Stop Saying “African-Americans Should be More Like Asians”. It’s Ignorant.

Stop Saying “African-Americans Should be More Like Asians”. It’s Ignorant.
October 17 09:37 2016 Print This Article

“Replicate what whites do and all these Asians, Arabs and Hispanics do.” –Dr. Claud Anderson

by Yvette Carnell

That African-Americans would be better off if only we were more like “Asians” is stubbornly ignorant, homespun wisdom that gets continuously recycled in the African-American community. The idea that African-Americans, an underclass descended from chattel slaves, can model the wealth creation of other immigrant groups is ignorant as a standalone premise. Even more ignorant, however, is the view of Asians as a homogeneous group whose culture holds answers to African-American poverty.

Most people who we classify as Asian don’t view themselves as Asian. According to a Pew study, 62% of Asians refer to themselves by country of origin, such as “Chinese” or “Chinese American,” “Vietnamese” or “Vietnamese American,” and so on.

Grouping them all as ‘Asian’ has posed a problem since these communities have vastly different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, as well as experiences. From VOA News:

The observers say Americans typically “lump” Chinese Americans who have a “successful” public image in the same group as other ethnic Asian citizens whose livelihood struggles are little understood. They say such “lumping” has made U.S. society ignorant to hardships suffered by all of its Asian minorities. It also has prompted some ethnic Asian communities to join forces to help their members overcome such struggles.

…..

Gallagher says that in reality, many Chinese and other Asian Americans are struggling financially, live in poor neighborhoods and lack sufficient health care.

 

“Those Asian Americans do not have the means to achieve the American dream. They are in jobs that they cannot advance from, and their children are going to face the same situation,” he says.

….

“People in Asia don’t identify with pan-Asian sensibilities,” Wu says. “The notion of a ‘united Asia’ is associated with imperialism or idealism. People identify much more specifically as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino or Indian and so on. They don’t say, ‘I’m an Asian’.”

When African-Americans compare themselves to ‘Asians’, they are usually comparing themselves to the most successful Chinese-Americans, a group with whom African-Americans have almost nothing in common.

From CNN:

Take Chinese immigrants to the United States, for example: In 2010, 51% were college graduates, compared with only 4% of adults in China and only 28% of adults in the United States. The educational backgrounds of immigrant groups such as the Chinese in America — and other highly educated immigrant groups such as Korean and Indian — is where the concept of “Asian privilege” comes in.

It is ignorant to compare African-Americans, a community descended from chattel slaves, to an immigrant group with a homeland, with people who are producers of goods, and who, at 51%, have a higher college graduation rate than Americans in general, not just African-Americans.

What African-Americans seem to miss is the glaring truth that while other communities were amassing wealth, here and elsewhere, we were in chains. That matters. As a matter of fact, it’s all that matters in terms of understanding generational wealth and poverty. 

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19 comments
AmenAmin
AmenAmin

I agree with this author. I tell my friends whenever this subject comes up, especially about Chinese people. I point out to them that China is a country of Two Billion people and if Two hundred thousand of those people were well educated and fincially well off they alone would be Three quarters the population of the whole U.S.A and still have a Billion plus people left over, and they think like Chinese, even though the ones that are poor and ignorant and suffering are probably at least Two times all the people living in the U.S. Despite this, these people would be would still live with each other than us Black people, even if most their financial income depends on our business. So stop worrying about these people and and think about living better with each other. Because of this I totally agree with this author. No hard feelings against the Chinese people.

RichHenderson
RichHenderson

 Ive watched many videos and read  written  statements/posts and articles by Yvette. This woman is a classic example of a person who lacks the talent to mobilize, conceptualize and organize so she nit picks and  talks ad nasuem about those that do know how to do those things. She has to make some noise with her  2 cent opinions to get attention since she is incapable of making a difference with her efforts. She complains, bemoans and whines about every single  thing but seldom if ever comes up with solutions. So the fact that she would come up with a lame critique of dr Cluade Anderson is both silly and unfortunately not surprising. Nothing to see here. Carry on. 

