The Chinese American Citizens Alliance condemns the campaign ad broadcast over Michigan stations during the Super Bowl this past Sunday by U. S. Senate hopeful Pete Hoekstra. The ad depicts an Asian woman pedaling her bicycle down a dirt road surrounded by rice fields with Chinese instruments comprising the soundtrack. As she speaks in broken English, the Asian actor, complete with a cone, straw hat, boastfully gloats to the audience that the strong economy in China due to our insatiable appetite for debt is the reason for our weak economy and the loss of American jobs.
In a state that has witnessed its share of Asian bashing such as in the 1980’s when Japanese cars were singled out for vandalism and destruction and young Chinese American Vincent Chin was beaten to death in 1982 by two unemployed autoworkers angry about the influx of Japanese cars (purchased by any and all of us as American consumers), the Alliance believes Mr. Hoekstra and his team should know better than to incite others with this inflammatory message. Though his rival, incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow is the target, the irresponsible rhetoric of the ad only creates divisiveness and finger pointing at Asian Americans among those who view Asian Americans not as U.S. citizens but somehow as representatives of China.
The Alliance is well aware of the economic hardships but steadfast fortitude of the citizens of the state of Michigan and their importance to our overall economy as the state and nation recover. Side-by-side on assembly lines in Michigan’s automotive plants, hardworking people of all races, including Asian Americans, are found. The Alliance asks that the citizens of Michigan immediately reject this type of racial stereotyping, race baiting and bullying that this type of campaign message could incite and seriously question the wisdom of electing someone who could occupy one of the 100 most revered and respected seats in the U.S. Senate chambers, yet displays little understanding and knowledge of the harmful effects of discrimination and racism.