NBC Editor: 'How I'm Learning to Unlearn My Whiteness as a Biracial Asian American'

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Shocked by the headline? Me, neither. The insanity continues in the wake of the shootings last week at three Atlanta-area spas (massage parlors), immediately after which, the left rushed to blame… wait for it… racism against Asians. One of those people was Shannon Ho, a lead platform editor at NBC News. Prepare to not be shocked, folks. Ms. Ho:

“After the tragic shootings in the Atlanta area last week, I’ve thought about my racial identity more than ever. My horror is a collective horror, my grief a collective grief.”

So wrote Ho in response to the shootings by Robert Aaron Long, within whom, The Washington Post reported, “a war was evident for years.” Eight people were killed; seven of them women, six were of Asian descent, and one was white.

“What is clear,” said the WSJ, “is that those who spent time with Long in recent years often saw a life in severe disruption.”

“[H]e was fixated on sex to the extent that he thought he was addicted. His relationship with a girlfriend collapsed after she found out that he frequented massage businesses, according to his roommate.

“His bond with his parents frayed; on the night before the shootings, they threw him out of their house, according to police.”

But as Hillary might say, what difference does it make? the narrative is the narrative.

So, Ho [heh], in a Wednesday op-ed published in the NBC News online “Think” section — “Opinion, Analysis, Essays” — titled “How the Atlanta spa shootings forced me to confront my biracial identity,” decried her “whiteness.” Her subhead reads: “No matter how white I felt in Westchester County, this world has always seen me as an Asian American woman.”

“Race didn’t really exist to me when I was a child. I just was,” Ho [heh] began.

“I grew up in a predominantly white [upscale] suburb of New York, where just about everyone in my class was white. And I was, too, with some minor differences.

“When I was a child, my father made a point to teach me Chinese, and my parents were excited that the babysitter they found was Cantonese.

“It was important to them, at the time, that I could ask for apples and say I needed to use the bathroom in both languages. That I could talk to all of my grandparents in whatever language they wanted.”

But she knew she was “different,” wrote Ho.

“But I was different, even if I couldn’t see it or didn’t want to admit it. There are things I wish I had known growing up, but one of the most important was this: No matter how white I felt in Westchester County, this world sees and has always seen me as a biracial woman, as an Asian woman.

“At the same time, although my whiteness has been a shield, it’s my Asian side that has forced me to evolve in the face of adversity.

“After the tragic shootings in the Atlanta area last week, I’ve thought about my racial identity more than ever. My horror is a collective horror, my grief a collective grief. They have forced me to look inward.

“Because, really, who am I?”

Uh-huh. It’s perfectly normal to question your entire identity because a deranged madman shoots up three massage parlors in a sick attempt to remove objects of his creepy sexual addiction from his life, that just so happened to be run by Asians, and six of the eight people killed were Asian. Nope, not connecting dots that don’t exist, at all.

HO went on to describe how her race affected her childhood.

Suddenly “I’m in first grade and a third-grader is telling me about my slanty eyes. He’s speaking “Chinese” to me, but it’s just gibberish.

“And then I’m in second grade dressed as Mulan for Halloween, but all my friends are witches or other “cooler” characters.

“I remember covering up as we paraded around the parking lot, ashamed that the dress I was so excited to wear was suddenly so different. My ahma was there, and I didn’t want to acknowledge her.

“By the middle of elementary school, I looked less Asian and stopped speaking Chinese. This assimilation was noticed by my grandmother. Ahma pivoted to dote first on my sister and then my brother. She was short with me. To her, I was too white.”

Memo to Ms. Ho:

Yes, stereotypes exist. Among all races about all races, including their own. Yes, they are wrong. But you are conflating your (alleged) memories with the Atlanta shootings. You are wrong. But your story fits the left’s narrative and the facts of the Atlanta shootings do not.

Ho also reflected on her memories of her father.

“I think now about my father and his own rejection of Chinese culture. He was bullied as a child and still hurt by the “othering” he experienced living in rural Connecticut with parents who cooked and cleaned for other families.

“Being with my mom was his rebellion, his key to American acceptance. He doubled down by marrying her and raising his kids in Westchester.

“He didn’t want us to have childhoods like his. So there was no Chinese Sunday school, and we didn’t talk about his experiences with racism.”

My prior “memo,” above, Miss Ho? Ditto.

So things began to change for Shannon Ho, she said, or should we say she purposely changed them? “And as I got older, losing my Chinese culture felt normal, even beneficial.”

“I found comfort in whiteness, in my mom’s family, in the softness of my mother. My father’s family was colder, out of touch, uninterested. My favorite family member on that side, my ahyeh, was always in China. Who was I going to speak to when no one understood me or even bothered to try?”

Wait — so your white family members treated you better than your Asian family members? And that conflates how with your desire to “unlearn your whiteness”? Yep, you better get after unlearning that whiteness as soon as you can, Ms. Ho.

Meanwhile, back in school:

“In high school, if my race ever came up, which it seldom did, I told people the same thing: Yes, my father is Chinese and my mom is Irish, but I am white.

“Last year, some high school friends named our group chat “7 white girls, 1 Latina, 1 Asian, 1 redhead.” It happened when I wasn’t paying attention.

“I remember looking at my phone confused. Asian? I was being placed in a category that they never really talked to me about.”

Things got worse for Ho, she said, suggesting she felt trapped between two races.

“I was thrust into a foreign culture that wasn’t supposed to be so foreign. People gawked at me on the street for being white. I was tall and freckly and no longer could speak Chinese.

“I was, again, too white. In high school, if my race ever came up, which it seldom did, I told people the same thing: Yes, my father is Chinese and my mom is Irish, but I am white.”

“My friends so easily evaluated my identity. “To them, I was Asian,” Ho said. “But I’ve lived a white life. At least, it often feels like I have.”

Call me a stupid white conservative male but it sounds to me like Ms. Ho has been obsessed with race for most of her life. Anecdotally, I have several Asian friends, none of whom have shared similar feelings in all the years I’ve known them. Again, call me a stupid white guy.

Now Ho says she doesn’t “know how decisions about hiring me or accepting me are made.” “I don’t know what strangers see when I walk down the street,” she wrote. “I think about that now more than ever.”

“And in the aftermath of Atlanta, how do I reconcile my grief with this mostly white life I’ve lived? And why does my Asian side present itself only in times of pain, shame and neglect? What does that say about my identity?

“Clearly I’m still learning what it is to be biracial, an identity that I’ve only begun to try on.”

Ho went on to describe what “unlearning whiteness means.”

“And in the aftermath of Atlanta,” she asked, rhetorically, “How do I reconcile my grief with this mostly white life I’ve lived? And why does my Asian side present itself only in times of pain, shame, and neglect? What does that say about my identity?” It says zero about your identity;  other than the stigma you’re forcing on it.

Ho closed with this thought on what “unlearning whiteness means.”

“It means grieving the loss of six Asian women I didn’t know, who happened to exist in the wrong place at the wrong time, because, investigators say, some white man was angry and had “had a bad day.”

Final memo to Ms. Ho:

There are not only “people afflicted with whiteness” [sarc] grieving for those six Asian women, there are also Asian Americans also grieving for the two white lives lost in the horrific shootings. The difference between most of them and you — I’d bet — is their lack of obsession with race.

See: “dumb white conservative.”