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Cepeda: Racism against Asians should not be tolerated

CHICAGO

If you think there’s no one on the planet who doesn’t understand that yanking up the corners of your eyes is offensive to people of Asian descent, well, you’re absolutely wrong.

The most recent examples come from one of the most diverse and integrated corners of society—professional sports. The first, in late October, occurred during the World Series, when the Houston Astros’ Yuli Gurriel, who is from Cuba, made the offending gesture, and appeared to utter the word “chinito” at Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish, whose mother is Japanese.

Hispanics on social media denounced the open racism that’s widely accepted in Latin American countries. But those sentiments apparently didn’t reach Edwin Cardona, a midfielder for the Colombian national soccer team who, in early November, made the same gesture at Choi Chul-soon, a player on the South Korean national team.

Both Gurriel and Cardona immediately apologized, expressing their regret, but their missteps are only the latest in a long line of high-profile people mostly getting a pass when they made racist comments or gestures regarding Asians.

When basketball star Jeremy Lin, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, played for the New York Knicks, sports media reacted to the 2012 “Lin-sanity” with headlines like “Chink in the armor” and others referencing fortune cookies and diminutive genitals.

Lin recently told his Brooklyn Nets teammate Randy Foye, on Foye’s podcast, “Outside Shot w/ Randy Foye,” that such disrespectful incidents paled in comparison to what he experienced in college, when he heard racist slurs from fans, opposing players and even another team’s coach.

“So, when I got to the NBA,” Lin said. “I thought this is going to be way worse. But it is way better. Everybody is way more under control.” Think about it: Having his manhood mocked in news headlines was better than the abuse he endured while playing for Harvard.

This may be because it’s a constant insult if you’re an Asian male. This past January, Eddie Huang, the restaurateur and author of the memoir “Fresh Off the Boat,” which inspired the ABC television show of the same name, said as much after comedian Steve Harvey did a bit implying that a black woman would never date an Asian man.

“Every Asian-American man knows what the dominant culture has to say about us,” Huang wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “We count good, we bow well, we are technologically proficient, we’re naturally subordinate, our male anatomy is the size of a thumb drive and we could never in a thousand millenniums be a threat to steal your girl.”

Again, such messages don’t break through. Last year, at the Academy Awards ceremony, Chris Rock paraded a trio of Asian children out on stage as pretend PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants and made a tasteless “model minority” joke at their expense.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement afterward, but the only people paying attention at that point were the ones concerned that, as Korean-American author Matthew Salesses noted: It seems to be OK to make fun of those who comprise our country’s fastest-growing racial group.

“The truth is, racism toward Asians is treated differently in America than racism toward other ethnic groups. This is a truth all Asian-Americans know,” Salesses wrote on the website of the Good Men Project. “While the same racist may hold back terms he sees as off-limits toward other minorities, he will often not hesitate to call an Asian person a chink, as Jeremy Lin was referred to, or talk about that Asian person as if he must know karate, or call him Bruce Lee, or consider him weak or effeminate, or so on.”

The South Asian versions can be summed up in three words: “Oh my goodness.” They are the subject of comedian Hari Kondabolu’s new documentary, “The Problem with Apu”—a reference to the cartoon Kwik-E-Mart proprietor from “The Simpsons.”

Featuring many of America’s most successful South Asian actors and comedians—Aziz Ansari, Kal Penn, Sakina Jaffrey and others—the documentary delves into the pain caused by a contemptuous parody in one of TV’s most successful and longest-running shows.

Sure, it’s comedy. But when a bunch of comedians, actors and even a former U.S. surgeon general tell you how destructive “Apu” has been to their actual lives, it merits reflection.

I’m looking forward to seeing it. But no one should need a whole movie to know it’s wrong to make fun of Asians’ eyes or how they talk.


Letters
Your Views: Who do you think pays for tax cuts for the rich?

I am sure everything has been said that is worth saying about the budget put forth by the Republican Party, but I wanted to appeal to the common sense of people since it seems to be in short supply in our political arena.

The budget increases borrowing by another trillion or so dollars (I got to tell you, after a million I can't even begin to imagine more), and it also decreases substantially taxes paid by corporations and those who are rich.

Let's ask the burning question: Who do you think is going to pay for all this? It will be the middle income class and those of poorer means because they do not have any political clout. Connect the dots and respond accordingly in the 2018 elections.

VIRGIL PARKER

Janesville


Other_views
Guest Views: Do the right thing, Moore. Step aside

Roy Moore was never a good candidate to serve Alabama in the U.S. Senate. Today, due to his past political history of being twice removed from office and recent allegations of sexual misconduct and romantic encounters with teenage girls some four decades ago, he’s the worst candidate for the office.

Mr. Moore, it’s time to step aside and let the Alabama Republican Party offer another candidate to voters in the Dec. 12 special election.

We join the growing list of believers of the women who accused Moore of sexual misconduct, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who occupied the Senate seat Moore is seeking to fill.

This is not intended as an endorsement of any other candidate, on the ballot or not.

Moore’s lame responses to the claims against him don’t ring true, blaming everybody under the sun, from the Republican establishment to Democrat liberals to anti-Christian forces to the women he says he never knew or met.

