The Perspective of the HelplessMorris van de Camp
Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the New York City Hyperghetto
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2015
Since coming to write for Counter-Currents I’ve deliberately chosen to read, and if possible, review books by people very different from myself. Indeed, I make an effort to read and write about those whose ideologies are not Right-wing and those who are not white. Much of this involves looking at establishment or neoconservative figures like Madeline Albright or Max Boot. It is easy to grasp the mentality of such people: they are Jews who want Americans to fight for Jewish interests. And to be perfectly frank, many of the ideas of Minister Louis Farrakhan, who I’ve also reviewed, are attractive to me.
In Unsettled, I got a glimpse into a mentality wholly alien from anything I’ve ever read before. In whites, there is a drive and striving. Each philosopher seeks to top the others in ideas. Every white laborer and businessman seeks to maximize their earnings. White politicians have grand improvement schemes, and white doctors seek new medical treatments. In contrast, the Cambodians described in this book are simply helpless. They are swept along by events they cannot comprehend, and you, the white taxpayer, have paid for every bite they’ve eaten since the 1980s, as well as every night spent under a roof of their dismal lodgings in the hyperghetto.
The hyperghetto and the Cambodians
Unsettled is probably the only work which looks at the Cambodian refugee community from the perspective of an Oriental. Most other scholarship involving this group is the sickly-sweet syrup of the white Christian missionary or liberal type who is ideologically driven and semi-honest, at best. (Refugees are “vibrant!”) Pro-white immigration reformers look at them, also, but that scholarship tends to put the Cambodians and their problems in the same bucket as all other Third World immigrants and refugees. Their focus is elsewhere.
Eric Tang, the community organizer and professor who wrote this book, uses the buzzwords of the non-white/snowflake view of the world. American whites commit “violences” (sic) against “people of color,” and there is also “racialization and gendering” of the Cambodian refugees. There’s all the shibboleths that were used in President Obama’s weepy second-term town hall meetings.
One of the buzzwords used is “hyperghetto,” a term coined by sociologist Loïc Wacquant. The characteristics of the hyperghetto are intractable social problems and an unemployable population which is isolated from larger society. Hyperghettos arise, possibly, as a deliberate policy on the part of white American social engineers following the black rebellion that followed the “civil rights” movement. Tang writes, “In particular, the hyperghetto has functioned as a site of captivity for a decidedly post-Civil Rights and, more significantly, postinsurrectionist Black subproletariat” (p. 10).
The Cambodian refugees ended up in the hyperghetto due to the fact that they were at the intersection of several forces. The most important is the fact that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. During this period, Cambodian society fell apart, and some twenty-one percent of the population (1.7 million people) died. The resulting catastrophe led to a refugee crisis at a time when the American public was sympathetic to refugees, especially those from Southeast Asia. Americans needed some sort of morally virtuous move to help ease the guilt many of them felt over the Vietnam War, and “saving” the Cambodians, Hmong, and Laotians fit the bill.
The era of the Khmer Rouge itself deserves further analysis. This social catastrophe, often called “The Killing Fields,” was the logical endpoint of two different socio-ideological threads that intersected in Cambodia. The first was the Leftism which grew out of the French Revolution, and the second was the great tragedy of Third World people ruling themselves.
As for the first, Pol Pot lived in France from 1949 until 1953, where he was deeply influenced by the French Communist Party. Pol Pot’s revolution was Communist, and it followed the pattern of the French and Communist revolutions to a degree. There was a Terror, a Thermidor, a Directory, and an eventual return to semi-order via military means. The details are a bit different, however. The Terror in Cambodia was not executed with the guillotine and bayonet, but through a poorly-run back-to-the-land scheme. Thermidor took place during Pol Pot’s final days, and the restoration of semi-order came about as the result of a Vietnamese invasion. All Jacobin Leftist movements end in blood and tears when applied in the real world.
