Left-wing racist misogynists (a mea culpa)

About a year ago, I blogged about the deluge of right-wing hate mail received by Margaret Cho, “mostly criticizing Cho for being fat, Asian and female, traits that are considered grievous flaws by some right-wingers.”

I stand by that post. But I can’t stand by an assumption I made while I wrote it. At some level, I smugly assumed such an outpouring of blatant racist misogyny would only come from the right. I didn’t think about it (if I had thought, I would have realized I was being ridiculous), but I thoughtlessly assumed it.

I am reminded of this today because Michelle Malkin, an Asian-American, right-wing pundit, has put quotes from some of her hate mail online. (Link via comments at LTF). A few samples:

Hi Self hating flat nosed Filipino Bitch! As we used to refer to your kind – little brown Fucking Machines. Looks like this little LBFM learned to whore in a different way to make some pesos. How sweet.

* * *

Surely you are a big put-on. Did some minor Republican operative purchase a mail-order bride and train her to do this?

* * *

Malkin, you’re a dumb fucking whore. You’re a philipino piece of shit who should be wiping my ass. Go back to the massage parlor. Sucky sucky long time. How dare you thing you have any right to express any opinions in this country. You’re a joke. Go back to nursing school. Whore.

I don’t want to make this “all about me.” The main issue here is obviously the racism and sexism that still exists and boils up with what I can only call stunning assholishness when a woman of color who speaks her mind is combined with the ease and facelessness of email.

But it’s also important that lefties (and especially the feminist, anti-racist left) be aware of stuff like this, lest we fall into smug, easy assumptions, as I did a year ago. There’s no shortage of vile, racist, woman-hating assholes on the left.

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112 Responses to Left-wing racist misogynists (a mea culpa)

  1. 101
    FoolishOwl says:

    It’s more a question of leadership. Taken an outspoken, principled position can encourage others to speak up as well. But it also means that you’re going to be drawing fire — when you’re not getting ignored. It’s not easy, but it’s all the more important that you do it.

  2. 102
    CanYouBeAngyAndStillDream says:

    Just joining this thread for a one-time comment. Thanks for sharing the comments from the idiots. It’s good to know that our enemies are not only on the far Right. Being shone that they exist on both sides of the political spectrum doesn’t put me in the middle. It reminds me to be watch my back for anyone who might hit me with friendly fire which is not always unintentional.

    Upon further review of the beginning of this thread I’m sturggling with several competing thought paths. 1) Knowing the Right wing as represented by BushCo to be totally devoid of integrity I immediately question that the comments are in fact real. 2) Learning that Cho is identified as Right Wing, Asian and Female sends me into a Star-Trek spiral of “Does not compute, does not compute”.

    It’s not overload but usually these threads end in dead ends for me so I’ll leave it at the above. I must be in a parallel universe where others don’t see or hear me.

  3. 103
    FoolishOwl says:

    Michelle Malkin is right wing. Margaret Cho is not.

  4. 104
    jam says:

    Ampersand said: To some degree, I agree with Robert. Anything that lowers the consequences of sex is going to increase the amount of “irresponsible”? sex people have, to some degree. Incentives matter.

    given that sociological surveys of sexual attitudes & practices are a pretty recent phenomena how do we know how much or how little so-called “irresponsible” sex people had in the past? and if we don’t know this, how do we know that folks are having more (or less) now? i mean, the contention is sound in a sorta abstractly logical way – sure, incentives matter. but so do a helluvalot of other things…

    also, i’m still waiting for someone to explain how anyone knew that the people who responded to Malkin were “from the left”?

    hey CanYouBeAngy, i can see/hear you (tho maybe i’m in a parallel universe too!) – i think you may have gotten Margaret Cho mixed up with Michelle Malkin; Malkin is the right-winger.

    otherwise, i’d like to assure you that the combination of right-wing, Asian & woman most definitely exists.

    p.s. the comments preview is neato! but i just nearly put the wrong sum in the spam-math field because i am a math idiot :(

  5. 105
    Robert says:

    We don’t know that the anti-Malkin commenters were lefties, just as we don’t know that the anti-Cho commenters were righties. Nor do we know that someone who burns down a Jewish orphanage is an anti-semite, or that a person who beats up Jesse Jackson without taking his wallet has something against blacks, or Democrats.

    We can, however, make a reasonable assumption in each of these cases, based on the ancient principle of who’s ox is gored. That determination won’t be perfect – there will be arsonists who just hate kids, and didn’t care they were Jewish. There will be muggers who got scared and left the wallet. There will be agents provocateur. So we probably shouldn’t do anything permanent on the basis of such a low grade of certainty.

    But mostly, if it talks like a duck, it’s a duck (or my friend Steve, who does a great duck impression). We don’t have to wait for the videographic analysis of the walking and swimming patterns to form a working hypothesis. Since there are left-wing buttheads who think Michelle Malkin should go to Manila and work the streets, and since there are right-wing spoogemonkeys who think that Margaret Cho should be strapped into a Bowflex and force-fed the Atkins diet, and since all of these fine specimens of humanity can type and get onto the Internet, it’s reasonable to assume that by and large, the people who you would suspect of saying these things, are in fact the people who say these things.

