Greetings from Berkeley, Philadelphia, and Tacoma!
This week, we chat about Viet Thanh Nguyen’s recent essay on Asian America, race, and class (Time); the abolition of whiteness advocated by Jay’s former mentor, Noel Ignatiev; and the dead-ends and possibilities of race talk in media.
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3:35 – Nguyen’s article on the “trap of the ‘model minority’ stereotype.” In what ways is the category “Asian American” limiting, and in what ways is it enabling—or something we might productively transcend?
30:43 – How to be an Asian American race traitor: we discuss the journal Race Traitor, about “treason to whiteness,” and consider analogies to the professional Asian class. What’s the difference between the radical historians of whiteness and White Fragility? Can we practice anti-racist politics without reifying racial categories?
49:48 – Are diversity gestures in the media world distraction from or emulation of real social change?