Johnw11
Johnw11

I've tried to stay out of this discussion because I agree with both sides of the issue that I see developing thus far.

I agree that Dr. Claude Anderson is correct to advocate building Black wealth. What impresses me the most about his strategy, as Watchful pointed out eloquently,  is he has done the comprehensive economic analysis that informs him that Blacks (as a group) have no wealth, and therefore cannot build a viable economy without economic justice including "reparations." Bottom line. Some attempt to avoid that reality, and delusively claim that Blacks already have all the wealth they need to "build an economy." And that Blacks are just irresponsible with their wealth i.e., "it doesn't circulate among us." Dr. Anderson is NOT irresponsible in that way, afraid to demand justice, and therefore hallucinating about already being "well off" in rationalizing fear.

The main points as I see them made in this article are also accurate. (1) It is a mistake (the article called it "ignorant") for anyone to compare African Americans to Asians, due to the different historical and contemporary experiences of Asians and African Americans.  What informed person can disagree with that? Asians have never been denied wealth attainment due to slavery, and have not been through Old Jim Crow, and now New Jim Crow (I'm aware of the 19th Century mistreatment of Asians in building railroads, etc.).  In fact, according to oral history of the elders, during the Old Jim Crow south, Asians lived on the segregated side of town with the whites, and their children attended school with the whites. (2) All Asians are not wealthy or equal in culture mores or ideology. In my view, Blacks already have an economy like the Asians: elites and poor, or near poor. And most Asian businesses are financed by the same white banks that deny Blacks loans.

I think critical critique of the Asian comparison is valid.  And I also think that the advocacy for Black collective economic empowerment is valid.

One thing I will disagree with, is the idea that Asians as a group outperform Blacks academically. Not so. A recent study shows that African American women are the most educated demographic in the U.S. in terms of college (I don't have the reference at hand, but it is Google verifiable). 

It is widely believed but not true that Asian immigrants in the U.S. lead all others in academic achievement. Not true. African immigrants lead in both U.S. and U.K. academic achievement. The problem is academic achievement for them does not translate into equal socioeconomic rewards due to racism. Sometimes people view the two as synonymous, but they are not.

For example, a while back I had an intensive discussion here with a guy from some Caribbean cult who argued that African Americans were inferior to other Blacks of the world, because, unlike African immigrants in the "UK,"  "American Blacks" had not taken advantage of their "freedom" and made good for themselves. He argued that Blacks from Africa were the "leading immigrant group in the UK."  And when I proved to him with documentation, after documentation, that while it was true that Africans in the UK lead all other immigrant groups in educational attainment, they were at the bottom of all other immigrant groups socioeconomically. In fact, the top immigrant group socioeconomically in the UK are Asian Indians, despite their not being the leading group educationally. He denied the legitimacy of my references, but never submitted any of his own.

No group in America has been more businesses oriented than Blacks. With business DNA inherited from Africa, not Asia, Blacks have a history of building businesses, and even districts and entire towns. Blacks currently lead the U.S. in businesses startups. They also lead in business failures. The cause of the lost of historical businesses and towns, is the same cause of today's business failure: racism in its various forms and applications. (There's abundant research on the subject.)

While, of course, I don't agree with everything the author says about Dr. Anderson, I cannot pretend the that article doesn't make some points that are food for thought. And, to a large extent, have nothing to do with Dr. Anderson.


Watchful
Watchful

@Johnw11


Well said, John ... I, too, believe that Ms.Carnell made some valid points in this post, but where I took issue was with her suggesting that Dr. Anderson's views on blk ppl emulating the 'asian' model of wealth building was a 'standalone premise'. Anyone that's closely followed what he's said over the years would know that that wasn't at all true.


And thanks for pointing out the truth about both asian and african academic achievement rankings, alotta ppl tend to be ignorant of those facts.

Johnw11
Johnw11

@Watchful Thank you. Well, the hackers are back. This is my second reply to your last comment. Hopefully this one goes through.