As for the second part, Cambodia was still a medieval society, with villages that were barely ouf of the Stone Age. It had had centuries of autocratic rule, and no middle class. Cambodia was a low-trust, mid-range IQ society. When the French took over in the mid-nineteenth century, Cambodia had been in decline for centuries. The population had shrunk to around a million, and there was concern on the part of the Cambodian intellectual elite that they would go extinct. This created a vicious social paranoia which persisted even after it was no longer necessary. On a personal level, Cambodians tend to flee interpersonal problems; in the workplace, a Cambodian will resign without saying why rather than argue about an issue. In Cambodian interpersonal relations, one either accommodates, flees, or kills. There is no dissent or tolerance.
In terms of religion, Cambodia is Theravada Buddhist. This sect of Buddhism “is intensely introspective. The goal is not to improve society or redeem one’s fellow men; it is self-cultivation, in the nihilistic sense of the demolition of the individual.” This worldview lends itself to doing away with worldly possessions. The Khmer Rouge thus viewed and applied Communism through the lens of Theravada Buddhism. As a result, when they ordered the population of Phnom Penh – then roughly the size of Chicago – to move out of the city into a classless, cashless system of collective farms, the people left their houses and started walking into the jungle. Cambodian minds were pre-programmed to accept Theravada Buddhist-style policies.
Towards the end of the Vietnam War, the Americans bombed the eastern fringes of Cambodia, into which North Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Trail stretched. This helped to destabilize Cambodia to the point that the Khmer Rouge could take over. Some have thus blamed America for the Khmer Rouge disaster, which is unfair. In fact, Cambodian society was already quite brutal even before their takeover. “Every atrocity the Khmers Rouges ever committed,” Philip Short has written, “and many they did not, can be found depicted on the stone friezes of Angkor.” (Angkor Wat is nine hundred years old.) To further emphasize Cambodia’s brutality, he points out that when Pol Pot was still in France, it was common for boys to find severed heads in the rivers and waterways of Cambodia. With this in mind, the words of Cambodia’s gloomy national anthem during the Khmer Rouge period take on a dark, prophetic meaning:
The bright scarlet blood
Flooded over the towns and plains of our motherland Kampuchea,
The blood of our great workers and farmers,
Our revolutionary fighters’ blood, both men and women.
The non-white community organizer: an outsider & swindler, but sometimes a truth-teller
After explaining how the refugees ended up in the hyperghetto in the first place, the book follows the life of a Cambodian refugee woman named Ra, who was forced to marry Heng by the Khmer Rouge. As Cambodia choked on blood, Ra and her family fled to Thailand, and eventually made it to New York. Ra found none of the American Dream’s glitter, however. Instead, “she was merely being transferred from one state of captivity to the next” (p. 49). Ra ended up battling the welfare office (largely as a result of the Clinton administration’s welfare reforms) and working low-end jobs, when she worked at all. Eventually, social services took some of her kids, and she ended up divorcing.
Eric Tang‘s perspective in this book is so far outside the American mainstream that he views the Obama administration as having been heartless towards refugees, while many on the Right viewed that era as a deliberate policy of race replacement. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of truth in this book. Tang argues that housing the refugees in the New York City hyperghetto brought an end to the arson epidemic that followed the black insurrection. Properties in New York City’s Africanized places following the “civil rights” movement had become huge burdens for their owners. When the Cambodians arrived, the landlords began receiving rent payments directly from the government. The landlords didn’t fix anything, the Cambodians didn’t complain, and the properties became solvent. Indeed, Ron Unz has argued that immigration has been used to move blacks prone to crime out of valuable real estate areas. But unfortunately for white interests, it is merely taking one type of poison to flush out another.
Tang goes on to argue that the Vietnam War was underpinned with liberal motives. This is certainly one truth in a complex war that had many truths; the war’s architects, presidents Kennedy and Johnson, were both very liberal. Tang also views Clinton’s welfare reforms as punitive. Again, he is right about this, although it is difficult to be sympathetic toward people who draw welfare and live in subsidized housing in the economically prosperous “city that never seeps.” Additionally, Tang uses the refugee experience to show that rights do not exist independently of the state’s authority. Stateless people have no rights, and if one’s state has gone insane . . .
