Tue, May

Chamath Palihapitiya:  A Hard Ugly Truth


MARC'S ANGLE - So the Golden State Warriors billionaire decided to have a moment of honesty and say he doesn’t care about the Uyghur situation in China.

Overall, he is entitled to that point of view. However, let me go after his comments from a different angle. 

“Let’s be honest, nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs. You bring it up because you really care, and I think that’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care.

“I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, it is below my line.”

That was the exact quote that sent social media into collective woke outrage, eventually causing him to retract and apologize for his statement. He made a complete 180 and told the world he cares about human rights, citing his family’s Sri Lankan background after being so dismissive prior. 

First, he is technically wrong. Not everybody is as affluenza-ridden as he is. Many people around the world have ties to China or for those who don’t, are actively involved in human rights efforts. So many do care on some level, as evidenced by the extreme negative reaction. So that was presumptuous on Chamath’s part. 

I actually do applaud something about the vocal woke crowd. At least they do claim to care, no matter how shallow that caring may be. I’ll take that caring and lip service in a world where many are actually like Chamath: dismissive and detached. 

His arrogance in that statement is probably at the average baseline in those involved with professional sports, as they are essentially owned by the Chinese Communist Party. It is not surprising he is protecting his financial interests and that would be the knee jerk reaction. 

But a little too much truth and salt there? Now Virgin Galactic is distancing itself from him due to the comments. 

There’s a lot going on here and that’s what is fascinating about this whole debacle. The children of immigrants, mostly Asian, are so privileged, even more than white people now, that they can become billionaires and be above what their parents escaped and choose not to care. The woke mob may have humbled him here. 

Finally, can you chase money and wealth so much that it makes you this cold hearted person that can completely dismiss the suffering of a whole lot of people?

I actually applaud the Biden administration and Democrats for the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act passed just last month to ban imports from the region where slave labor and genocide are occurring. From a China standpoint, the Trump and Biden administrations are the first to hold China accountable for numerous human rights violations after previous ones like Obama and Bush administrations turned a blind eye. 

And people, anyone with empathy, don’t need to care on a 24/7 level about the Uyghurs but to be so callous and dismissive is not the way either.  I always say, it’s better to have ideals rooted in good than none at all. Hopefully Chamath learned that lesson and can be a future spokesperson for good and use his platform for greater good than just the NBA and getting richer than already he is. Even pretending to care would be nice. 

But his salty candor was a real insight into a growing societal condition of affluenza. And that honest moment should be one where we look into ourselves and ask if we are aware of our blessings and if we could use our lives to help those who aren’t so fortunate?

(Marc Ang ([email protected]) is a community organizer in Southern California and the founder of Asian Industry B2B. He is an Orange County based community organizer focused on advancing charitable and conservative causes. Marc’s book “Minority Retort” will be released in early 2022. )