What the hackers obviously don't want known is that Asians also have their own special "White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI)" that "is dedicated to helping Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders's businesses grow."

Blacks have no such "White House Initiative" dedicated to helping Black businesses "grow." In fact, over the past eight years or so, even the so-called SBA (small business administration) has virtually stopped loaning to Black businesses (there's an abundance of information on this topic. Just Google "Decline in SBA loans to Black businesses).

No one says anything about this. Therefore, most Blacks don't know about it. The Black semi-elites, charged with informing the community, are concerned only about "playing" Blacks for votes (so they, and not the collective, can get paid). And the only way to effectively "play" people is to keep them ignorant.

Johnw11
Johnw11

Once again, the "edit" system didn't work at all. "The games people play."

Corrections: (1) Paragraph 3, line 6 should read "cultural mores," not "culture mores." (2) Last paragraph, line one should read "that the article" and not "the that article."

My apology for these and other errors.

Watchful
Watchful

@Johnw11 


That's exactly y I said we have to stop depending on others to inform us and do our thinking for us. It's OUR responsibility, both individually and collectively, to exercise critical thinking and discernment for ourselves or else we'll remain in a state of perpetual ignorance and deprivation.

Siriusstar
Siriusstar

Yvette will do and write anything to get some type of notoritety. YVETTE I WOULD SAY YOU MISSED THE POINT OF WHAT BLACKS SAY WHEN SPEAKING OF THE ASIANS, but I know you didn't??? When people reference the Asians they are recognizing remarkable achievement like china town Vietnam town and other organized Asians communities. Maybe I missed it did you site how many times the dollar circulates in their communities as oppose to the 6 hours the dollars circulates in black hands before leaving their hands? YVETTE PLEASE STOP TRYING TO SOUNDS INTELLIGENT AND DIFFERENT AS THOUGH YOU HAVE THE SOLUTIONS? Your an undercover hater that enjoys taking shots at other blacks who have established themselves as somewhat worthy in the black society. YVETTE = BOTTOMFEEDER!!!

Sea Pea
Sea Pea

My wife, my friends, and a lot of my associates refer to themselves as "asian" all the time. My boss is Chinese and sometimes she refers to herself as Chinese sometimes as asian. They expecially use it when connecting them selves with other asians of other countries. Like we do such and such because we are asian or they dont want to go to a certain place because there are too many "asians" there. They never say there are too many vietnamese or cambodians because they just know that they are Asian. Im generation X and the asians I've grown up with mostly came here as little children or babies. So it may be different for the older generation in how they refer to themselves, but i know how its done on the west coast for asian gen-x'ers. I'm black by the way.

DelvinEdwards
DelvinEdwards

97% of us are native to this land. Stop talking about being a immigrant because we are not. We are giving away our birth right,  

Lindell Ray
Lindell Ray

African Americans are no more homogeneous than any other ethnic group. This tendency to distort history and stereotype A/ A serves the interest of the same white system of mythology that periodically turns its venom against immigrants, when it serves a political purpose. Dividing ethic groups by the worthy and unworthy is a longstanding strategy that has always succeeded in keeping ethnic groups divided and easier to control. It also masks the existence of many members of immigrant groups who themselves suffer from extreme poverty. As long as all people buy the lie that capitalism has no pitfalls and only your individual efforts determine your fate, the unscrupulous politicians can continue to set policies that interfere with the economic fate of the average person. When you remain ignorant of the policies set by government that have permitted racist practices you remain complicit with the very system that may well be your own undoing. The truth is that people of A/A in America have displayed entrepreneurial talents during several decades, only to find their self sufficient towns burn out by roving white terrorists or abandoned after integration became popular and Blk citizens moved elsewhere along with their dollars. While chattel slavery impeded a lot of progress by many A/A the interference and out right terrorism didn't stop & took on various forms even up til today. The fact also is that many A/A were never in bondage but the oppression systems in place across America put everyone in jeopardy, including Asians particularly Chinese who have a distinct history of being targeted since they first immigrated to America in the early 1800's. Before we make social judgements about a whole group of people take the time to learn about the political environment in which they lived and sought to survive. A great book to read to inform you about A/A is The Warmth of Other Suns & Black Resistance to White Oppression.

