Is there more to the Butterfly Theory than meets the eye of the logically challenged and intellectually dishonest? Jessica Valenti argues that the mass murder in Altanta confirms her priors about white men murdering women of color because of religion, as that’s the only tune she’s capable of playing. If neither facts nor logic play any role, and one is never pressed to actually show their work to back up their hysteria, aren’t they allowed “their truth”?
But the sudden concern for animus against Asians, which has yet to reach the inner sanctum of elite colleges refusing to admit curve-busting Asians based on their qualifications rather than let them take seats away from applicants who wouldn’t otherwise make the cut. has not only given rise to a new reason to blame white supremacy, even if most anti-Asian violence is committed by people who aren’t very white at all, but has sanitized criticism of a foreign nation. China, still communist after all these years, as the people of Hong Kong found out, is now off limits.
Cock swaddle, you say? University of San Diego prof Tom Smith did, and a shitstorm ensued.
If you believe that the coronavirus did not escape from the lab in Wuhan, you have to at least consider that you are an idiot who is swallowing whole a lot of Chinese cock swaddle. At least Peter Daszak has good personal and financial reasons, not to mention reasons of career preservation, for advancing what he must know is a facially implausible thesis. But whatever. Go Science!
He added an update after temperature rose.
UPDATE: It appears that some people are interpreting my reference to “Chinese cock swaddle,” as a reference to an ethnic group. That is a misinterpretation. To be clear, I was referring to the Chinese government.
On the one hand, this shouldn’t have been necessary, as no one who cared to think would have confused the Chinese government with Asian Americans. On the other hand, anyone who believes that any challenge or criticism of China is a “dog whistle” or cause of anti-Asian hatred isn’t going to care.
Naturally, Smith’s university reacted to the emotions of the mob rather than the intellect of its academic.
And yet Prof. Smith is now being investigated by the law school, and the “Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA) and the USD School of Law Student Bar Association are calling on law school and university officials to fire the professor who they say used racist language when talking about the coronavirus and China.”
Is criticizing a communist government now “racist language”? A butterfly flapped its wings and if you’re paranoid enough, it means anything you want it to mean.
The University of San Diego School of Law is aware of the blog post of the faculty member.
While the blog is not hosted by the University of San Diego, these forms of bias, wherever they occur, have an adverse impact on our community. It is especially concerning when the disparaging language comes from a member of our community. A core value of the University of San Diego School of Law is that all members of the community must be treated with dignity and respect. University policies specifically prohibit harassment, including the use of epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs based on race or national origin, among other categories.
Two points of note in this message sent to the law school community: the first is that Smith’s use of “Chinese cock swaddle,” (a vulgarity chosen in place of the even more vulgar “bullshit”) was a form of bias, a slur or epithet. The second is that it disparages people of Chinese ancestry, presumably because the word “Chinese” is in there.
To their credit, other USD law profs sent a letter to their dean about these “issues.”
The faculty member in question made a political comment in forceful language. He has the right and perhaps the obligation as a citizen and an academic to comment on matters of public concern such as the Chinese government’s handling of COVID, and to do so in evocative and forceful language. No fair, much less lawyerly way of reading what he wrote would conclude anything other than that “Chinese cock swaddle” was referring to propaganda of the Chinese government and surely not denigrating people of Chinese origin or descent. The context makes this perfectly clear.
This is one of those things that’s too obvious to say, and yet they said it because it had to be said because being “perfectly clear” doesn’t count for much anymore. When it comes to criticizing Russia, it’s all fine, since Russians are white and Putin backed Trump anyway, so screw him. But China?
The problem is the word. Trump emphasized “Chy-na” to deflect responsibility from his failings by blaming them on the hated commies. The backlash, which was hardly new as anti-Asian animus existed long before Trump even if certain cohorts didn’t care much about it until it served their greater good, is to connect any use of the word to the transient concern for the least-favored “people of color,” who are only “of color” when it serves the cause.
The conflation of words is nothing new to social justice. Remember when the phrase “house master” had to be eliminated from colleges as the word “master” was reminiscent of slavery, even if the phrase had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery? But it sounds the same, and that’s more than anyone could stand.
But the consequence is different when it involves a country, particularly one with whom our political and economic, not to mention health, existence is in tension. Can we no longer speak ill of China without invoking the outrage of the unduly passionate’s sudden concern for Asian Americans? Is China above reproach lest some wag scream “dog whistle”? Perhaps if we stop calling it by its name and instead complain of “the big nation with a lot of people between Russia and Myanmar,” we can call it out?
It might lack the punch of calling out China, but think of the many Asian Americans who could be beaten and killed if geopolitics isn’t dictated by the our most fragile sensibilities? As long as we don’t let them into Harvard and Yale, what do we care if Mao finally won the Cultural Revolution?