There aren’t really any Asian people where I live. If you want to see an Asian person you have to go to a Chinese restaurant. The people who own the restaurants and work there are Chinese, but, nobody has any idea where they live. You never see them anyplace else but in the restaurant. They are exotic creatures in the Great American Southland and do not appear to thrive in the cultural soil Dixie has to offer. What Sky-Lab is to astronauts orbiting earth in the airless and hostile environment of space Chinese restaurants are to Chinese people in my little redneck corner of Dixie. They dare not venture out unprotected. Not from a lack of oxygen and gravity, but rather from a lack of the cultural nourishment and foundation they require to thrive.
The title of this little slice of the absurdity that is my life, like my life itself, makes absolutely no sense at all. There are no Redneck Chinese. It’s what they call one of them there Oxymorons… like Giant Shrimp, First-strike defense and Thank God, I’m an Atheist. You scratch your head for a while. Then, you move on.
The problem is I can’t let things like this go. I’m suspicious by nature and my suspicion is that Chinese people, Asian people in general actually, can be seen and used as canaries in a coal mine were, at one time, used to gage the wholesomeness of the environment. In short, the better an environment is at supporting Rednecks the worse it will be in supporting Chinese. The opposite it appears is just as true. For example, Ivy League universities and high tech research facilities are always crawling with Chinese and Asians of every variety, but, search as much as you like there ain’t a redneck to be found in such places. Not a one!
My hypothesis, for starters, is that it’s all about education, in one way or another, and rednecks and Chinese people occupy the opposite ends of that spectrum. Statistically bout 44% of all Asians have a Bachelors Degree or higher compared to 24% for the total US population. In the county I live in the figure is 16.2% and a very large part of that figure is made up of people known locally as “come heres” as apposed to “born heres”. The average median income of Asians in America is much higher than any other group. In contrast, 37% of the people who live in the county in which I reside live off a “Government check”.
Chinese people tend not to join Fundamentalist Christian Churches. My county has a little over 30,000 people and 87 Fundamentalist Southern Baptist Churches. Rednecks are just crazy about Fundamentalist Christianity.
Asian people tend to not be Republicans. In the entire history of the Tea Party not one Chinese person has ever joined. Whenever there is an election for anything where I live the local newspaper always publishes the results the very next day. It always reads something like this…
“Everybody voted Republican again yesterday except for Mrs. Neutron and we spect Y’all know where that hateful atheist Yankee Bitch lives by now.”
It is indeed comforting to be recognized by ones community and as P.T. Barnum once remarked… “Even bad publicity is better than no publicity at all.”
All that aside what this really comes down to is culture. What are any of us really except for our culture? Where would we be without the pack of lies and bundle of bullshit that “we” (those of us IN our cultural group) agree to pretend to each other ARE the absolute, undeniable, truth? We wouldn’t be human… that’s for sure. Culture, in all its kinds and permutations defines us as human and the real rub is that part of the “deal” with culture is to “believe” that your culture is the best culture and teach that belief to your children no matter what. Rednecks do that. Chinese do that. All cultures do that and, usually, out of respect for people who are different from us we are supposed to just… let… it…go. But, we never do because our culture is the best. Thinking, believing and teaching that to your children is how a culture survives and if there is one thing a culture wants to do… it’s survive.
At this point you are probably asking yourselves… “So, where does that leave us Mrs. N. and what the fuck are you trying to say here anyway?”
What I’m saying is this. When you go reading statistics like half the people in America don’t believe in evolution and such & such percentage of Americans think President Obama is a Muslim and that global warming is a Liberal plot to destroy American capitalism and force us all to become communists… you have to see it for what it is and what it isn’t. The temptation is to think it’s CRAZY. That would be a mistake.
Culture dictates it all and there are cultures that work to promote happiness and economic success and cultures that do the opposite. Any attempt to understand a person without understanding the culture they come out of is condemned to failure. Not to understand this is to entirely miss one of the basic facts of what it means to be human.
I read, just the other day, in John Schumaker’s “The Age of Insanity” that … psychology managed to get things backward as it came to see the individual as a separate entity that operated outside larger cultural contexts. We ended up with an asocial and misdirected field that was thoroughly preoccupied by the mythical disturbed individual. In the midst of this preoccupation, psychology largely forgot about wider contexts in which these individuals operate.
Now, all that may not sound like much. You may be saying… “So what?.. Big shit.” Who gives a crap Mrs. N. and what’s it to me?”
Well Mrs. N’s gunna tell you. A house divided cannot stand. The smaller the world gets the less room for multiculturalism there will be. Only the strong will survive and culture will determine strength. The time has come for the wise to “pick” their culture. The survival of mankind will come to be less and less a matter of luck and more and more a matter of educated choosing. Choose wisely.
I think it is always helpful to remember the story of the single Chinese man who owned a Chinese restaurant.
One day a beautiful Chinese woman walked in. He immediately walked over and asked her out on a date. She agreed. They went out for a while, and soon, the man proposes to her. She says “Yes, but before we do, there’s something you must know. I have never had the sex, but I’ve read about it.” He says that it’s not a problem, and they are married.
On their honeymoon, the man tells his wife that since she’s a virgin, she can choose what they do first. She says “Oh, most honorable husband. I am honored to be your wife, even though I have never had the sex, but I’ve read about it. So, I have chosen to have the 69.
The husband looks confused, and after thinking about it, he says “You want.. the beef and broccoli?”