Reddit Reddit reviews The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism (Oxford India Paperbacks)

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The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism (Oxford India Paperbacks)
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3 Reddit comments about The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism (Oxford India Paperbacks):

u/[deleted] · 27 pointsr/MensLib

Disclaimer: I am not a hapa. I am not going to speak for them, but it is very nuanced. What I am about to type is a little personal. I think I have reached a state of clarity without breaking down or believing in pseudo theories like RedPill. Please bear with me because I WILL make generalizations, cite anecdata. Let's go.

History of East Asian immigration dates back to the 1800s. Asians are not recent immigrants, yet are treated so. These stereotypes hence have a history. Asian laborer immigrants dating white women was revolting to American culture. Specific miscegenation laws were put into place. For instance:

> In the mid 1850s, 70 to 150 Chinese were living in New York City and 11 of them married Irish women. In 1906 the New York Times (6 August) reported that 300 white women (Irish American) were married to Chinese men in New York, with many more cohabited. In 1900, based on Liang research, of the 120,000 men in more than 20 Chinese communities in the United States, he estimated that one out of every twenty Chinese men (Cantonese) was married to a white woman. In the 1960s census showed 3500 Chinese men married to white women and 2900 Chinese women married to white men.

> Due to gender bias in immigration policy and hiring practices, of the 30,000 Filipino laborers following the cycle of seasonal farm work, only 1 in 14 were women. Unable to meet Filipinas, Filipino farm workers sought the companionship of women outside their own ethnic community, which further aggravated mounting racial discord

>Anti-miscegenation laws discouraging marriages between Whites and non-Whites were affecting Asian immigrants and their spouses from the late 17th to early 20th century. By 1910, 28 states prohibited certain forms of interracial marriage. Eight states including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah extended their prohibitions to include people of Asian descent

The emasculation of Asian men follows the same pattern. It's historic. Not a recent pop cultural trend. It's not funny, or just Oscar jokes. It's racial identity politics at its core. Since in a patriarchal system, emasculation implied cultural submission, that route was preferred. Parallels can be drawn between slavery in the US or emasculation of Indian men by the British imperialists.

>This isn’t edgy humor. It’s tired — so tired, in fact, that its origins can be traced all the way to the mid-1800s. To counteract the massive wave of imported cheap Chinese labor (“coolies”), Asian men were subject to a series of targeted laws that systematically stripped them of rights that signified manhood, such as property ownership, job opportunities and the ability to marry freely. The legislation worked hand-in-hand with the campaign on the cultural front, warning men and women of the Yellow Peril and peppering newspapers with caricatures that clearly showed these coolies as less than regular men. (MTV News' webseries Decoded has a good — and educating — rundown of this history.)

>This is where the "tiny Asian penis" jokes on our talk shows, playgrounds and Oscar stages come from. It’s the legacy of deliberate discrimination in our country’s history, just as the hypersexualization of black men has its damaging roots in slavery. These crude reputations aren't harmless. Without even getting into the more life-threatening ramifications of sexual stereotyping, there's ample statistical and anecdotal evidence that black and Asian men take a hit in the dating pool because of perception bias. (So do black women, which is one reason why Viola Davis has repeatedly celebrated her How to Get Away With Murder protagonist's sexual desirability and prowess.)

Now South Asian men have a different history. We are recent immigrants to the US. 2nd or 3rd generation mostly. Our emasculation started when the British women in India started engaging in relationships with local women. This is where the "Indian men are rapists" propaganda started. Don't believe me? Here:

>At the time, British newspapers had printed various apparently eyewitness accounts of English women and girls being raped by Indian rebels, with little corroboration to support these accounts. It was later found that some of these accounts were false stories and a few created to paint the native people of India as savages who needed to be civilised by British colonialists, a mission sometimes known as "The White Man's Burden". One such account published by The Times, regarding an incident where 48 English girls as young as 10–14 had been raped by Indian rebels in Delhi, was criticised as false propaganda by Karl Marx, who pointed out that the story was written by a clergyman in Bangalore, far from the events of the rebellion. These stereotypes and allegations were later argued as false by scholars, but they did harden the British attitude to the Indian population.


Here's a colonial era art piece in my hometown:

Ashis Nandy's "the intimate enemy" ( provides a pretty good outlook of colonial emasculation. Although it's a psychoanalysis of the Indian psyche and the lingering effects of colonial oppression it does touch some cultural aspects.

