“How can it be racist if Asians do better?” is an argument White Americans use to prove that something is not racist.
- IQ tests are not racist – Asians do better than whites.
- American society is not racist – Asians do better than whites.
- American health care is not racist – Asians live longer than whites.
- City schools are not racist – Asians go to them and do fine.
It might sound good, but:
- Some of these statements are not as true as they seem. I wrote posts on the two that I have looked into so far. In general, White Americans seem to know little about Asian American poverty or the black middle-class in their country, so in effect the Asian American middle-class is being compared to black poverty. The numbers, facts and images that get repeated are those that support that picture.
- Asian success does not prove there is no racism against them. Any more than the success of Tiger Woods, Barack Obama or Tyra Banks proves that they never faced racism. Or that Jewish success in Germany in the early 1900s proved that anti-Semitism was dead. Asian Americans succeed in spite of racism mainly because they have way more education on average than most white people (a side effect of immigration policy) – and because:
- Asians face less racism than blacks. For example, according to FBI numbers for 2009 whites are 7.8 times more likely to commit a hate crime against blacks than against Asians and Pacific Islanders – even after you take into account that there are more blacks.
- The model minority stereotype that goes with this sort of thinking is itself racist. But that is a subject for another post (see below for the link).
- Scientific racists use north-eastern Asians to support their own white racism. Yes. They twist facts to try to prove that the Chinese and Japanese do better on IQ tests. Why? Because that would mean IQ tests do not somehow favour the whites who made them. It would also support their ideas that Snow Makes You Smarter: that the cold weather in Europe and northern Asia evolved higher levels of human intelligence, leaving behind blacks as a backward branch of mankind.
Racism in America comes in part from the hang-ups white people have about people being “different”. So some of it will apply to anyone who looks “different”, who does not look pure European. That part applies to both blacks and Asians.
But part of the racism comes from the need to excuse the unfair advantages whites have in American society, something that grows out of their ugly, skinhead past of genocide, slavery and Jim Crow. That part applies more to blacks than to Asians.
That makes blacks a way bigger threat to white self-image – and tax rates – than Asians. Therefore whites need to think that there is something profoundly wrong with black people. Model minority Asians help to maintain that picture much better than the poor, violent Asian Americans ever could.