Nowhere, however, does Eric Tang examine the white perspective. The Southeast Asian refugee community of Hmong, Cambodians, and Laotians were a disaster for America. Developing a “hyperghetto” to contain black insurrectionary violence was not irrational, and hostility towards refugees is a reasonable response based on the evidence; generous welfare payments to the unemployable, while they are living on valuable land, is bound to create resentments.
Ultimately, books such as this one, as well as the craft of the non-white community organizer tradesman in general, are part of a big swindle. All non-white community organizers run a paradoxical scam: They seek to have as much access to whiteness and white civilization as possible while decrying white people and “structural racism” in a white society. Their entire business is one of emotional blackmail, where a white social worker is beset with an ever-shifting set of demands and grievances. In all this, nobody bothers to ask why the Cambodians don’t simply leave the hyperghetto, go home, and seek to make Cambodia into a better place. Of course, the answer is that Cambodians won’t ever be able to make Cambodia great again. Whites, however, can create a white ethnostate that is a better place. With such a listless population believing themselves to be captives in a foreign, frigid land, why not just send them back to Cambodia?
 Philip Short, Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare (New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2004), p. 150.
To be perfectly frank; I have no beef with Cambodians or any other East Asians really. It is clear, based upon this article, that most of these Cambodian refugees are simply a mismatch for American society; pure and simple. It’s quite tragic really.
I don’t think the author has a beef either, but many rightist tend to have incredibly naive views regarding east Asians. They play the same racial game the blacks do they just don’t have the same crime rates.
Interesting point. I’ve found them rather easy to get along with and, since they’ve been pretty nice to me, I make my comment based upon that. I’ve dealt a little with Vietnamese and Koreans. Koreans definitely adapt better than lots of Southeast Asians. As for Cambodians, like I said, this place is a mismatch for them.
Concerning Koreans, Morris V. Dr Camp wrote on them another good article on them.
I had positive experiences with East Asians at home, but when interacting with the majority in their home countries it is different. I’ve just seen a lot of hypocrisy from Chinese and Koreans in particular. They have very deep anti-foreigner sentiments yet they are always trying to immigrate and view it as okay when they do take advantage. And not just in European countries, Japan has dealt with similar problems. It is similar in south east Asian countries. People like Eric Tang represent the norm. Many of these people have some zog interpreted version of Westerner’s history and they leverage words like “racism” to get what they want.
People like that New York Times editor, Sarah Jeung I believe, are the norm in the sense many Asians try to use anti-white rhetoric and politics to excel their own groups agenda, but you will never hear them using this rhetoric in regard to their own group’s “racism”.
Thanks for the links good sir! Yeah, I have never been in their countries, but the handful of East Asians and Vietnamese I’ve known have been pretty good folks. I’ve never dated any of their girls or gotten too deep into their families and affairs. I’ve known mostly 1st and 2nd generation guys, who grew up similar to how middle and lower middle class white boys did in the 90s. One even told me once that he never felt uncomfortable or even ‘odd an out’ in a room full of white people. Said he never received negative feedback from whites. That’s not surprising, most whites are pretty easy to get along with, and he was never obnoxious; it’s behavior that goes a long way. Other newcomers seem to not understand that. Thanks for you input.
Distinguish East Asians and South East Asians.
While I have no particular urge to demean any of these races I will say they do not all stand equally.
Comparing one to the other is like comparing Romanians to Germans.I know such inter-European comparisons are frowned on in these such circles, but they exist non-the less.
Yes, east Asians and southeast Asians are two very distinct groups. Southeast Asians don’t seem to produce the same level of civilization as China, Korea, or Japan.
But my point was simply both east Asians and southeast Asians play the same racial game as other nonwhites. They are not allies of whites and most of them simply look to take advantage and steal what’s left of whites’ pie. Many of them also harbor deep resentment towards in general. It is not just a mismatch; there is hostility. The Japanese are the only group out of the bunch that do not behave in such ways (as far as I know).
My experiences with East Asians (and Asians in general) lead me to think we can coexist effectively with them. Western man eats himself, and that may generate in them a contempt that would not exist otherwise.
However, it may be so that the Opium Wars and Commodore Perry’s black fleet are etched in their racial memory and they will always seek their satisfaction. Time will tell.