    It is, of course, an assumption – meaning that it should always be held tentatively, and subject to new data. If you track the IP address of an anti-Cho writer to http://www.dnc.org, well, maybe it was an agent provocateur instead of a wingnut. But until then, you can assume it was a wingnut.

  6. 106
    CanYouBeAngyAndStillDream says:

    Thank you for that. I could’ve gone forever confused on the facts.

    However, if you substitute “Malkin” for “Cho” in my post it, the post, still stands and does not compute.
    Cho is described as “..fat, Asian and female” and Milkin as “.. Asian-American, right-wing pundit”. I assume that “Michelle” is female as opposed to “Michel”. So, both are female Asian-Americans and I’m wondering why that makes a difference to anyone.

    I’m still baffled how that works out for Milkin but appreciate being reminded that my enemies come from both sides of the political spectrum. “Enemies” are those who are enemies of humanity. I can only guess that Milkin has lost her identity as Asian. At the very least “American” has dwarfed “Asian”. I have noted that the label “Asian-American” was supplied by someone else.

    Hearing that some people even choose to make arguments based on race, gender and/or heritage is enough to remind me how some people could’ve voted for Bush. I’m reminded every day that it doesn’t have to make sense to me as long as it makes sense to those who spend life in a mental fog and don’t know it. I struggle with how to fight with the mentally deficient who are waging a war the “why” of which I don’t understand.

    We humans have such a long way to go and we’re far closer to the rest of the animal kindom than we like to think or will admit.

  7. 107
    fromaway says:

    I’m pretty sure the comment about the minor Republican operative comes from a left-winger. The other two are harder to pigeonhole, except that M.M. is, as a friend once put it, “the G.O.P.’s very own Asian House Negro.” Unless they are the kind of people who are angered by the very existence of Asian Americans (the comment about having “no right to express opinions in this country” might well be from such a person), Republicans have no reason to attack her.

    bellatrys: As I read the story here, the U.S. military actually banned or restricted condom distribution in WWI to encourage “chastity” among soldiers. I haven’t checked the facts myself, so you may well be right.

    And this is the only version of ‘free love’, sadly, that many people can imagine: either predatory swingers, or we go back to hoop skirts and bonnets. Sad.

    I noticed that in Robert’s scenarios. Regardless of the time under discussion, the prevailing social attitude towards promiscuity, or the birth/disease control methods available, he seemed to imagine the heterosexual landscape as one shaped and controlled by men alone. Perhaps many people think that’s how it inevitably is, or should be, but I don’t think many feminists would agree.

    Where are these Heimel columns about “free love”? I’m a big fan of hers but I don’t think I’ve read them yet.

  8. 108
    mythago says:

    I believe it was in Sex Tips for Girls.

  9. 109
    jam says:

    thanks for that emphatically graphic reply, Robert.

    i guess i wasn’t regarding the transmission of hateful email as being the equivalent of such acts as burning down orphanages & beating up African Americans…. and, y’know, i still don’t regard it as such.

    what i was trying to point out is that there is nothing in the emails to imply a definite political identity. large numbers of people in this country don’t identify with either “the left” or “the right” – that is, if they even identify politically at all. and, as Foolish Owl pointed out earlier, terms such as “the left” and “the right” are wide generalizations & are certainly more complex than what the Repuglican & Democrap parties purport to represent.

    as much as racism, sexism & misogyny are not exclusive to “the right” or “the left” nor are they exclusive to those of us who identify with either. like you said much earlier, Robert, “Sphincterhood knows no party.”


    CanYouBeAngy (do you mean Angry, btw?) states: I can only guess that Milkin has lost her identity as Asian.

    are you saying that because Malkin is rightwing she somehow has to have sacrificed or given up her identification as Asian-American? there is no reason to suppose this. there is as much political diversity among Asians & Asian-Americans as there is among any other ethnic group. race does not determine political identity. nor does gender.

  10. 110
    bellatrys says:

    fromaway, when I was doing research on it, as part of a personal investigation into the hypocrisy of my former allies, (because a) they’re all against condom distribution b) a lot of conservatives are ex-military or dependents like my family and c) the military has pushed condom usage strongly due to AIDS, including keychain condom holders with your branch insignia) I read that it wasn’t *until* WWI that they started making them standard equipment, because the “Just Say No!” posters of the day, with vampiric French prostitutes and symbolic shackles representing the dangers of VD weren’t working any more than having the padres preach about sin.

    Before that, we really didn’t have all that much of an army, compared to European empires, not even after the Spanish American War: the idea of a perpetual standing army as something to be aspired to was the brainchild of Scaife-Mellon-and-co, rather than peace as the norm, an army something you dusted off for a war and demobilized the rest of the time.

    Politically and socially as well as technologically, this wasn’t really possible until after WWII, and was the reason that it was so critical to make our former allies, China and Russia, into demons afterwards. But it’s very expensive to be doing health care for a standing army of any size, and if someone gets a disease that kills or cripples them (for one thing, syphilis has a form that causes heart disease) then you’ve wasted millions of dollars worth of training and experience.

    This – not humanitarian reasons – is the explicit reason for promoting condom use in the military today, according to the medical corps reports I read.

  11. 111
    mythago says:

    with vampiric French prostitutes and symbolic shackles representing the dangers of VD


  12. 112
    Samantha says:

    Hot like the burning sensation of venereal diseases?