It’s not a big deal. It just reveals the default bigotry Erickson was brought up with.

Erick Erickson, flaming wingnut, posted this amazingly revealing tweet this morning.

Growing up, I remember my parents never letting us have Asian food on December 7th. They were children of WWII.

So that’s how Republicans get made, boys and girls — by learning that nonsensical associations are truth. There are more Asians than just the Japanese, you know: the Chinese were our allies in that war. We were also at war with the Germans and the Italians…no word on whether the Erickson family also boycotted sausage and spaghetti. And, of course, the “Asian” food his family would have bought would have been grown and cooked by Americans.

It’s silly. With a name like his, his family should have refused instead to drink Guinness on the anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf (23 April 1014), like all of us good Scandinavian-Americans.

Erickson followed up with an accusation that we’re upset.

Leftists upset my parents wanted us to avoid Asian food on Pearl Harbor Day when we were growing up. Didn’t realize it was that big a deal

We’re not upset. We’re very appreciative of this insight into your poisonous upbringing, Erick! It helps us understand where you came from.

I am so sorry.


  1. says

    my parents wanted us to avoid Asian food on Pearl Harbor Day

    I don’t believe it.

    For one thing, the Chinese were (theoretically) friendly “asians” as were pretty much all of Asia except Japan. And Japanese wasn’t much of a “thing” in the US until the 80s. I doubt the 5 year-old Erickson’s parents explained things to him that way. I doubt anything like it happened at all.

  2. yazikus says

    This is what gets me, for every parent moaning about having to explain same sex marriage to kids (which kids totally don’t bat an eye at), here you have parents actually explaining something patently absurd to their children.
    Erick: Why can’t we have noodles, daddy?
    Dad: Well, noodles are Asian, and it is Pearl Harbor day.
    Erick: What is Asian?
    Dad: Bad people who want to hurt America, so we can’t eat noodles.
    Erick: Why are they bad?
    Dad: Because. Also, noodles.
    Is that how those conversations go???

  3. chinchillazilla says

    My grandfather hated anyone who drove a Japanese car. But he was a fighter pilot who once got shot down by a Japanese plane, and also he was a huge racist in all aspects of his life, so I don’t go around bragging about how much he hated the Japanese.

    But I’m not Erick Erickson. Thank goodness.

  4. raven says

    So Eric Erickson doesn’t know the difference between a Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Cambodian, or Korean?
    This is startling ignorance.

    They aren’t the same. In fact, most Asians, Koreans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Thai, and Chinese were occupied by the Japanese and fought against them. They were on our side.

    I don’t believe Erickson any way. Growing up in Georgia with ignorant parents, they probably had no idea “Asian” food even existed much less ate it.

  5. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I think I see a subtle reference to the movie A Christmas Story. [my favorite Xmas movie]
    (which, unfortunately, also exhibits a bit of racism)

  6. brucegee1962 says

    Well, my father was wounded in Europe in 1945, and he taught us to be tolerant of everyone and to try to forgive our enemies (one of the better parts of the Christian doctrine, IMO). He also taught us that we shouldn’t treat people differently based on their national origin or for any other external reason. I guess there was some other Bible that talked about how you should pass on grudges from generation to generation that they used in the Erickson family.

  7. gmacs says

    I’m not sure which racism is worse:

    The overt racism of a lingering grudge against an entire nation (and extended bigotry toward a diverse continent), or…

    The implied racism with the emphasis on Pearl Harbor instead of, say, Nanking. It implies that an American (White) civilian’s life is worth more than 10 times the life of a Chinese person.

    Oh, and let’s not forget the many other massacres carried out by nationalists (including the Allies) durning WWII. “Area bombings”, the Philippines, the massacre of Slavs, the taking of Berlin, the Holocaust…

  8. petesh says

    You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It’s got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught!

    Oscar Hammerstein, 1949. He and Richard Rodgers were asked to remove the song from their show South Pacific and they flatly refused, saying this was the whole reason they took on the project.

  9. says

    Leftists upset my parents wanted us to avoid Asian food on Pearl Harbor Day when we were growing up. Didn’t realize it was that big a deal

    Hmmm…. Didn’t realize your family’s peculiar eating habits was a big enough deal to tweet about, either.

  10. kome says

    From the man who thought shooting up a copy of the New York Times because it ran an editorial he disagrees constitutes an appropriate and mature response (one that also shows how sane and responsible gun owners are, too!), this is not much of a surprise.

