Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A perfect chance to practice spotting logical fallacies

Thanks, Alex Lee, for your incredible logically fallacious article in the Korea Times!
My problem is with willfully ignorant people who embrace myths like "color-blind love transcends racial inequalities" and "all Asian men are sexist while white men are not." Of course, any couple can "fall in love." It's naive, however, to ignore the reality of white privilege.

False dichotomy. One can believe in love conquering all without ignoring white privilege.

I'm well aware that my attractiveness to native Korean women over native Korean men has a lot to do with my privilege as an American gyopo man. But this advantage doesn't exist outside of Asia like it does for white men. That's the difference. "Sorry, I don't date Asian guys because they're too sexist or nerdy" is a refrain I've heard a lot from Asian American girls.

Appeal to pity
Hollywood has been selling the same stereotype of Asian men forever. For every Pitt, Clooney, and Damon the world sees in Oceans 11, 12, and 13, Asian men get the same mute Chinese acrobat who fits into boxes. Globally, Western white men are allowed to be everything Asian men are not, sexy and nonsexist. They even speak.

Confusing causation with correlation. Who's to say whether Hollywood caused perceptions or reflects them. Also, that Chinese acrobat wasn't sexist.
In the U.S., Asian American women married white spouses at nearly twice the rate as Asian American men, according to the 2000 Census. Korean American women had the second highest outmarriage (marriage to whites) rate of all Asian American women at 24.3 percent of all marriages compared to Korean American men at only 3.9 percent. In Korea, Korean women surveyed by Bien-Aller, a Seoul-based matchmaking company, preferred white spouses over other races at 32.9 percent compared to Korean men at only 14.4 percent. Numerous studies contend this discrepancy is unique to Asian Americans since in other racial groups men outmarry more than women. (Outmarriage statistics for black women with white men, interestingly, were nearly the same statistical inverse of the Asian female situation. Coincidence? Last time I checked, black women were dissed by the global media almost as much as Asian men--save Beyonce).

Confusing correlation with causation and straw man. Who knows if outmarriage rates among black women is related to 'dissing by the global media'?

So, why the gender gap? A popular explanation is the overt patriarchy in Asian culture, like the sexist preference of sons over daughters to preserve the family name. But equally important is the West's wartime legacy in Asia, like U.S. servicemen, camptown-centered brothels and Asian war brides.

Total lack of evidence. How do we know if it's 'equally important' or if there's any impact at all without evidence? Also somewhat of a non-sequitur, I mean, why would the existence of brothels in the past make women want to marry foreigners?

Sorry, but a white man's earnest claim that he is "nice" and not like other perverted white guys addicted to Asian porn isn't enough to erase history. The West is smug in thinking it’s so liberal.

Ad hominem attacks. the West is 'smug'. A white guy naively thinks he's 'nice' when he himself doesn't know what's in his own nature.

Most interracial couples speak the man’s native language, English.


Many "liberal” white men don’t seek equally "liberal” Western white woman.
And white "feminists” leave the home but hire non-white women to replace them.


Furthermore, feminist history in Asia is, in fact, strong. In Korea, women were largely in control of their own lives during the Koryo period before Confucianism was introduced. Patrilineage was uncommon, inheritance was equally divided among sons and daughters, and widows were known to remarry. A long time
ago, yes. But sexism is clearly not "inherent" to Asian culture despite
the hype.

Straw man. Nobody thinks that the 'inherentness' of Asian sexism matters, only its existence. Would proving that Korean anti-black racism was not inherent to Korean culture make it a non-issue?

Introducing these points usually mean being personally attacked on my masculinity and sense of self-worth, a classic example of how the culture of power places the burden of proof on those with less power. Meanwhile, those with more power have the luxury to brand my arguments as mere "complaints." This is known as hypocrisy, folks.
A parallel example would be me blaming Asian women for being vain and appearance-obsessed without questioning my own complicity in sexism. I can act calm and collected because my self-worth isn't reduced to my waistline.

Non-sequitur false analogy combo.

Ask a white man to switch places with an Asian man and he'll feel the difference in power quick.

I think this is special pleading. You can't feel this very real thing, but if you were to become Asian you would be able to.

Not to mention, they'd probably do more than just complain, like legally ban Asians from entering their country for decades, create "anti-miscegenation" laws that would prohibit interracial marriage, encourage state-wide sterilization programs for non-white women, and kill non-white men for just looking at white women _ all in the name of "science" and "pure" white nationhood. Oh wait, they already did.

Ad hominem attack and argument from prior error.

Meanwhile, tales about marriage between an indigenous woman of color and white men _ think Pocahontas _ have long been staples of European-American culture, says George Lipsitz. The native woman's love for the white man serves to establish the moral superiority of the conqueror's culture. These stories turn the brutality and sadism of conquest into a voluntary romance. That's why people who argue Asian women are resisting Asian sexism by marrying white men
are mistaken.

False dichotomy. Why can't there be both 'push' and 'pull' factors?
If white feminists didn't marry Asian men to combat Western sexism, why would the opposite be true?

I struggled with this one before realizing it's a false continuum. Asian women who marry Western men and move to the West in order to escape sexism in their own societies will become subject to Western sexism. This argument simply denies the possibility that one variety of sexism may be more or less desirable than the other.
It's easy to criticize someone like me as defending native Asian men because I'm Asian. But I'm also American, an irony lost on most white Western men who brand me as some sort of Korean nationalist.

All fallacy-noticing aside, I recognize the writer of this piece as one of the most American people around. Only an American could string together this much Anthro 101 this angrily. Also, there's no irony to be lost, dingus, you're criticizing white Westerners, not Americans.
I have no problem criticizing Asia, like how East Asian men exploit South East Asian women but still use marriages between the two as proof of how "cultural understanding" they are. Here, the power dynamics are clear. So, what makes white men with Asian women that different?

False analogy (except in the case of mail-order brides)
Ultimately, it's not about arguing who's "worse" or shallowly emphasizing that we're all sexist and racist. It's about taking the issue less personally, enough to see that there are larger forces at play. I love my parents but still find it important to criticize the ridiculously classist system they came from.

Appeal to sincerity
Consequently, the current state of interracial relationships doesn't equal "racial harmony" as much as some people would like to believe. After all, it's called "color-blind love" for a reason. It blinds you to the truth.

The 'shitty writing' fallacy.

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