AsianWeek runs a column called “Why I Hate Blacks”

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Update: Be sure to check out the excellent analyses by Claire Light and Philip Arthur Moore.

Blacks hate us. Every Asian who has ever come across them knows that they take almost every opportunity to hurl racist remarks at us…

Contrary to media depictions, I would argue that blacks are weak-willed. They are the only race that has been enslaved for 300 years. It’s unbelievable that it took them that long to fight back…

In high school, I only remember one black student ever attending any of my honors and AP courses. And that student was caught cheating.

Musings from a Stormfront discussion board? No.

Believe it or not, they’re actually excerpts from a column by one Kenneth Eng that ran in the San Francisco newspaper AsianWeek, which calls itself “The Voice of Asian America.” (Props to Angry Asian Man for breaking the story, and thanks to Ananse, Tariq and Gayle for the tips.)

How the hell does a column like this not raise any eyebrows at a 28 year-old newspaper? Did no one stop and say, hey wait a minute, maybe it’s not such a good idea to run this?

AsianWeek was quick to delete the column from their web site, but you can read the full text here, just scroll down to the 5th comment. As you’ll see, this is not some kind of racial satire gone wrong, a la Princetonian. This is pure and unadulterated hate speech. And horribly written at that.

One thing I can say though, is that the outcry from the Asian-American community has been impressive. Several different Asian-American organizations banded together to create this petition, which includes quotes from its leaders:

“Most Asian Americans would not be here in America today, but for the civil rights movement led by African Americans that resulted in the change to racist immigration quotas,” said Stewart Kwoh, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

“Eng’s vile racism is a setback to the efforts of people of color working together against discrimination, oppression and injustice,” said Keith Kamisugi, associate director for communications at the Equal Justice Society. “His words alone are disgusting; that it was printed in a prominent English-language Asian Pacific American newspaper is shameful.”

AsianWeek issued the following statement:

AsianWeek sincerely regrets any offense caused by the one opinion piece which reflected that author’s personal views. We apologize for any harm or hurt this has caused the African American community. AsianWeek has great respect for all that the African American community has done for Asian Pacific Americans.

AsianWeek’s operation and editorial policy are based on a philosophy of diversity. This includes fighting to promote diversity of opinion in our own community and even to expose its disturbing warts. It also includes a proven record on promoting cross-cultural diversity and inter-racial interaction. AsianWeek as an organization is proud of its deep and unparalleled history of working with, interacting with, and building connections between all the diverse groups that make up America.

What’s that smell? Oh right, it’s bullshit. If their intent was to “expose its disturbing warts” and open up a discussion about anti-black racism among Asian-Americans (a valid topic), they should have either written a feature story on racial tension, or they should have published a column alongside Eng’s arguing against his views.

Neela, who used to work for AsianWeek, wrote an interesting post for the Hyphen Blog suggesting that the paper’s politics are a bit suspect:

Now, I can tell you, that working for AsianWeek, run by the Fang Dynasty, was a complicated job. Just like here at Hyphen, working on a pan-Asian American publication means trying to cover a lot of ground. For me that work is essentially about the intersections between communities and my favorite stories were those about multicultural alliances. Yet, I was told that the main aim of the paper was to represent the Chinese American community, the pan-Asian American-ness more of a marketing tool and less of a reality. Obviously, there seems to be very little excuse for running a column by a self-proclaimed “Asian Supremacist,” (AKA: a straight up racist) but to do it in a publication that already has such iffy ties with community. Bad idea.

For more on this story, check out this article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

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