Metro Detroit â€“ American Citizens for Justice (ACJ)/Asian American Justice Center and other Asian American organizations object to the U.S. Senate candidate Peter Hoekstraâ€™s campaign ad â€œDebbie spend it nowâ€ which aired during the 2012 Super Bowl on Sunday Feb. 5th. The ad shows a young Asian actress in broken English thanking U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow for Chinaâ€™s growing economy and blaming Senator Stabenow for U.S. governmentâ€™s debt obligation to China.
Irresponsible political advertising, like Hoekstraâ€™s ad, perpetuates negative stereotypes of minorities and creates anti-Chinese and anti-Asian sentiments in viewers. Negative ads also turn back the progress we have made as a society over racial and social justice. Back in 1982, during the recession, anti-Japanese sentiments led to the brutal beating death of Vincent Chin (a Chinese American) who was mistaken to be of Japanese descent. Following the 9/11 attacks, misguided citizens shot and killed a Sikh gas station owner in Arizona in 2001. Resorting to blatant racial and ethnic messages violate the virtues of tolerance, threaten the civil rights of targeted minorities, and in this case threaten the safety and security of Asian Americans.
American Citizens for Justice president Prasanna Vengadam stated, â€œWe should have political debate and discourse without resorting to fear of other ethnic groups, stereotyping and scapegoating. Xenophobia has no place in public debate.â€ â€œFrom 2000 to 2010, the Asian American community grew at the largest rate (34.9%) of all racial groups and continues to be a major contributor to the economy in Michiganâ€ said Stephanie Gray-Chang, president of APIAVote MI. In December 2011, 35 Asian Pacific American organizations in Michigan gathered at Council of Asian Pacific Americansâ€™ (CAPA) annual Leadership Summit to strategize on revitalizing Michiganâ€™s economy.
ACJ and other supporting organizations ask candidate Hoekstra to issue an apology and withdraw his anti-Chinese ad and message from his campaign. American Citizens for Justice is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to serving the Asian Pacific American communities of Metro Detroit, Midwest and all Americans through education, outreach, and advocacy. ACJ began in 1983 with the baseball bat beating death of a 27-year old Chinese American Vincent Chin, and the ensuing civil rights case brought against his killers.
Organizations in support of this press release:
Alliance for Immigration Rights and Reform (AIR)
Asian Pacific Islander American Vote Michigan (APIAVote MI)
Association of Chinese Americans (ACA)
Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services (ACCESS)
Bangladeshi American Public Affairs Committee (BAPAC)
Bharatiya Cultural and Community Center (BCCC)
Chinese Association of Greater Detroit (CAGD)
Council of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA)
Filipino American Community Council (Filamcco)
80/20 Intiative SE Michigan Chapter
International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit
Korean American Community Center of Michigan (KACCM)
Michigan Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Michigan Immigration Rights Center (MIRC)
Michigan Indian American Democratic Caucus (MIADC)
Philippine American Community Center of Michigan (PACCM)
Sikh Foundation, Inc.
Thai American Association of Michigan (TAAM)