It was hardly a surprise that Obama received 95% of the Black vote, or that he garnered 71% of Latino support, but 75% of the Asian vote! I thought they were supposed to be the “ideal minority,” the backhanded compliment that politicians, the media and demographers label Asian Americans with.
They outperform all other ethnic groups educationally and seem to rarely cause ripples of any kind. The unspoken message being, “Why can’t Blacks and Latinos be like Asians and stay in line and behave themselves?”
It reminds me of the apartheid system in South Africa when there were separate categories and facilities for everyone: Whites, Blacks, Coloreds and Asians, and of course Blacks were at the very bottom of the heap. However, Japanese were identified as “honorary Whites,” and thereby given every courtesy extended to the White population. (Being that Japan was a very prosperous country, the South African government did not under any circumstances want to offend Japan.)
Asian Americans, by being elevated to the status of “ideal minority” were, in a sense, seen as “honorary Whites.” But, boy, did they ever go against the grain on November 6th! Why did they do so?
Recall Spike Lee’s film, “Do The Right Thing.” At the climax when the crowd has destroyed Sal’s Pizzeria, they then turn to attack the Korean grocery. The proprietor jumps up and exclaims, “I’m Black too!” The crowd laughs so hard they leave him alone. It was based on a true story Malcolm X relates in his autobiography. At the height of the 1943 riot in Harlem when all the White businesses were being attacked, a Chinese merchant placed a hand written sign on his door that said, “Me colored too.” The rioters laughed and his store was spared.
So is that what the Asian American voters did, identify with Blacks and Latinos, as a minority? Or was it that they felt that one party was looking to go back to a past of bitterness and division and another was looking to embrace diversity and freedom of choice in every sense of the word? And so they decided to cast their lot with, and help solidify, the winning hand.
By; Dr. Arthur Lewin