Political Upheaval

by Original Bitter Asian Men on January 11, 2008

Apologies for the long hiatus, folks. Maybe I should make my New Years’ resolution to post more often, but we’ll see if that actually happens.

A recent article from BBC News alleges discrimination against Asians (mostly people from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, so not the East Asians I talk about most on this site, but that’s another article for another time) in the 2006 elections. Take a look:


Of course, I think this is just scraping the surface.

Asians in general are pretty invisible to the political process. You hear about candidates scrambling for “The Black Vote” pretty much every election cycle, and recently you hear about candidates scrambling for “The Hispanic Vote”; this election cycle even featured televised debates on Univision, the Spanish-language channel (although the debate itself was in English). So where is the scrambling for the Asian vote?

There is none.

Why not? Part of the reason is that Asians are not as well-definable a political bloc as other minorities. Conventional wisdom holds that Democrats usually win the black vote, whereas Republicans have an advantage in Florida with the Hispanic vote, thanks to a hardline stance on Cuba. (This has changed recently though as illegal immigration has become a hot button issue.) But what about Asians? I haven’t done any demographic analysis of the topic, but based on just the Asians I know for every born-again Christian social conservative who votes Republican there’s an intellectual doctor/scientist who votes Democratic. There’s no hot button issue like immigration that seems to move Asians as much, either. And you certainly won’t see any Asians marching on D.C. for causes like the Jena 6.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that there are no Asian equivalents to Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. A side effect is that Asians don’t have much of a coherent political presence, and therefore politicians generally pay little attention to issues that may be important to Asian-Americans. On the other hand, maybe that’s a good thing as well; I wouldn’t want a politician coming out to town meetings and talking about his favorite General Tso’s Chicken recipe to try and show some ‘street cred’ with the local Asian population.

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