I have no dog in this fight, other than a shared desire for a better world.
Not being Chinese, Taiwanese, or in fact Asian at all, might explain my initial reluctance to read Yang’s racially-prompted piece in the first place, but after witnessing the vociferous outrage that breached my Twitter feed, I decided to give the apparently controversial op-ed it’s due.
My initial reaction was “Wow. That’s it?” followed by an “Ah. I see why some people got angry.” Pinpointing the source of the controversy didn’t take any significant amount of prolonged analysis.
In his closing remarks, Yang urges his fellow Asian-Americans to take the opportunity to exercise their patriotism and show their “American-ness” (a term which, alone, probably sparked some additional outrage).
But is it justified?
We’re all confined to our homes as a result of the virus, accompanied by a particularly odd and arguably unstable mixture of boredom and anxiety. While this doesn’t excuse the outrage, I think it’s a variable worth noting.
The reaction above demonstrates the false assumption that Trump embodies America; that somehow wearing the colors of the American flag resembles the man who propagated the term “Chinese Virus.”
During much of his presidential run, Yang wore an American scarf.
Was he promoting Trump?
Yang has continuously touted the U.S. as “the richest most advanced country in the history of the world.”
Does he credit that to Trump?
No. I don’t think so.
I’d say he is embracing the United States of America, and I think that’s what he’s calling for from his fellow Asian-Americans who have been put under this unfortunate negative spotlight by the loudest megaphone in the world.
Being patriotic does not mean you agree with the president; it means you love your country and are willing to fight for it.
This presents an opportunity to flip the alleged narrative on its head through a productive and positive response.
Not only do I believe Yang’s intentions to be good, but I believe he may be even more right than he thinks. He mentions that saying “Don’t be racist toward Asians” won’t work, which ironically seemed to when he did:
Andrew Yang is a warrior.
It’s not every day that a happily married father leaves his modest and comfortable life to run for the toughest job in the world in an attempt to fight for the systemic change that he believes in.
This is a calling to get up and fight; not one to bow in deference.
The United States of America is a nation of immigrants and a melting pot of racial diversity, and that is worth upholding.
Because the alternative is sitting idly by while a pathological narcissist attempts to brazenly steer it into oblivion.
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