Identity is Fluid, Yes. But Amidst a Broken Multicultural Dream Only Fluid-ish

Read this from Jay Caspian Kang:

This Peter Liang case is instructive. The elevator pitch of the story: a bullet fired from the pistol of Chinese-American NYPD officer Peter Liang, a greenhorn cop, indirectly hits, downs, and kills Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old African-American man from Brooklyn. Officer Liang is convicted of manslaughter and then fired from the NYPD, presumably as a result of his conviction. 

Depending on where you stand this looks like either another case of a white supremacist machina relentlessly turning and happening to expend a cog (Officer Liang), or a hapless guy getting thrown to wolves by an establishment who wants to be seen doing something to placate #blacklivesmatter.

See this from Jenn Fang: 

All it took was one manslaughter case and all hell has broken lose in the "Asian-American community."

What I think is really going on here is Chinese, no matter where, I'm convinced are programmed to think of themselves as rarefied and singular even. To think of yourself as Chinese is to think of yourself as distinct. The "younger, often non-Chinese Asian Americans" as Jenn Fang describes them, seem to imagine a "fellow suffering" with other minorities, namely Blacks and Latinos. The starkest dividing line--the dividing principle, if you will, between these "younger, often non-Chinese Asian Americans" and the more Chinese-identifying American citizens/residents who have come to the defense of Peter Liang can be summed up rather neatly:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. (MLK Jr.)

This quotation is the DMZ. You are either on-side. Or you are off-side.

If you push. And you push a little harder those who have come out to support Peter Liang. They will not agree with Dr. King. I'm telling you. For many Asian Americans the tactic has been to keep one's head down, to bide one's time (sounds familiar, eh?). But push 'em and you'll realize they don't believe the every minority struggle is the same. They will not believe that any infraction against blacks, for example, is necessarily an infraction against them.

Maybe people don't want to hear it (and it's maybe a little inelegant) but the Peter Liang case illustrates vividly the cracks in Asian-American oneness: Chinese-Americans have exposed themselves as prepared to leave behind Hmong-Americans, Filipino-Americans, and Viet-Americans.

And this reality, the open acknowledgements coming out here and there, viewable full-frontally in the Peter Liang case, show those of us who care about how this relates back to mixed-race how “Hapa” and “Third Culture” might not be as 'safe' as we thought. The conceptual unity of a multiracial dream, Hapa as everything, is cracking.

Hapa and Third Culture have never been stress-tested. No one has ever really posed to them the tough questions. But Peter Liang gives us a sneak peak.

What lessons do we learn from Peter Liang? Should we assume each and every mixed person has equally valid insights and judgments on ideas that concern mixed people? Maybe.

Should we assume a mixed Ethiopian-German person 1) has a self-aware, quality mixed story to tell. Ok, probably. But 2) should we assume therefore, why not just amass mixed people, herd them under the label “Hapa” and “Third Culture” and hope that Ethiopian-German mixed stories are coherent with and or useful to those with Korean-Vietnamese <or whatever A-B mixed> stories to tell?

2) is the tricky one. It's not that every story doesn't have unique qualities, or that obscurity can't be rigorous. No. No.

Its what are the benefits of oneness amidst a set of choices that need to be made in a world of persistent hierarchy, heterogeneity, and polarity? Don't call it tribalism- but is it not logically sound that some mixes will emerge to think of themselves as mixes are more equal than others?