July 23, 2016

Missouri Asian American Community Condemns Xenophobic Ads
Asian Americans from St. Louis to Kansas City decry political attack ads as racist, call on candidates to stop dividing communities

Today, a coalition of Asian American business and civic organizations including the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, OCA St. Louis, and the Missouri Asian American Bar Association join together to decry the imagery and rhetoric used in recent negative ads that two out of state conservative PACs are running against Sen. Kurt Schaefer.

Asian American communities throughout Missouri are appalled and outraged by the blatantly racist political ads being put out 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” and echoes the “Yellow Peril” sentiment from darker and shameful times in our nation’s history which led to abhorrent legislation like the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese American internment camps. Republicans including President Ronald Reagan have spoken out against these disgraceful periods in our nation’s history.

Asian Americans have been a significant and valuable part of communities throughout the great State of Missouri for generations.  Ads like these which push an “us versus them” mentality are hurtful, harmful, and have no place in political campaigns or anywhere in our society.

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.

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 rhetoric that caricaturizes 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,” 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.”

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