Commentaries of a Leftist


Table of Contents

  1. Asian American Ideas
  2. Postmodernism

Asian American Ideas


This is a very complicated concept. There are many degrees of assimilation, and many forms, but usually this refers to cultural assimilation, where a foreign or minority group comes to resemble or absorb the ideas, values, or expressions of the dominant group. It can be full or forced. It is a contentious topic within Asian America.

Simple Definition

When minorities act more like the main group in a country.


One of the most important ideas regarding Asia ever. Originating in Edward Said’s book of the same name, Orientalism is the use of an enemy or other to define oneself. For example - if Chinese are collectivist, then us Americans must be individualistic. If Chinese are Communist, then American has to be Communist. It’s basically emphasizing the differences between cultures to entrench those differences. It is also a distinct form of American white supremacy that complements racism in upholding systemic discrimination in the US. While it is called Orientalism, this idea can apply elsewhere.

Simple Definition

People define themselves against others.

Perpetual Foreigner

The perpetual foreigner is the idea that Asians, no matter how assimilated they are, will never be fully considered American.

Simple Definition

Asians can never be considered American.

Racial Triangulation

Asian Americans are utilized as a wedge against Black people, by being constructed as foreign, but more socially acceptable.

Simple Definition

Asian Americans are used by white people to stop change.

Red Scare

Historically, this was prevalent during McCarthyism, where politicians made accusations of secret Communist collusion to undermine their opponents and boost their own power. Red Scare tactics are still used today, and Communist remains an insult in America. Even the American ignorance of what socialism or Communism are is rooted in this. Since Chinese Americans were historically one of the more well known groups of Asian Americans, Asians are usually defaulted to Chinese, and since mainland China is “Communist” (only in name), Communist conspiracy tropes can be used as an excuse for racism.

Simple Definition

Americans fear Communist China.


The (often conscious) refusal to acquire or resemble ideas, values, or expressions present in the dominant group.

Simple Definition

Avoiding assimilation.


This is an oftentimes irrational fear of foreignors, that usually relies on stereotyping them all as one group. It extends beyond people, but can be anything those people create.

Simple Definition

Fear of foreignors and anything foreign.


Cultural Relativism

The belief that each culture has its own values, beliefs, truths, and knowledge making that cannot be decontextualized or considered in absence of that context. There are alternative forms of logic. This does not mean a culture’s practices or values are beyond critique, merely that one must consider their context.

Simple Definition

Cultures have differing values and beliefs, and you have to account for this alternative worldview.


Not bothering to have a consistent theory, and drawing upon several theories for explanation or analysis.

Simple Definition

Using whatever theory works then and there as an explanation.


The reaction to Modernism that manifests as a skepticism in grand theories and uncritical use of categories and theory. Some examples are Deconstruction, Foucaltian Discourse Analysis, Death of the Author, Social Constructivism, etc.

Simple Definition

There is no overarching theory.


The large movement in the modern era which believes in grand theories and use of categories. Marxism, Fascism, Liberalism, Social Darwinism are some of the movements that can be considered Modernist.

Simple Definition

Believing in one complete theory to explain everything.

Social Constructivism

Social Constructivism is the belief that facts and what is considered true or questionable is dependent on a society and consensus. There is weak social constructivism which believes there are objective truths, but society forms its categories and constructions on top of those, while strong social constructivism states that truth itself is societally contingent.

Simple Definition

Society determines truth and falseness and categories themselves.