[media-credit name=”Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images” align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]Recently, I’d sent out the links below, regarding the racist Hoekstra campaign ad and video. The first link is for a Care2 petition against his ad and the second link is of a Youtube “out takes,” parody by the Asian American comedian, Kristina Wong.
Peter Hoekstra is running for the U.S. Senate. Last weekend, over the Super Bowl, he aired a video of an Asian woman, who spoke in broken English (without an Asian accent). She had a ‘coolie’ hat and was on a bicycle, in a bright yellow tshirt. She was saying how the economy in China is good, compared to the U.S. and that the Chinese were taking away American jobs. The interesting thing about this video is that she spoke in unaccented English, so she was an Asian American, not a foreigner from China. The ad was filmed in California and is full of negative stereotypes.
Hoekstra is running for the U.S. Senate in Michigan. In the early 80’s, Vincent Chin (a young, Asian American man) was killed in Detroit, MI. by two white, unemployed auto workers, who mistook Chin for a Japanese man. It was strangely ironic that Hoekstra is also from Michigan.
Anti-Asian sentiments are on the rise once again, folks.
The out takes and parody by Kristina Wong are great. It is also educational for those who are unfamiliar with Asian American or Asian Pacific American (APA) cultures. Kristina’s humor is edgy. Some of it is rated R (on her website). The main thing to take away from her Youtube video is how she distinguishes between Asians and Asian Americans — especially how her parents (born in San Francisco) speak without Asian accents.
I have given many talks on this topic: how non-Asians and non-APAs (Caucasians and others) need to utilize their auditory skills and not just rely on visual cues. If you listen closely to the (Asian American) actress in Hoekstra’s video, she does not have an Asian accent, when she speaks in broken English. She is an American, not a foreigner from China (who is taking away American jobs), as Hoekstra wants you to believe.
After a huge outcry from Asian Americans this week, the Hoekstra video was taken down from his website. But it still exists and continues to float around out there on Youtube and elsewhere. The damage has been done, but it also continues. Many APA groups, including the JACL.ORG have condemned his video.
Recently, Hoekstra was interviewed by Fox News. His ad and video serve to instill fear in the USA against Asians and Asian Americans. I hope it does not incite more violence against Asians and Asian Americans. This is a scenario that we have seen in American history, which dates back to the 1700s or 1800s for Asians, when the Filipinos and Chinese, respectively, first started emigrating to America. This is the same type of fear mongering that resulted in the incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans into concentration camps in this country. It’s the McCarthy era, revisited.
Please feel free to write to your Congressperson or to President Obama and tell them that it is important to continue to work toward preserving the civil liberties of Asians, Asian Americans and people of color, everywhere. Also, please send the web links below to everyone you know.
To paraphrase what a friend said recently, it is my hope that our political leaders will repudiate messaging that panders to anti-Asian xenophobia. As Americans, we need to promote an environment that welcomes the inclusion of diverse views and experiences.
For more information; check this link: