Sakr really went the whole hog in his column. Some excerpts:
Of course Cho was polite in her emails; if people of colour weren't polite every time we're confronted with problematic behaviour by powerful white people, we'd be rioting every hour of every day.
...There is absolutely nothing surprising about Cho's emails or her account on the podcast; both will be familiar to anyone from marginalised backgrounds or who faces systemic discrimination.
...Plenty of people have come to Swinton's defence with variations of the line, look how genuine she is, isn't this what we want to see?...Personally, I think a privileged person approaching a member of the underprivileged, whom they don't even personally know, to say "please explain to me how I've participated in your oppression" isn't something to champion...the whole thing reeks of white guilt seeking to be absolved.
...Having plenty to say despite openly admitting you haven't read anything on the subject surely sums up the white condition in 2016 (see: Trump) - in addition to expecting random people to educate you. This, perhaps more than anything, is the most aggravating part of the exchange. The articles, essays, books, and speeches written by people of colour already exist, and the arguments have been made a thousand times. Breezily saying you haven't bothered with any of it is the epitome of privilege.
There's a lot more of the same. The gist of it is the idea that Asian women like Margaret Cho are oppressed by white women like Tilda Swinton and that the role of Tilda Swinton is to educate herself about what an oppressor she is, to admit fault, and to let Margaret Cho have what she wants (and then to get out of the way).
The irony of these "privilege" claims is that it is often the most privileged people in society who claim to be horribly oppressed. Margaret Cho works as an actress, a comedian and an author. She has a national (perhaps even international) audience for her political views. She doesn't stand out as an underprivileged person.
Nor do Asian American women in general. Consider the issue of income. Asian women earn a much higher median income than do white American women (to the point that Indian-American women earn more than white American men).
The following charts come from the United States Department of Labor (2013). The first one shows a comparison of earnings according to ethnicity. You can see that white Americans earn only 67% as much as Indian-Americans. To put that in context, black Americans earn 80% as much as white Americans and that is considered to be evidence for the oppression of black Americans. So you would think that white Americans earning only 67% as much as Indian Americans would be evidence for the oppression of whites. But instead it is the Indian Americans who get to be thought of as oppressed, with whites as the oppressors.
The second chart includes data based on sex as well as ethnicity:
The information here is striking. White males are told over and over that they are privileged both in terms of race and sex. And yet when it comes to median earnings they do less well than Indian women and only marginally better than Chinese women.
And Margaret Cho belongs to a group (Korean women) which clearly earns more money than the group Tilda Swinton belongs to (white women - though she is British rather than American).
Maybe it is time for Asian women like Margaret Cho to stop pretending that they belong to an underprivileged group.