It is not that I don’t think we can get a long in the future, but the way things are now a lot of them act like other ant-white groups. There are genuine nationalists and I would say more sympathetic Asians than other groups, but it is not the majority.
Australians and Canadians have suffered from large-scale Asian immigration. Many Australian and Canadian nationalists have experienced a lot of the frustrations and problems I experienced.
I always felt that they didn’t suffer much by us. The Opium Wars were pretty tame with it’s main goal being trade. They did a good job of containing things. They may be resentful that they are not the superpower, or that there are a lot of WM/AW pairings. It has much more to do with pride than any terrible crimes we might have committed.
I am familiar with Chinese people and I think that they are curiously individualistic and simultaneously tribal. They work as small families, their fertility and family sizes are on par with whites, and they are a natural fit for middle-class life. They are either highly consumerist, or absolutely cheap. The main difference to me is simply their lack of trust. They may fit in some ways, but high-trust societies they do not make. My father once remarked that China does better than Liberal Democracies for it’s ‘meritocracy’. Oh, how wrong he was… It is very much ‘who you know’.
The children of their upper-bourgeoisie come to our large cities in droves, and they are very much on par with our own young sightseers visiting Asian countries (though admittedly with an absence of the degenerate behaviour), in that there are a lot of them and they tend to keep to themselves. I am not sure if there is hostility as much as some sort of civilisational rivalry. For instance, the tour guide business is run by locally born Chinese people who have retained their family connections and language. Both new and old hold closely to their own culture. Oh yes and they don’t like other coloured people much. With Chinese people it is just business – nothing personal. Their part in racial displacement is merely an opportunity for them and they would not hold it against us if we prevented that. I think they are mercantilists (as is historically said) and they dislike things like Trumpism or Brexit only because of their belief in free trade which is less to do with the will to dominate in the minds of individual disaporic Chinese. They are above petit historical grievances unless they are exposed to SJW culture (and then only their young females).
Romanians and Germans are two different people not races.
As a Romanian I wish my people to learn as much and as fast as posible from the Germans, and from others too.
Not that I have any inferiority complex, cultural, racial or otherwise. It is just admiration and respect. And this is why wise men brought German kings and now we have a German president.
But there are cultural differences that work against Romanians and which have to be surpassed. Greek ortodoxy and ruso-jewish communism left a sinister imprint.
I have a hard time disparaging Romanians when I think of the magnificent achievements of The Iron Guard and it’s heroic leader.
Those were true Romanians. But it is incredible what fifty years of brainwashing can do to a people and they did it scientifically.
The deprogramming has to start somewhere. If a picture makes one thousand words a living example cuts a long way.
I will qualify my comment and say that this is a case where culture is perhaps the more important variable. It is without doubt that Romania was not treated well by history or circumstance, and the legacy from the rule of the turk still weighs heavy over so much of Southern Europe.
That is a good article.
I disagree on two points, though.
That the Khmer Rouge Angkar (IIRC that was term they used for the central commitee) viewed reality through Therevada lenses, well, they did
not, most had been educated in Paris, and I have read contemporary quotes stating that they were more influenced by nihilism than anything else. They certainly had little connection to the CPF, rather to Trotsky and other splinter groups.
The other point where you are wrong, if the U.S.A. had not staged its ‘secret’ incursions, and massive bombing (you may like to read and recall the tonnage of bombs) there, the Khmer Rouge would have remained a group of isolated upper-class people in the jungle. People would have felt sorry for them and fed them at times. It would have stopped at that.
Vanishingly few would have sided with them, were it not for the U.S. incursions and U.S. bombings.
They would have never have gained a mass following strong enough to take the place without those factors.
But the US bombings were in response for the North Viets running the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Cambodia, in violation of their neutrality. It’s not like the US was bombing Cambodia for fun, and the area of Cambodia that got the heaviest bombing was pretty sparsely populated at the time (although not all of it), which is why the VC ran their supply lines through there. In addition, the Khmer Rouge were strongest in the Southern and Southwestern part of Cambodia, not the area of the bombing, and the major factor that led to the growth of the Khmer Rouge among the peasantry was the support given to them by the buffoonish Prince Sihanouk. In fact many ignorant young Cambodians fighting for the Khmer Rouge actually believed that they were fighting for thier rightful king! Efforts to blame the US for the Khmer Rouge are pretty unconvincing.
