Pete Hoekstra, a Republican candidate in Michigan, aired an extremely harmful, racist Superbowl ad in Michigan. The ad is part of a campaign designed to smear his opponent by associated her with Chinese who are trying to steal American jobs and money. There's a website associated with it: debbiespenditnow.com. A recent post at angryasianman.com has updates and a good analysis of the issue.

On top of the fact that the ad is so ridiculously stupid and poorly produced, the worst part is that it's dangerous. It's preying on fears of the foreign Asian other with the hopes that voters will go along with the vaguely threatening Oriental-ness of it all, packaged pretty in a shitty accent.

The fact hasn't escaped us that Hoekstra is running in Michigan, the same state where Vincent Chin was brutally murdered thirty years ago -- a victim of the racially-charged anti-Asian discrimination of the time. Can we really talk seriously about progress?
For those who don't know, Vincent Chin was a Detroit Chinese-American who was murdered by two white men in 1982 who were angry about Japanese "taking their jobs" and decided to single out an Asian stranger to take revenge on. They never served jail time.

Here is my own, very personal take on the issue that I've posted across several venues already.

Many people are rightly decrying the frothing racism on display in the Hoekstra Yellow Peril ad. It's in a long line of anti-Chinese propaganda going back to the 19th century, in which racist tropes were mustered up to justify the mass lynching and massacre of Chinese laborers all across the western United States. That's where the phrase "Chinaman's chance," comes from. When the white folk got angry, that was how much chance they had of escaping alive.

Mark Twain once satirized this racist mania in the following two perfect lines: ""Ah, there goes a Chinaman! God will not love me if I do not stone him."

When I was in school in the 1980s, the epicenter of the Yellow Peril had been temporarily relocated to Japan. Japan was buying America. Magazines, movies, news shows, all proclaimed it. American jobs were being destroyed. Lives ruined. It was all the fault of a sinister yellow slant-eyed race.

The level of racist abuse I received every day ebbed and flowed according to the level of virulence of anti-Japanese news items. Kids would see their parents shaking their heads, worrying about their jobs, muttering about Sony and Toyota, maybe rehashing a centuries-old anti-Chinese trope and applying it to the Japanese.

The next day, those kids would go to school, see me, sing ching-chong ching-chong, pull up their eyes at the corners, hold their noses pretending that I smelled bad when I walked by, leave notes on my locker that told me to "go home," or just plain throw stuff at me. They would go home that day feeling better, probably, that they had struck a blow for their family and their nation.

This is what Hoekstra is responsible for, now, in 2012. The ad aired in Michigan. The next day after the Superbowl, Monday February 6th, some kids in Michigan went to school and saw an Asian girl, like the one in the ad. They might have heard she was Chinese-American or Japanese-American or Hmong-American, but that wasn't important, because she looked Chinese. So they talked to her in a funny fake accent and pulled up their eyes at her. When she told them it wasn't funny, and asked why are you doing this, please stop, they laughed at her to see if they could make her cry, if they could make her run away, if they could drive her out, if they could stop her taking away their family's money like the woman in the ad.

This happened. It happened to me. It happened yesterday. It's happening all over again.

This is what Hoekstra did.
POSSIBLE ACTION LINKS
Read the OCA (Organization of Chinese-Americans) statement:
http://ocanational.org/index.php?opt...758&Itemid=104

Give money to Hoekstra's opponent, Debbie Stabenow:
https://stabenow.ngpvanhost.com/crma...bute/MoneyBomb

Sign the Change.org petition to get Hoekstra to apologize:
http://www.change.org/petitions/sena...formal-apology

Also, please if you're angry about this, think twice about directing anger to the actress. I don't condone her choice... but she's the one who has to live with what she did. Hoekstra deserves full, 100% blame on this, no dilution.