota protests.

5:45 -  Street updates from Tammy (Brooklyn) and Jay (Oakland). 

26:50- Tammy explains the theory and practice of mutual aid, and we unpack the unsubstantiated news of “outside agitators.” (Note that the Minneapolis government retracted this claim after an investigation into arrest records, but other parties have continued to run with it.) 

59:20- Andy lays out a bizarre parallel: American conservatives support the Hong Kong protests but denounce Black Lives Matter; tankies believe the opposite. Could this moment present an opportunity for international solidarity? How might we use international criticism of the U.S. to support a left agenda?


Time to Say Goodbye is a podcast—with your hosts, Jay Caspian Kang, Tammy Kim, and Andy Liu. We launched this thing because, like you, we’ve been sheltering in place and wanted an outlet for our thoughts on the coronavirus, Asia, geopolitics, and Asian Americans.

A short introduction to your hosts:

Jay Caspian Kang is a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine and the author of the forthcoming book The Loneliest Americans.

E. Tammy Kim is a magazine reporter, a contributing opinion writer at the New York Times, and a retired lawyer. She co-edited the book Punk Ethnography.

Andrew Liu is a historian of modern China. He wrote a book called Tea War, about the history of capitalism in Asia. He remains a huge Supersonics fan.