Willie Daniels
Willie Daniels

more likely he's talking about the communities that they have around the U.S. when he or somebody say Asian, you know what he/they met by it. before 1965 we had the communities, do a story on what Social integration has done to the AA/Black communities across the United States. Integration Vs. Segregation, if everything was equal across the board like we still had our own stores & banks things like that.

Tremayne Brown
Tremayne Brown

This article was so silly, it made my head hurt. How does he explain actual slaves, who, when freed, pursued endeavors that resulted in them dying rich? Inventors, scientists, you name it, came from the generation of people who were born into slavery, but lived during the Emancipation Proclamation. Generational wealth and poverty are both dependent on a person's MINDSET. It's not friggin' hereditary. A person can be born rich, but through laziness and irresponsibility, end up living on the streets, JUST AS EASILY as a person, living on the streets, can decide to take their life by the horns, and wind up earning more money than they could spend in a lifetime.

Watchful
Watchful

To my knowledge, Dr.Anderson has NOT advocated replicating the wealth building habits of whites, asians, and other ethnic groups as a 'standalone premise'.


To say so, is, IMO, a gross misrepresentation of what he has advocated for years. He's also spoken strongly on the need for reparations for blk ppl, as well as government policy designed specifically to accelerate the ability of blk ppl to begin to build true wealth on a competitive level with other groups. Let's not misrepresent what this great man has been attempting to teach our ppl, for decades, about  the need to begin to develop wealth building habits.

Sea Pea
Sea Pea

Most asians that i know whether vietnamese, hmong, filipino, or Laotian all stay close to family and try to pool their money in the household. Anyone claiming they need "space" is frowned upon. Their annual household income is ridiculously high because they have at least 4 or five people working in the house. Even when children get married they stay home for awhile until they have so many kids they outgrow the house. You've got asian executives still at home with their parents. Now i know we come from chattle slavery but it doesnt seem like it would be too difficult for us to pool our resources in that fashion. Maybe being on our own at 18 isnt the answer anymore. Maybe staying home and working and the whole family going to the bank and co-signing a mortgage together with our six jobs and staying home until its paid off or a little longer is the answer. I see a picture of Claude Anderson in this article and I like his ideas and i agree we have a different culture that was created out of current and past suffering but if a black family is able to imulate asian economics in any way I think its a good thing. Powernomics shouldnt be just dismissed and frowned upon just because we have lost faith in us....

TinaSue
TinaSue

@Sea Pea  Black people did pool their money together and created their own businesses, bought homes, built beautiful historical churches, started black colleges, etc--until "Integration" came along.  We have to "return" to what our parents and grandparents did to survive and move forward.

Leonard Walker
Leonard Walker

Dr Claude Anderson is not advocating that we be like another groups culturally. He's advocating that we be like other groups economically.. Meaning that we practice group economics like these other groups do. Take a city like Jackson MS. Jackson is 71% black in population. That's nearly 3 out of 4. Yet only 1 or 4 businesses are black owned. Let's think about that. 71% of the people only control 25% of the businesses in that town.. That's because we don't understand nor practice group economics.. Essentially you have two types of people in America: Immigrants and Descendants of Immigrants and Descendants of Slaves. The immigrants comes to America with a specific purpose in mind. They are here to build their fortune or at the very least improve their quality of life. Descendants of Slaves are still fighting for acceptance as first class US citizens and ALL that curtails.. The Descendants of Slaves have to adopt an economic strategy that doesn't entail going to school to get a good job working for someone else..

Jameca D. Johnson
Jameca D. Johnson

Well.. It's not ALL that matters. There are some things we can do to better our situation now and group economics is one of them. Even those who are poor are better off when they share the little they have with their own community instead of giving it to outside businesses.