A chorus of disbelieving supporters and the troubled state Republican Party are crying foul over the reports Moore made sexual advances on a 14-year-old, dated teenage girls and attempted to have sex with a 16-year-old against her will in the late 1970s.

Yet many residents around Gadsden, where Moore worked as an Etowah County assistant district attorney when the allegations originated, say it was common knowledge he pursued teenage girls for dates. According to an AL.com report, several residents recall Moore being a problem at the local mall because he often made advances toward girls too young for a man in his 30s.

The loudest objection to the accusations against Moore is the timing; that they are politically motivated and intended to discredit him a month before the election.

The outrage purposely misses the point. Consistency and specificity of the women’s stories is significant and on point. Moore is a candidate for the U.S. Senate, one of the highest elected offices in the land. His past conduct is relevant to the present decision before Alabama voters.

Moore can hide behind a shield of religion and lash out at national Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who have called for him to step aside. But even many of Moore’s own townsfolk are not buying his self-proclaimed innocence.

As we have previously stated, the former jurist should have left Alabama’s political front porch when he was ousted from office a second time after directing Alabama probate judges to ignore a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage.

As Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, Moore was simply too stubborn to fulfill the duties of the office. Moore held a position based on a bastion of fairness for all Alabama residents, which he failed to follow. From his jurist bench, Moore’s view of fairness has always been reserved for whoever agreed with him.

The accusations against Moore are gravely serious. Alabama doesn’t need a senator with a tarnished history. The stories of his predatory nature with teenagers are alarming on moral and cultural grounds.

Our culture toward sexual harassment and abuse is changing. Still, coming forward years after being abused remain difficult, challenging and often humiliating. For Moore and others to mock or ridicule these women for having the courage to stand up to a man poised to ascend to the U.S. Senate is wrong and nothing short of bullying.

It’s time for Moore to stop verbally attacking his accusers, who he claims are on a “witch hunt,” quit being a narcissist and do what’s best for Alabama and vacate his Senate campaign. It’s the right thing to do.

—The Cullman Times (Cullman, Alabama)


Other_views
Web Views for Friday, Nov. 17

From online story comments and Facebook

On Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden interfering with a Janesville police investigation: It certainly appears that Spoden believes he, his children and his friends are all above the law. Seems like we have our own swamp right here in Janesville.

—witaxman

Because they were all good kids from prominent families, no investigation was necessary? Seriously? If they were non-white kids in the Fourth Ward, would he have expected no investigation? These “good” kids shouldn’t have to obey the law or have any consequences for their law breaking?

—Alicia Clark

If a sheriff’s deputy pulls you over and says, “You know how fast you were going?”, just explain to him or her that you are from a good family, and his or her questioning is causing unnecessary stress. You should be on your way after that.

—Chad Sheridan

“Don’t talk to the police” #SPODEN2018

—Rocky Decker

I do disagree with both the state attorney general’s office that there is no crime here, and The Gazette’s ambivalence of same. Spoden threatened officer Brian Foster. That’s a crime! Perhaps there isn’t enough evidence to meet the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard, but Spoden crossed the line. He should resign immediately. Failing that, I hope someone qualified to be sheriff takes note and runs against Spoden in the next election.

—Bill Schuldt

Unbelievable that you people aren’t seeing the bigger picture of what the sheriff was trying to do. He helped a lot of young people and their families by keeping them away from additional emotional damage from this event, and I’m forever thankful for his action.

—Joe Brennan

Nice to hear the armchair investigators here. Does the line, “no criminal wrongdoing” mean nothing to you people? Sounds like a bunch of sour grapes.

—Steve Sullivan

I think most people understand that his actions may not be “criminal.” But clearly his actions raise questions on the ethics of his actions.

—Romaine Rae Schneeberger

On Walker signing bill to eliminate hunting age restrictions: What could go wrong? Drunk adults, small children with high-powered rifles. Sounds like fun, or a lot of children with a lifetime of guilt and sadness.

—Lynda Naatz Richter

The Gazette editorial (Sunday) had it right, “Eliminating age restrictions for hunting a dumb idea,” and that is affirmed. Look who signed the bill.

—Hatrick Henry

It’s good to see that the Republicans have their priorities straight. At least we have good roads for the toddlers on the way to their hunting ground. Oh, wait. Never mind.

—NewUser

I’d rather have 100 parents spending time with their 8-year-olds in the woods hunting than one parent turning their back to their child playing video games all week instead of studying and doing homework. ... It should be about personal responsibility, not bureaucrats deciding for us age restrictions.

—philosophyofliberty

On ‘Dreamers’ Nov. 10 protest at House Speaker Paul Ryan’s house: I wonder if the Ryans have a sprinkler system in their yard? Evenings are better for watering the lawn due to less evaporation. Since the city is about to collect leaves, I also wonder if they have a leaf blower? Some people find yard work relaxing after a hard day at the office.

—Kevin Goebel

How about they and their families become legal citizens of the United States? Won’t have any problem then. When DACA was signed, it was never meant to be permanent.

—David Ellingson

It’s not peaceable protest when harassing his family and neighborhood.

—Patrick Weissinger