You’re dead right about Theraveda Buddhism not being an influence on the Khmer Rough.
Good point about Sihanouk.
It seems he was spending the whole time as a pawn in Peking. They put him back on the board, later.
I think you inaccurately characterize the Khmer Rouge in terms of place, while, in the stage of the rump K.R., kept alive by the U.S.A., P.R.C., and, more quietly, Thailand, their strongholds were close to the Thai border (S and S.E.), partly because they were able to retain some popularity there, the early activity was in the west, and entry to Phnom Phen was from the north.
Since the people in those (southern) regions had not experienced the worst of them, that was where they were continuing longest after they had become just a cold war tool, indeed, having made a good impression on many.
Also correct on the influence of French Trot and other breakaway ‘socialist’ groups. It seems that like other fashionable elements in Paris at the time, the KR viewed the CPF as both insufficiently radical in its methods – and overly attached to the socially conservative working class – to be useful in bringing about the revolution.
Other comments here touch on the question of whether refugees are actually better off in Western ghettos than they might be if they returned home. I think this is a very pertinent question and one globalists would rather not address.
For all the talk about compassion and hysterics on the evils of borders, there is a good case to be made that settling refugees in Western countries – after the immediate threat to their safety has passed – is highly immoral.
It can be seen that it doesn’t always (or even mostly?) provide a better way of life for the refugees themselves. It ignores the plight of the most needy in distressed countries, who for family, health or financial reasons can’t just move around the world like the (usually) younger, fitter, wealthier refugees can. It deprives countries recovering from war or trouble of valuable skills that could be used in the recovery effort. It penalises destination countries without any consequence for the regimes which drive refugee movements.
The bankruptcy of the current system for dealing with displaced people is clear, but globalists continue to support it for reasons of economic growth, or for the warm and fuzzies that come from being ‘compassionate’.
A good article on the moral confusion surrounding the 1951 refugee convention:
An important distinction – whites did not “create” the “hyperghetto” to contain the black insurrection – the “black insurrection” (a typical leftist euphemism for black criminality and dysfunction) created the hyperghetto all by itself; in fact, creates a hyperghetto wherever they are left to their own devices. What is much of Africa but one huge hyperghetto? Also, Tang trying to shift the blame for Pol Pot’s insane regime onto Cambodian history is nonsense; yeah, there are bloody periods in Cambodia’s history, as in any country, but nothing, and I mean nothing, like the Khmer Rouge era. As always, the Left (especially Communism) is never to blame…
” In all this, nobody bothers to ask why the Cambodians don’t simply leave the hyperghetto, go home, and seek to make Cambodia into a better place”
Exactly, Every concerned, honourable White person, whether “racist” or “anti-racist”, should give this advice to the Third-worlders subsisting on various forms of welfare (including workfare) in our countries, that they should simply leave, go home, and seek to make their own countries a better place.
Cambodians in NYC? Living in black ghettos? How many are we talking about? Five? I smell a rat. The review says they’re slight, invisible people, but still, if there was a Cambodian “community” here, I would know about it: “I cover the waterfront.”
The book, Background to Betrayal, written in 1965 by an non-leftist Old Asian Hand, details the liberal motivations behind the US intervention in Vietnam. The aim was to modernize Vietnam through a non-Marxist social democratic revolution and elimination of the old elites.
Don’t want to shock, but not the Turks constituted the biggest problem. They were defeated many times. Can check right here on CC the article about Michael the Brave (very informative).
The problem was the fanariot greeks imposed by the Turks. Orthodox greeks from the Fanar neighbourhood of Constantinople. They brought a culture of the most vile corruption, hedonism, and sadism for one hundred years.
The fanariot rule in the eighteen century and the jewish-russian-communist rule in the twentieth century were the most destructive for the Romanian people.
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