Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Elaine Chao smackdown

Elaine Chao is perhaps my least favorite Asian American of the Republican persuasion, next to Michelle Malkin. Chao's whole personification of the model minority dream and her Stepford wife persona drive me crazy. Plus she's working in the least competent presidential administration since, well, ever.

So why does it not surprise me that she has some, shall we say, tone deaf PR skills? Chao does an interview with Parade magazine, which gets distributed across the country to millions of suburban households with the Sunday paper. This is the type of stuff that suburban housewives eat up, and that families read around the dining table on Sunday mornings. Parade is apolitical, feel-good pablum, not known for asking hard questions. In fact, it probably hews more to the "put a yellow sticker on your SUV to show your support for the war" model of patriotism. In fact, they tend to spoonfeed interviewees. What does she do? Foot in mouth faster than you can say Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab.)

Here's the whole story with money quote in bold:
You could lose your job to a foreign worker—not because he’s cheaper but because he has better workplace skills and discipline. That’s the message Labor Secretary Elaine Chao hears from U.S. executives who are worried about America’s competitive future. While losses are low thus far—one study estimates that only 280,000 jobs in the service industry out of 115 million are outsourced each year—that could change. Beyond the cheaper cost of labor, U.S. employers say that many workers abroad simply have a better attitude toward work. “American employees must be punctual, dress appropriately and have good personal hygiene,” says Chao. “They need anger-management and conflict-resolution skills, and they have to be able to accept direction. Too many young people bristle when a supervisor asks them to do something.”

As for our job future, Chao notes that most of the fastest-growing jobs today are in industries requiring advanced knowledge and skills and are “very high or high wage.” But critics say we’re not doing enough for those without a higher education. “Today, only 30% of the workforce has four years of college,” says Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute. “Instead of factory slots, there are slots for security guards and food-prep workers.”

Learn what jobs are hot and how you can get retrained in the changing economy.

Calculate how your salary compares to those of others in your profession.

Tell us your ideas on how to get young people in the U.S. better prepared for the workplace.
So yeah, in a short story not longer than a half page, Chao's death knell to the American economy dominates the whole fucking thing. Plus, way to give ammunition to the xenophobes who already hate those "furriners" and who think that all immigrants are here to steal their jobs, especially the brown and yellow ones. Nice two-for-one. Advance yourself as the model minority and increase hatred of better mannered, almost robotic, unquestioning yes men from abroad.

What was the response like?

Here are two of the first three comments I saw:
"The author has done a great service to all American citizens by allowing them to see Elaine Chao - a public official who supposedly represents the advocate for American workers in Washington. In my opinion Elaine Chao should take the nearest Greyhound bus to Canada or Mexico. She clearly does not represent the interest of the majority of US citizens, much less the US labor force. I'm not sure how good her hygiene is, but I have suffered many a day with IT guys from other countries and their smelly food and overt body odors. Chao should get her facts straight before she starts spouting off. Resign Elaine for the good of America. Taiwan would welcome you back with open arms. Oh - and take Mitch McConnell with you. lol"

Real gratitude
By jaamc on 7/24/2007 10:34:AM

Let's review her history. Her rich family flees China when it goes communist. Nice that there was a USA to flee to, with nice people to let her in. Then, once she's here, she shows preference to mainland chinese workers (her oppressors) over the children of the people who gave her a place to flee to nice - the modern immigrant - 'what can I TAKE?'

Just to be fair here is her response, abbreviated as: Parade edited the interview. Not all my words were included.

NO FUCKING SHIT! Media 101 teaches you that you're definitely going to be edited, and not necessarily in the most flattering light.

Here's what she (or really her press flack) wrote:
"It is important that first time entrants to our workforce be aware that technical skills, degrees and a tight job market will aid their success but basic professionalism is also essential to advance and contribute in the workplace. These fundamentals – including punctuality and appropriate workplace decorum – will affect their future.

America’s economy is strong because America’s workforce is among the most innovative and productive in the world. As I’ve said many times before – America is a beacon of hope and opportunity throughout the world and we shouldn’t fear the worldwide economy. America’s greatest strengths lie in our democratic institutions, respect for the rule of law, transparency, accountability, and the most creative and compassionate workforce in the world. These unique qualities comprise our country’s strongest competitive advantage."

So essentially, Parade wrote exactly what you said, and given a chance for apology, you, like all the arrogant conceited people in the Bush administration (Gonzales chief amongst them) didn't apologize but repeated your message stubbornly.

Basically, in an administration not known for scaling the intellectual heights of competency, Elaine Chao towers like a Lilliputian. Thank goodness she's only in charge of creating jobs, as opposed to something as important as the war. Except that she can't even do that, or manage to broadcast job "creation" numbers accurately.

(Oh yeah, it feels good to be back. *muah*)

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