The Toxic Progressive Left

How the 'Baizuo' Hurt Asian Americans

Baizuo definition from Urban Dictionary:

"Baizuo (白左, White Leftists) is a popular Mainland Chinese term coined for a specific subset of Westerners who are despised by most Chinese for their pretentiousness, hypocritical behavior and an overbearing sense of entitlement.

Baizuo are mostly characterized by their heavy use of political correctness and double standards to covertly advance their own material or emotional interests at the expense of others while claiming otherwise from a self-assumed superior moral position."

Dion Lim is a San Francisco Bay Area-based news reporter for the local ABC affiliate KGO-TV. For the past year, Lim has been tirelessly reporting on the appalling hate-driven assaults on Asian residents in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area region. In addition to reporting these incidents for the local news channel, Lim keeps her followers informed through her social media accounts on Instagram and Twitter.  

Given the service that Lim is doing by following up with victims and keeping the public informed of criminal charges against suspects, she deserves applause for her hard work and fortitude. Not only are the sheer number of violent assaults targeting Asian victims dizzying to keep up with, they surely take a mental and emotional toll.

It is frankly bizarre, then, that the Washington Post recently published an opinion piece in what is essentially a hit piece on Lim, accusing her of distorting facts surrounding a San Francisco attempted carjacking that took place in March of this year. The author of the piece is someone named Radley Balko – a writer who lives in Tennessee. Upon closer examination, it seems that his only tie to San Francisco is his support for the local District Attorney, Chesa Boudin.

This is an important point because Balko's Washington Post piece is as much an attack on Lim's reporting as its defense of his buddy Boudin. This is not surprising given that Lim has been a tough critic of Boudin over his handling of several of these anti-Asian hate crimes. Not only that, but Lim often points to the failure of Boudin's office to charge known violent felons appropriately, sometimes resulting in fatal consequences.

In a tragic case in San Francisco's SoMa District on New Year's Eve, a repeat offender who was out on parole named Troy McAlister hit and killed two women in a crosswalk driving in a stolen vehicle while high on meth. One of the victims was a young Japanese woman by the name of Hanako Abe. In an interview with Lim, Abe's mother raised questions about why McAlister was even out on the streets in the first place:

"It makes me question why this happened, and I hope that this incident gets revealed and investigated. For example, was it right for the suspect to be released? Was it right for him to be on parole?"

In the aftermath of the New Years' Eve tragedy, many San Franciscans were also asking the same questions as Mrs. Abe. The unfortunate truth was that McAlister had been arrested five times over the course of the previous year, including for auto theft just 11 days before the tragedy. In all cases, D.A. Boudin declined to file any charges against McAlister, instead keeping him free on parole.

How did Chesa Boudin and his office make this grave error? Did he overlook McAlister's arrests, or was there something more insidious going on?

Well, as it turns out, not only had he represented McAlister in 2018 as a Public Defender (an apparent conflict of interest), but Boudin himself was simply living up to his campaign promise of 'criminal justice reform' by failing to charge appropriately.

The incidents of violent crimes targeting Asians by known criminals are unfortunately becoming all too common in the City by the Bay. Last week Ahn Taylor, a 94-year-old Chinese woman, was stabbed multiple times in an unprovoked attack in downtown San Francisco just a few blocks from Union Square.

The suspect, Daniel Cauich, was well-known to law enforcement authorities, having been charged with homicide in 2016 but having his case dismissed in 2019 due to 'lack of evidence.' More recently, Cauich was charged with first-degree armed robbery but released by a judge on June 6 with an ankle monitor.

What was Cauich doing walking around downtown San Francisco in the first place? Why did the lenient judge release this known violent criminal? Why was Troy McAlister able to steal a car and recklessly claim the life of Hanako Abe on New Year's Eve?

For anyone who cares about the health of American cities, these are very reasonable questions to ask. To the baizuo supporters of the San Francisco District Attorney, you might be a heartless bigot for even questioning the current modus operandi of the local criminal justice system. After all, the D.A. is simply looking to undo 'past injustices' through 'decarceration' – how can anyone argue with that?

The reality is a lot more complicated, and unfortunately, the current approach has very negative consequences in urban centers across the country. Asian Americans bear the brunt of lawlessness either because they are perceived as easy targets (especially the elderly) or unfairly scapegoated for causing the COVID-19 pandemic (or both).

In San Francisco, I've already heard from multiple friends and acquaintances that they and their families are afraid even to walk outside now. Others have purchased firearms and other weapons to defend themselves. Many are packing up and leaving the City altogether.

