AAJA Calls for End to Racist Column

While the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) supports freedom of the press, AAJA believes that all media regardless of size should practice the highest standards of journalism including in matters of ethnicity, race and diversity.

AsianWeek, a nationally distributed English-language newspaper, ran in its Feb. 23 issue “Why I Hate Blacks,” a column by Kenneth Eng. AAJA views the decision to publish this piece as irresponsible journalism.

AAJA is committed to diversity and believes in fair and accurate coverage of all communities. AAJA is in its 13th year as an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists of Color, along with the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and Native American Journalists Association.

Organizations representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country immediately expressed outrage over the column and issued public statements criticizing AsianWeek. The Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, Asian American Justice Center, Equal Justice Society and other groups are sponsoring a petition calling for AsianWeek “to take immediate action and issue an unequivocal apology, terminate their relationship with Kenneth Eng, print an editorial debunking the column and setting the record straight, review their editorial policy and process, and hold those responsible accountable.”

The AAJA National Office has chosen not to quote from or reprint any part of the column, due to the offensive nature. The weekend after publication, AsianWeek pulled the article from their web site. When contacted by AAJA, Editor-in-Chief Samson Wong declined further comment.

AsianWeek today issued the following statement and will provide an update in its upcoming issue:

AsianWeek sincerely regrets any offense caused by the one opinion piece which reflected that author’s personal views. We apologize for any harm or hurt this has caused the African American community. AsianWeek has great respect for all that the African American community has done for Asian Pacific Americans.

AsianWeek’s operation and editorial policy are based on a philosophy of diversity. This includes fighting to promote diversity of opinion in our own community and even to expose its disturbing warts. It also includes a proven record on promoting cross-cultural diversity and inter-racial interaction. AsianWeek as an organization is proud of its deep and unparalleled history of working with, interacting with, and building connections among all the diverse groups that make up America.”

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