  11. Terska says

    My dad had lead and shrapnel in his legs from a Japanese fighter plane. The scars were remarkable. For some reason it was never removed. Maybe they couldn’t do the surgery on a ship. He last car was a Lexus.

  12. M. L. says

    I would think a child of WWII would understand the difference between the Japanese and other Asians. Like Hank Hill’s dad from King of the Hill.

  13. blf says

    I ate some “Asian” food in Eric’s honor.

    Does Thai count? I’m eating — slurp! — a Thai-inspired spicy beef and noodles concoction I threw together — slurp! — to celebrate this loony’s idiocy. Burp.

  14. blf says

    @21: Ah, yes, Whatever cuisine! Mostly from the Whereever Islands, noted for the Whenever seasonal delicacies, such as Whoever Stirred However, and the Ever Extra Spices.

  15. rietpluim says

    Didn’t realize it was that big a deal

    Says the guy who brought it up in the first place.

  16. jrkrideau says

    Other than a fruitcake with a twitter account and a phone with a camera, who is this Erick Erickson?

  17. Harry Tuttle says

    I can believe it (not that I do). My grandfather was a WWII vet and he absolutely freaked out when I dated a young lady of Chinese heritage when I was a teenager. Racist ranting about how he didn’t fight a war so I could, to paraphrase, ‘sleep with the enemy’. The kicker wasn’t so much that Ms. Lin was of Chinese descent not Japanese (third generation American at that) but that the only people who ever shot at my grandfather were Germans and he didn’t have any issue whatsoever when I dated a blue-eyed, redhead with the surname Richter whose parents were so fresh off the boat they barely spoke English.

  18. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    raven @6,

    And most (all?) of the peoples you mentioned all suffered far more and far longer than USAians.

  19. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Also I just celebrated with one of the greatest Asian contributions to civilization.

    Mmm, beer.

  20. says

    When the Japanese took Singapore they did so by storming their way through the Malay Peninsula. Allied forces fought heroic actions against them. Malaysia has Commonwealth War Grave sites all along the peninsula. Most of the names on the graves are Asian and all of them have large sections where Muslim servicemen are buried. My father served in the RAAF during WW2. several of his missions were to drop supplies to Sparrow Force, an Australian guerrilla force harassing the Japanese on Timor. It was made up of soldiers cut off from evacuation when the Japanese invaded. They could not have survived without the support of local villagers. These are the real associations, not refusing to eat sushi on Dec 7 because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. I just remembered the thousands of Japanese Americans sent to prison camps during the war. Many of them were later able to join the US army and fought with courage and distinction. Lest We Forget.

  21. says

    Before we assign all the blame to Erickson’s parents, lets take into account this guy hasn’t been in the same grid square as the truth since the first Reagan administration (and possibly not even then). I suspect this anecdote was sourced from rectal deflate like 99.999% of the rest of his tripe.

  22. Rey Fox says

    Leftists are “upset” at him, like they were in “meltdown” after his newspaper shooting (pencil-stabbing?). Eric, buddy. We’re laughing at you. I get that humor would be a difficult concept for someone who shoots inanimate objects that displease him, but try to get some recognition of it.

  23. M'thew says

    He shot a copy of a newspaper because he didn’t like the contents? Whose idea was it to let a 4 year old handle a gun?

  24. Bob Foster says

    That’s exactly the way my parents felt about eating brains. On the anniversary of the Great Zombie Attack they refused to serve us brains. I still have an aversion to them.

  25. says

    Assuming the first tweet wasn’t just intending to be a racist dog whistle to show his fealty to the tribe and give him something to faux martyr about (oh those mean lefties, criticizing my parents’ eating habits, how intolerant), which is a big assumption…

    Then that second tweet is entirely emblematic of the entire issue of these systems of systemic racism and bigotry. The parents’ generation and culture dumps all this toxic baggage on us and for the more conservative among us, we never actually check any of it and actively resist checking on any of it, reacting negatively when people point out how messed up it all is.

    Not eating Asian food because vague justification based on stretched definition of grievance, becomes just a normal thing that feels normal to talk about and treat as if it was a normal okay thing to keep doing and not massively revelatory of the exact toxic attitudes that led us to locking up huge numbers of American citizens in camps during that era.