Across the country, New York City Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang came under fire last week for comments he made in a recent debate about assaults on elderly Asians by mentally ill homeless men wandering the streets and subways. Yang's sin? Acknowledging the reality of the problem and expressing frustration with the ongoing politicization of the issue:

"Yes, mentally ill people have rights, but you know who else has rights? We do. The people and families of the City. We have the right to walk the street and not fear for our safety because a mentally ill person is going to lash out at us."

Yang proposed expanding the number of psych beds in the city as a potential solution (a very reasonable proposition). Yet the damage was already done – the baizuo army on Twitter and in left-leaning media came after him, attacking him as insensitive and out-of-touch.

Yet Yang tapped into the frustration many people, especially Asian Americans, are feeling in our country's urban centers like New York and San Francisco. Just because someone may have a mental illness or drug addiction doesn't give them the right to violently attack people on the street. It is not inconsistent to have compassion for folks in distressing life situations while simultaneously protecting the public from actual physical harm they may cause to someone else.

And protecting the public from harm may also require making tough choices, such as detaining individuals who threaten public safety. If jail is not the appropriate setting, cities need to create spaces like psych wards to hold people until they are no longer deemed a threat.

Unfortunately, even talking about these subjects will get you canceled by the baizuo. In their minds, a criminal is often just a victim of an 'unjust system' and not directly responsible for their destructive actions. The flat-out denial of any personal agency is frankly un-American, undermines the rule of law and will result in chaotic and dangerous cities (as we are already starting to see).

Where does this distorted line of thinking come from?

There is a strain of baizuo thought that seeks to explain social phenomena through 'systems of power and oppression.'  While it is true that power hierarchies exist (as they always have throughout human history), the American system at least provides a path (albeit imperfect) for people to improve their socioeconomic status across generations. This is the very reason why so many immigrants from Asia have made their way across the Pacific to the United States for generations.

Yet modern-day American baizuo seem to have lost sight of this. Perhaps they think that the system is too rigged or hopelessly unfair. Or maybe some feel guilty for their own privileged place in society and believe that removing the pathways for others to climb up the socioeconomic ladder will somehow magically level out the playing field.

We've seen this flawed approach manifest itself over the past year in both local K-12 school boards and university administrations across the country through the dismantling of merit-based admissions, advanced placement courses and standardized testing.

In San Francisco, the local school board voted back in February to do away with merit-based admissions at the city's top public high school, Lowell, in an effort to address 'pervasive systemic racism.' At the time of the vote, Lowell's student body was over 50% Asian American.

Rather than lifting up disadvantaged students of all ethnic backgrounds by improving outcomes at other schools throughout the district, the San Francisco Board of Education opted for a 'scorched-earth' approach to equity, harming its Asian students in the process.

One of the chief advocates for removing merit-based admissions at Lowell is former S.F. Board of Education Vice President Alison Collins, stripped of her title after discovering she made racist remarks about Asian students in a 2016 Twitter thread. Although Collins remains a member of the SFUSD School Board, she is currently suing the district for $87 million for causing 'spiritual injury to her soul.'

San Francisco public school parents fed up with the school board's shenanigans (and dereliction of duty in re-opening schools) have taken to organizing a recall campaign for three of the board members (including Collins). Led by Asian American parents, volunteers are now taking to the streets to collect official signatures for the recall effort.

The effort has local baizuo livid.

In a now widely circulated video from earlier this month, a local man named Jason Kruta was caught stealing a petition clipboard directly from the hands of Man Kit Lam, a San Francisco public school dad assisting with collecting signatures. Kruta has since been fired from his job and is now being investigated for his role in tampering with the recall effort (a crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000).

What compelled Kruta to interfere with the democratic process so explicitly in public like this? Well, as one might suspect, given his uncouth behavior caught on camera, Kruta is aligned with the progressive wing of San Francisco's political establishment. Driven by far-left zealotry, he may have had difficulty imagining that some folks might not support his preferred political leaders, causing him to lash out.

For better or worse, Kruta and his actions exemplify that of the stereotypical baizuo. When one’s political beliefs become a core part of their identity, one often approaches personal relationships and social interactions with a high degree of sanctimony.

Through this lens, politics is a righteous moral crusade rather than a collection of issues debated on their own merits. That is why when someone questions the judgment of impractical idealists like Chesa Boudin or Alison Collins, there is an almost cult-like backlash to their critics.

American politics is not a zero-sum game, nor should it be. The ‘moral high ground’ is not cut-and-dried – ambiguity is baked into the system. But when certain political dogmas prove to cause repeated harm to a group of people as far-left progressivism has done to Asian Americans, it is our civic duty to question their policies and push back.