This Monday, CAA hosted a community press conference denouncing a political campaign ad that leveraged racial stereotypes that attack current Mayor London Breed. The billboard prompted a swift response by San Francisco representatives, City Officials, and community-based organizations.
The press event was well attended by community groups as well as Ethnic and English press. Asian Prisoners Support Committee, Asian Pacific Islander Council, Chinatown Community Development Center, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Chinese Progressive Association, Hispanic Democratic Club, NAACP-SF, and as well as the SF African American Firefighters Association were all in attendance. Community leaders also noted how the billboard’s racist depiction of African American woman in no way reflect the attitude and perspectives of the Chinese American community.
Arnold Townsend, Vice President of the NAACP-SF illustrated the sense of unity and solidarity between all the organizations present. “ Differences of opinion are acceptable, disagreement is acceptable, this kind of stuff is unacceptable and our community won’t stand for it and we refuse to allow it to serve its purpose to divide us. ”
Kenny Tse of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce called on candidate Zhou to quickly take down the billboard and apologize. “We formerly demand that the candidate withdraw all promotional materials containing discriminatory content, and also she should apologize to our community for her wrongdoing so that we will have a fair and equitable election.”
Racial attacks and stereotypes have no place in any form of political discourse. Regardless of political stance this election season, we must stand together to call out and condemn racist imagery in all forms. The Asian American community is all too familiar with disparaging racist representation. Since the days of the California Gold Rush, Asian Americans have been dehumanized in across a spectrum of stereotypes. Our community has been forced to play the part of a yellow peril threat, over-sexualized obedient mail order brides, vicious dragon ladies, and robotic model minorities.
“As an Asian American who understands the painful history of how racist tropes have been used to denigrate, dehumanize and subjugate our communities, we have a particular responsibility to call this out as a shameful and dangerous threat to our democratic process where we must focus on the substance of issues and not engage in attacks based on race, and gender,” CAA Co-Executive Director Cynthia Choi asserted.
We know how much those images hurt and how lasting their legacy can be. CAA will continue to stand in solidarity across racial lines to defend and expand the rights of all marginalized people. Only through coalition and unity across groups, can we lift our communities from the tyranny of systemic oppression and white supremacy.