Thursday, February 16, 2012

Re: All that Asian bigotry of late?

When you hear and read about Lin in the weeks to come, think of this...
Why Jeremy Lin's race matters
By Ling Woo Liu, Special to CNN
updated 5:36 AM EST, Tue February 14, 2012


Editor's note: Ling Woo Liu is the director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, which helped pass California's Fred Korematsu Day, the first day in U.S. history named after an Asian American. She is a former reporter and video producer for TIME, CNN's sister publication, in Hong Kong.


(CNN) -- A week ago, on feel-good Super Bowl Sunday, TV viewers in the U.S. state of Michigan were subjected to a racist campaign ad sponsored by former Representative and now-Senatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra. The ad, which suggests that his opponent, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, spends too much government money, shows an Asian woman riding a bicycle in a landscape of rice paddies. "Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs," says the native Californian actress in a mock Chinese accent while addressing "Debbie Spend-It-Now." Hoekstra also appears, saying at the end, "I approve this message."

Public condemnation ensued, with demands for an apology and the ad's removal.

It's not the first time that China, or any connections to China, have been used to stoke fear this U.S. election season. In early January, a group in support of Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul released a campaign ad slamming then-candidate Jon Huntsman, the former ambassador to China. The "China Jon" ad showed Huntsman speaking Chinese and wearing a red tikka on his forehead (a sacred mark associated with Hinduism) and questioned his adoption of girls from China and India. "Jon Huntsman: American Values?" the ad asks, calling him "The Manchurian candidate," "Weak on China?" with ostensibly Chinese music in the background.

Then on Thursday, a U.S. Marine sergeant was found not guilty of hazing Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, who committed suicide last April in Afghanistan. A Marine Corps report revealed that Lew had been beaten by his superiors with sand poured in his mouth for falling asleep while on duty. Another Marine was sentenced to 30 days in jail and demoted; a third faces court-martial over the death. Lew's case along with that of Pvt. Danny Chen, who was found dead in October from an apparent suicide, have spurred Asian American members of Congress to demand hearings on hazing in the military.

Chen, the only Chinese American soldier in his unit in Afghanistan, was called "gook," "chink" and "dragon lady," forced to crawl on gravel while fellow troops threw rocks at him, and made to shout instructions in Chinese to fellow troops (no one else in his unit spoke Chinese). The Asian American civil rights group OCA has met with Pentagon officials to demand better treatment of Asians in the military.

Against all of this, Jeremy Lin, a Harvard grad and the NBA's first U.S.-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, has vaulted himself to stardom. On Saturday, Lin led the Knicks to their fifth straight victory. His 109 points in his first four starts this past week have surpassed Allen Iverson's to become the most by any player since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.


Unfortunately, success doesn't stamp out racism. Minutes after Lin's breathtaking career-high 38-point performance against the LA Lakers Friday night, FoxSports.com national columnist Jason Whitlock tweeted "Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight." After condemnation by the Asian American Journalists Association, he tweeted an apology, acknowledging that he had "debased a feel-good sports moment. For that, I'm truly sorry."

1 comment:

  1. Sad and appalling that such racism accompanied by barbaric torture exists and is tolerated among our troops and looked the other way by the big brass.

    Shame on FoxSports for taking this young man's acheivement and turning it into a lewd joke.

    What can we do about it? Say no to bigotry of any kind (race, religion, sexual orientation) in our own community. Say no to those in our community who use bigotted language "as a joke" or for political means to appeal to a racist faction. Seemingly small words tolerated can lead to horrifying consequences.

    ReplyDelete