The Asian atrocity argument says that it is unfair to talk about injustice done by White Americans without also talking about mass killings by Asians, particularly those of Mao, Genghis Khan and the Japanese Empire. (Never, it seems, those of Cambodia or Indonesia.)
The point of the argument:
- Whites are not uniquely evil. They are hardly even the worst.
- Be grateful that we Whites do not treat you worse.
The underlying moral fallacy:
- The Arab Trader argument – the Arab slave trade does not morally excuse or even lessen the evil of the Transatlantic slave trade: “Everyone does it” is broken moral reasoning. Even eight-year-olds know that. Likewise, the crimes of Mao or Genghis Khan hardly excuse White American crimes.
Possible racist tropes:
- The perpetual foreigner stereotype – Asian Americans seen as Asians not as Americans. In nearly all cases Asian Americans have as little to do with Mao’s crimes, say, as White Americans.
There is also:
- an African atrocity argument (Rwanda, blah, blah) and
- a Native American one (Iroquois, blah, blah, Aztecs, blah, blah). There is even
- a Black American one (black-on-black crime, blah, blah).
But there is no European atrocity argument.
For example, no one tries to play down the evil of, say, 9/11 by talking about the evils of Hitler or Stalin or white-on-white crime. Because that would be nuts. Not even Al Qaeda tries to excuse it as:
- “Everyone does it” or
- “Whites kill each all the time”, or
- “Not as bad as Hitler.”
Acts are evil in and of themselves, not in comparison to the worst example you can think of. Robbing old women is “not as bad as” robbing banks, but it is still bad.
While we are at it:
The body count: the number killed in atrocities (democides) of a million or more since 221 BC, here listed by continent:
- 153.5m Asia (Mao, Genghis Khan, Crusades, etc)
- 112.8m Europe (Hitler, Stalin, etc)
- 27.7m Americas (Aztecs, Spanish conquistadors, etc)
- 5.6m Africa (Sudan, etc)
And since certain white commenters so love to make everything about rates – “The rate is what is important, not absolute numbers!” – here is the number of deaths per year per 100,000 of current population:
- 6.84 Europe
- 1.65 Asia
- 1.33 Americas
- 0.25 Africa
While there is a Eurocentric bias in our knowledge of the past 2,000 years, there is not much of one for the past hundred. So here are the same numbers for the past hundred years (1913-2012):
Absolute numbers killed:
- 86.6m Europe
- 64.6m Asia
- 1.9m Africa
- 1.4m Americas
- 117.31 Europe
- 15.51 Asia
- 1.86 Africa
- 1.50 Americas
Note that these are democides – unarmed people being killed by wilful government in/action, like Mao’s Great Leap Forward or Hitler’s Holocaust. It does not count military deaths or civilians killed as an unavoidable side effect of war. So, for example, the Rape of Nanking (1937) counts as democide but not the Fall of Baghdad (2003).
Those who think that to be “fair” we need to bring up “Asian” atrocities also need to be “fair” and bring up “European” ones.
– Abagond, 2013.