It played out like countless controversies: offense is taken, racism is charged, social media is mobilized, capitulation is achieved. Only this one played out in China:
Dolce Gabbana has postponed a catwalk show in Shanghai after an outcry over racially offensive posts on its Instagram account that the fashion brand has claimed were written by hackers.
The controversy arose after the Italian fashion brand published a video on the Chinese social media site Weibo on Monday showing a Chinese model using chopsticks to try to eat a pizza, a cannoli and spaghetti.
Weibo users accused the label of trivialising China’s culture and depicting Chinese women in a racist way. The video was taken down within 24 hours but it had already been shared widely on social media, where the hashtag #BoycottDolce began to circulate.
The accusations of racism and racial stereotyping intensified after what appeared to be an Instagram direct message conversation between Stefano Gabbana and the fashion writer Michaela Phuong was shared by Diet Prada, an Instagram account known for criticising the fashion industry.
American Renaissance subtitled their excerpt of the story: “China’s social justice warriors are as thin-skinned as America’s” but, as their comments section immediately noted, no. Not at all.
These are social justice tactics, but the warriors are nationalists.
If there is a social justice warrior contingent in China worthy of the name they are indifferent to or approving of an offense given to Han Chinese–they would have been more likely to take offense on behalf of Italians.
Thin-skinned the offended are, but out of the excess pride of an ascendant and confident nation. I suspect they are not snowflakes, either. What’s relatively new here is their adoption of the social justice logic and tactics cultivated by our own anti-nationalists on the left. As long as social justice reigns in the West its adversaries will take advantage of it, and we can probably expect more, not less, of this.
It isn’t new; Russian (and other) “hackers” seek out the divisions created by diversity and exploit them:
Many of the tactics that Russia experiments with could (and likely will) be enacted on a much larger scale two years from now . Some of these strategies and maneuvers appear grounded in reality, while others seem speculative, but all have the same sinister goal of breaking the system—by cleaving our polity, distracting us with feuds large and small—by sowing discord through technology platforms and services.
“Having the U.S. at war with itself is giving Russia credit internationally,” explained Andrew Weiss, the vice president for research on Russia for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, noting that we as a country are more divided on almost every issue than at any other time in history. “[Russia is] not the creator of this problem, but they have exploited it. Just creating mistrust, and throwing a question mark over the legitimacy of our government, is a pretty big prize for Russia.”
Another distinction is made obsolete. The divide is between those who advocate on behalf of their own–whether via identity politics in the West or openly as ethnic nationalists–and those who don’t–white “social justice warriors”, who march shoulder-to-shoulder with these ethnic nationalists chanting the same slogans.
If I was China I’d look for ways to co-opt Asian activists and grievance in the West. Because, after all, there is no difference between the offense a Chinese patriot and an American-born Chinese take at such as the Dolce & Gabbana ad. The latter doesn’t even attempt any more to clad his ethnic pride in social justice scales: no, he’ll tell you he defends a proud, superior even, people and culture.
The legal and cultural structure set up by social justice is ready-made for the final looting of the American economic and cultural legacy, which seems to be well under way. China and other countries can be expected to merge with their minority US populations politically and culturally, as they are working hard to do now.
Global ethnic communities operating under cover of globalism is one very possible future. Cheerio.