St. Louis & Kansas City – July 23, 2016 – A coalition of Asian American business and civic organizations including the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, OCA St. Louis, the Missouri Asian American Bar Association, and the Asian American Bar Association of Kansas City join together to decry the imagery and rhetoric used in recent negative television political advertisements that two out of state PACs are running against Sen. Kurt Schaefer.
Asian American communities throughout Missouri are appalled and outraged by the blatantly racist political ads being paid for and distributed by the Tea Party Patriots and the State Conservative Reform Action PAC. One of the most disgraceful ads features two shadowy purported Chinese officials speaking Mandarin, discussing how they were able to purchase a Missouri farm due to the support of this candidate. The ad is clearly meant to elicit fear among Missouri voters and depicts Chinese and Asians as “the enemy”. The ad echoes the “Yellow Peril” sentiment from darker times in our nation’s history which led to abhorrent legislation like the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese American internment camps.
This press release is not an endorsement or defense of any candidate for Missouri Attorney General. However, we call upon ALL of the candidates to publicly condemn and stop running these hateful ads. Ads like these which push an “us versus them” mentality are hurtful and harmful. They have no place in political campaigns or anywhere in our society.
Asian Americans have been a significant and valuable part of communities throughout the great State of Missouri for generations. In its stance for equal rights, the Asian American community opposes any efforts to divide Missouri citizens and residents on the basis of race. Our approach highlights both the Asian community and the place it occupies in the broader community. It also positively emphasizes unity over division.
OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates St. Louis chapter President Caroline Fan stated, “I think it’s distasteful and disgraceful for shadowy out of state PACs to influence Missouri politics by throwing Asian Americans under the bus. OCA St. Louis is actively registering Asian American voters so that politicians on both sides understand our voices and votes count.”
“As an alumnus of University of Missouri and citizen of Missouri for the past 40+ years, I am deeply disappointed with the utilization of anti-Chinese and anti-Muslim rhetoric that portrays Asian Americans in a derisive light. It is maddening to see those engaged in the Missouri political process incite Asian prejudice in order to gain votes. It only serves to move Missouri backwards while we are trying to move the state forward in economic growth and job creation,” said Al Li, President of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis.
Richard Juang, President of the Missouri Asian American Bar Association, commented, “Inflammatory and xenophobic ads of this nature are simply unacceptable. Asian-Americans are an integral part of this community and work hard every day to make Missouri and America great. Missouri’s politicians, regardless of party affiliation, must reject this divisive rhetoric.”
Kansas City attorney Ron Nguyen, president of the Asian American Bar Association of Kansas City, said, “Asian Americans across Missouri contribute over $3B to the state economy and are productive, engaged, and loyal citizens and residents of the state. This type of rhetoric has a chilling effect on our communities, and there is no place in the Show Me state for xenophobia.”
The Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis (http://aaccstl.org/) serves corporate professionals and business owners from East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian communities in the Greater St. Louis region as well as those who conduct business in Asia
OCA St. Louis (www.oca-stl.org) was founded in 1973 as part of a national civil rights organization and exists to advance the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans.
The Missouri Asian American Bar Association (maaba-law.org) is a non-profit organization of Asian American attorneys, judges, professors, & students.
Founded in 2005, the Asian American Bar Association of Kansas City (“AABAKC”) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote justice, equality and opportunity for Asian Americans, and to foster professional development, legal scholarship, advocacy and community involvement in the metropolitan Kansas City area. Our membership reflects all aspects of Kansas City’s Asian American legal community. In coordinating social events, continuing legal education seminars, pro bono representation and volunteer opportunities, AABAKC (www.aabakc.org) promotes Asian American involvement in the legal profession and addresses the needs of Kansas City’s Asian American community.