Race Fakes, Disparity Discourse, and Mulan in Xinjiang


Greetings from Jay’s 95-degree basement!

This week, we start, inevitably, with our takes on Jessica Krug, the historian caught assuming a series of brown and Black identities. We then respond to a provocation by Adolph Reed and Walter Benn Michaels: that talk of racial disparities distracts from the universal thievery of neoliberal capitalism. Finally, we dig into the live-action remake of Mulan—or, um, since we haven’t seen it yet, a human-rights controversy over its partnership with the Chinese government.

3:20 – Did Jessica Krug respond to market incentives for minstrelsy? Do white people feel the need to justify their interest in non-white/Eurocentric fields? Should Andy start using his Chinese name to gain more cred in the academy? Bonus: Jay and Tammy place bets on the number of “academic Dolezals.”

23:30 – In a recent paper, Adolph Reed and Walter Benn Michaels explain the “trouble with disparity.” What does a focus on racial disproportionality—in regards to state violence or poor health outcomes or poverty (see Andy’s interview with Merlin Chowkwanyun)—really get us? What, or whom, do we risk losing along the way?

49:40 – First, the cast of Mulan was doing takedowns of the Hong Kong democracy movement. Now, journalist Isaac Stone Fish reports that the production did business in Xinjiang, the site of Chinese internment camps and widespread abuse of Uyghur minority groups (see Andy and Tammy’s interview with Darren Byler). How do we feel about the human-rights strategy of “naming and shaming”? Is the American critique too selective? Frightening reveal: Andy 同志 goes tankie/CCP plant.

Thanks for listening!

ICYMI, check out Tammy’s newsletter Q&A on San Quentin State Prison’s COVID-19 disaster, with Kony Kim of the Bay Area Freedom Collective.

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