Status Quo:

  • This website curates a list of movies/tv shows that shows Asian/Indian people as sexually inferior.
  • We also had discussions about this on the American Born Indians sub now and then: >
  • Specific subreddits were formed for Asian men looking for help. This was interesting because three years ago talking about this instantly made me a "bitter misogynist". Today the discussions are way more nuanced. Some subreddits: /r/AsianMasculinity , /r/aznidentity , /r/asianbros. Although the main sub /r/asianamerican have strictly banned discussions about Asian masculinity, the topic is only gaining more attention.
  • r/hapas is a subreddit for people born out of white-asian marriages. A lot of users there have Asian mothers who are less than kind towards Asian men. These kids grow up with low self esteem because they are half asian and their own mothers reject their masculinity. It's a very complex situation.
  • Asian feminists like Amy Tan, have constantly criticized Asian men/Asian patriarchy while embracing white male patriarchy. For instance here is Esther Ku mocking Asian penises. Her diatribe against Asian men is apparently a reparation for what happened centuries ago before her ancestors immigrated. Oh she also was happy that the Asian doctor got beat up by the UA staff. (,
  • When Elliot Rodgers (white dad, asian mom) went on a killing spree, Asian feminists didn't waste a moment before jumping the bandwagon to criticize "Asian male". Nevermind the fact that his first victims were Asian men. Nevermind the fact that he was strongly influenced by American notion of manhood or that his father is white or that he is as white as he is asian if not more. (, This was the most coldblooded thing in my opinion. Rather than empathizing with the ASIAN MALE victims the kneejerk response was to blame Asian men. Later, following criticism from all sides, they budged and wrote non-apologetic "think pieces". Oh they also started fight against "toxic asian masculinity" in a country were Asian men are barely considered men.

  • When Indian men finally started getting treated like normal men on TV. Not the emasculated loser who LITERALLY cannot talk to women (Thanks Raj Koothrapalli), Indian feminists couldn't stand it. (,, Nevermind the fact that Mindy Kaling exclusively dated white men in her show, or in The Office she dumped Senthil for a white guy or the fact that Mira Nair and Jhumpa Lahiri has worked real hard to systematically destroy Gogol's masculinity in "Namesake". Suddenly they want to dictate brown men's dating lives. Or the several dozen shows were brown men are sidelined or sometimes totally emasculated. ( Nevermind that Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, both Indian artists are paired with White men.

    Let that sink in.

  • The only group I can thank genuinely are black women. While there definitely are subsets of black women that would not consider us as "real men", they were the only group to call out these stereotypes and racism. From random forums to feminist blogs.

    (I am sleep deprived and above word limit. I am fully aware that this is incoherent. I will continue this if there is interest AND I'm not embarrassed since this is an icky topic)
u/sniktaw · 2 pointsr/wordcount

Great analysis. I can point you to Ward Churchill's Pacifism as Pathology for a really interesting take on violence. In his view, it's absurd to go up against an institution (say, the US Congress) with peaceful, picket-sign holding protesters and expect to effect change within the institution through that action. To completely write off the inhibition of physical processes of the state as "going too far" is basically to declare that your actions will be purely symbolic and not truly change-making. It's just insane to think that opposing such organized violence as the US Military puts forth by chanting slogans will actually change anything. It's an interesting view, but it basically calls for destruction of property and violence comparable to the student protests in Britain right now and the recent French strikes.

Here are Nandy's and Fanon's books by the way.

I'll say that no one understands a lot of concepts in political theory the first time they come across them. Keep in mind that we're really skimming over this - Nandy's analysis was from the psychosocial field's perspective. The topic was human phenomenological experience of colonialism and the ideas shared through it and the social/cultural forms it took. Nandy goes deep into this. He analyzed sexuality because the two cultures at odds (colonial Britain and colonized India) had such radically different forms of socially accepted sexuality, that colonialism became mostly about the success of its civilizing mission. He characterized the British as hyper-masculine and the Indians as venerating androgeny. Colonialism, he argued, caused the colonized to accept the imposed colonial values and become the violent, hyper-masculine counterplayers to the colonists. The best way to emancipation from this is not to play that role, but to deny its legitimacy altogether. It is admittedly a very compelling argument. Nandy's most interesting section, imo, is where he covers the difference between history and mythology and also differences in cultural conceptions of time. It's almost candy for the mind to get into abstract - perhaps better said, higher level - ideas and how to comprehend them.

Fanon has an entire chapter devoted to the mental defects caused to the Algerians and the French during the occupation in the 60s. Profound destruction was done to human lives on both sides: torture victims, mentally beaten victims, policemen, torturers, families, children. He talks about a police officer who started to beat his family after becoming a torturer. The man came to him asking how he could be good at his job and not do this to his family. To quote Fanon: "there is no need to be wounded by a bullet to suffer from the effects of war in body and soul."

This is great stuff to devote learning time to, I think. It's rewarding to analyze human experience in what seems to be a more truthful manner, but it also comes with an understanding of the absurdity that it often is partial to. That can be frustrating. Racial Contract Theory and Marxism are two critiques of human phenomenological experience that, to me, were perspective-widening. I would also recommend those.

u/taylorloy · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I'm not sure what part of this passage is difficult to understand. Sure, in some of the first partial paragraph it would be good to have some background in studying Marxist thought and feminist epistemology, but the following paragraph is fairly self contained and coherent. This stuff should be bread & butter for grad students. Though, if you've recently read this (and you are on the semester system), I'd guess it's some introductory material to help frame the language you will be using throughout the course.

I don't know about counter-arguments, but I think it is internally consistent hypothesis (with what little I'm working on here). One would have to take issue with premise or two to offer an alternate hypothesis.

It may help to read some basic post-colonial stuff. Have you read Ashish Nandy's The Intimate Enemy? There might be something there that could reframe this sort of argument.