Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Warning: Idiot Writer at AsianWeek

Update: May 22, 2007 @ 7:15pm

I've been too busy writing my thesis to pay attention to anything, but it looks like I missed some choice Eng madness. I'm studying for a class, so I'll skip making comments on this. Unfortunately, the selections speak for themselves.

The Village Voice: Sharing in the Gory - Already a pariah, Kenneth Eng goes even lower
Hyphen Blog: Kenneth Eng Takes Credit for Virginia Tech Shootings
Table of Malcontents: Kenneth Eng, Author of Terrible Dragon Novels, Wants Credit for Virginia Tech Massacre
Table of Malcontents: Kenneth Eng Arrested For NYU Threats


Okay, it's on.

There is an uproar over what Kenneth Eng, "God of the Universe", had to say in his article titled "Why I Hate Blacks." I heard about Eng's opinion piece, and I realized that it's what a lot of people actually think. That's probably why it got past the editors. It was published in AsianWeek which is a free weekly paper published in my beloved city of San Francisco. AsianWeek took Eng's piece down. I've heard that the print edition is still available if you're in San Francisco.

However, I managed to find it on the angry asian man's: Who The Hell is Kenneth Eng? Thanks for posting it! BTW, the angry asian man has some other interesting and one funny link on this Eng mess.

I've managed to find a scan of it on the Vox et Machina blog, so I've uploaded that here.

Here it is for you to read:

This is some of what the angry asian man had to say about Eng's article:
When I first heard about this, I thought it was a joke... but it is indeed true. I received an email on Friday afternoon alerting me about an opinion piece in the latest edition of AsianWeek titled "Why I Hate Blacks" by Kenneth Eng. I took a look, and it was as blatantly racist as it sounds. I was shocked. ... I read it over carefully, perhaps looking for the possibility that it was some kind of joke gone wrong. But no, it's just one guy and his ridiculous hate. (emphasis added)

I, too, was waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I was hoping for that string of words that would tell me "yes, this is brutal satire and it's my confrontational way to wake us up to a problem that we need to discuss."

No, that wasn't Eng's approach at all. Instead, his approach was to take his experiences and brew some bitter stew from it rather than saying "hmmmm, what is the history and culture of African-Americans?" Instead, he harps on predictably negative stereotypes as the basis of his hate.

BTW, Mr. Eng I was in AP courses in high school. In my AP English course, the person who was cheating was the clean cut white boy who was trying to get answers from me. He's now gone on to make a ton of cash as a model and B-level entertainer. As far as I know he didn't go to university, but as his father is rich, I'm sure he would have attended a good school had he chosen to go simply due to white privilege. However, it's short-sighted people like you, Mr. Eng, who stare me up and down wondering how I managed to "cheat" my way through undergrad at UCLA, through law school at UC Hastings and how I managed to get into and excel in my master's program here in Seoul (4.05/4.30, 4.00/4.30, 4.15/4.30 GPAs respectively for my terms so far.) That was all managed because I must cheat really well, I guess.

What's scary is that I'm already frustrated enough that I have to deal with some whites on this issue. When I explained to one acquaintance that I'd quit my job and gone back to school in a program where I was lucky enough for the first year to have my tuition covered and a modest stipend, he seriously asked me what kind of scam or game I was running! I admit this white guy has a bad case of foot in mouth disease, but when you deal with stuff like that you wonder if the person would have said it to another white person. Must I really have to start this with some Asians too?

The fact is Eng is a young guy with not much world experience. So his interactions from high school and university are all he has to go on. I'm not mad he wrote the article. Clearly, the guy needs some anger management therapy. What I'm concerned about, however, is AsianWeek's decision to print this during black history month, as well as, its decisions to print Eng's other divisive opinion pieces. He's opined not only about how he hates blacks, but on how he hates his fellow Asians and whites too. He was going for a theme of hate, it seems.

You can have an opinion, but it's like what they say about a certain body part, everyone has one. Eng failed to provoke a dialogue or say anything insightful. It was like the diatribes I've heard foreigners engage in here when criticising everything about Korea. I have to admit I had a rough year or two and I said and wrote some bad things too. However, I didn't publish it. I worked through it and actually came to a better understanding of the people and culture.

I think Eng is a dolt who is pretentious to his core. Plus, sadly, it seems he just doesn't get out much and, when he does, the world just sends that hate right back to him. As they've written over at Hyphen,

“Proof that Whites Inherently Hate Us,” Eng wrote: “Most Asians know that everywhere we go, white/black/Hispanic people hurl racist remarks at us. I have already received about 10 racist remarks in the past three months and I have only been out of my home a handful of times.” Oh AsianWeek! Did you give a column to one of those crazy recluses that never leave their house and talk to themselves on the bus?? (emphasis added)
Well, unfortunately, I think they most definitely have.

Just click on some of the other links to get a feel for how Eng has chosen to behave. I really think the Table of Malcontents has the best examples. Unfortunately, there are many like him. They view their history through skewed lens which makes it easy to glorify themselves and look down their noses at others.

However, let me be honest here. The divide between blacks and Asians in California is a problem. That schism reared its ugly head during the L.A. Riots in 1992. When I decided to come to Asia to live and work, it was something I thought about. Asians aren't the only ones who are biased. I know many blacks who are just as ignorant.
  • Where is this bitterness and animosity coming from?
  • Why is it that minority groups seem to have internalized white racism and turn it on each other? Maybe humans are just stupid and we're all doomed.
  • How can both sides try to learn and work together rather than hate and throw epithets at each other?
One big reason I chose to come to Korea is because I grew up in South Central L.A. where there are a lot of Koreans. My goal was to understand the culture because I've had conversations with family members who don't know Korean culture from any of the other many Asian cultures. Yet we're the first to get up in arms when someone generalizes about blacks and African-Americans. My pediatrician's office was in the district that would eventually become Koreatown (waving at Dr. Leon Banks from cyberspace.) I actually had my first taste of kalbi when I went on a date with a Korean guy who was in one of my classes my second year of college. Yes, of course, being from South Central L.A. there was a Korean market on the corner.

The last time I was in L.A. I stopped at a store on Century Boulevard on en route to the 405. This poor lady was encased in a bullet proof counter probably because that store had been held up so many times that it was just stupid to not be. Believe me, I wasn't thrilled about driving down Century Boulevard in a nice shiny new rental car, insured, of course. I was trying to get out of Dodge before nightfall. She was clearly Korean because she was reading something written in hangul, Korean script. Imagine her pleasure and surprise to have me talk to her in Korean. I'm not saying everyone has to go that far, but people, this ignorance and, yes, the crime must stop. It's going to take more than writing about how much we hate each other. As a result of this, there is going to be a town hall meeting. I hope something productive comes of this. I really do.

Clearly, we need more people from both communities who have taken the time to learn about cultures other than our own. This is a big, stupid mess.

What this shows me is that once I get back, maybe I can help because people like Eng only make things worse.

More links:

San Francisco Chronicle: Asian paper's 'I Hate Blacks' column assailed
SFGate: Why We Hate Racists
Table of Malcontents: The Narrative Stylings of "Kenneth Eng, God"
Hyphen Blog: AsianWeek Takes The Racist Cake
Zuky: Roundup — Racist Asshattery at AsianWeek (a great summary of what a few bloggers have said on this)
Vox et Machina: Well, this is depressing (she's got a scan of Eng's article)
SFist: Kenneth Eng Around The Web (HILARIOUS)

Ohmygod...ohmygod. They interviewed Eng on FoxNews and, of course, it made it to YouTube. Thanks Andrea for sending me the link (it's down below in the comments)


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