    It’s privilege and societal racism in a nutshell and that slightly aggrieved response to finding out about the toxicity is revelatory of the common privileged response to hearing about systems of oppression one participated in. But but, when I was a kid this was fine and if I acknowledge this as being as messed up as it is, I might have to taint my sunny idea of what my childhood was like and I might have to change some of my behavior today. And well, as a privileged member of society, I’m not really under any real social pressure to do so until things get to the breaking point and that magical 50% tipping point is reached and suddenly it looks archaic to back these regressive things.

    It also explains a lot of the conservative backlash to social change. They are so used to hitting the snooze alarm on being a decent person that they are genuinely dismayed when they realize that everyone is looking at them like a time traveler from the 18th century.

  26. says

    Like the first commentator said he’s lying. According to his bio he was born in 1975. 30 years after the end of WWII and 34 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He could not possibly remember anything like this until he was 5 or 6 — 39 or 40 years after the attack.

    Further I doubt if his parents were of the WWII generation. They would both have had to be around 50 or older when he was born if that was the case.

    So he is just a liar.

  27. mickll says

    @ Marcus Ranum

    For one thing, the Chinese were (theoretically) friendly “asians” as were pretty much all of Asia except Japan. And Japanese wasn’t much of a “thing” in the US until the 80s. I doubt the 5 year-old Erickson’s parents explained things to him that way. I doubt anything like it happened at all

    Really no, I had a grandmother that was insanely racist towards Japanese people and she extended that racism to anyone of a vaguely “asiatic” appearance and culture. She hated the Vietnamese, the Chinese, the Thais and the Koreans and if you brought up the fact that none of these people were responsible for WWII Japan she’d thunder at you that the “Japs” had done terrible things. Point is, we had no Japanese people living nearby but members of all those other communities triggered racist outbursts because-well, they all looked the same to Gran.

    You’re assuming nuance where there isn’t any. Racism doesn’t work that way.

  28. thecalmone says

    As other commenters have pointed out, anti-Japanese prejudice was common after WW2, particularly in countries such as Australia. My father hated the Japanese and anything associated with them, although he had fought in North Africa and Italy, not in Asia, the Pacific or New Guinea as many of his friends had. One of his close friends had been a POW in Changi.

    As a result he despised Japanese consumer goods and we had a succession of British rubbish in our garage, including an evil, vindictive, primrose yellow Jaguar XJ6. He liked German cameras though.

    He was a bitter, depressed, over protective agoraphobe. As his children we largely escaped his prejudices, but have all struggled with agoraphobia and depression, as I understand is common amongst children of veterans.

  29. sugarfrosted says

    We were also at war with the Germans and the Italians…no word on whether the Erickson family also boycotted sausage and spaghetti.

    You’re off base here, this would be like not having Irish, Polish, Russian, French, or English food because we were at War with the Germans and Italians.

  30. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    on Gawker, they tried talking to Erickshit’s parents. His mum is all Do u believe in Jesus? God bless you. We never said that. We don’t know who told you he said that, maybe check your source. God bless you. Jesus saves [paraphrased]
    His father’s phone number (office #) has already blocked the Gawker phone#, so remains incommunicado.
    all the Jesus getting thrown around puts this atheist into the “she’s lying ” camp; that she and daddy were both explicit racists who taught their boy to be racist. [but that’s my bigotry showing, excuse me]

  31. says

    Same story as a number of other commenters. My mother and her parents were held in Japanese prison camps in the Dutch East Indies. As a result, my grandparents especially, but also my mother to a lesser degree, eschewed and still eschew Japanese products. Especially cars, and other goods manufactured by companies that made planes and weaponry in the war, like Mitsubishi.
    But it must have worn off, since my grandparents owned a Sony VCR and my mother owns Japanese electronics as well.

    Anyway, it is not uncommon to find this kind of resentment towards anything Japanese in former East-Indian circles. But they do know the difference and usually target just the Japanese. Being from that part of the world, or having been there (let’s talk about colonialism some other time) probably helps. It’s hard to use a broad brush up close.

    A good read on the subject is probably Rudy Kousbroek’s The East Indian Camp Syndrome; although I haven’t read it, I have read other works by him on the subject, especially how he came to terms with having been interned in a Japanese prison camp during the war and his resulting resentment of anything Japanese, finally letting go of that when meeting a Japanese war veteran.