The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) expressed its outrage over Kenneth Eng’s article, “Why I Hate Blacks,” that appeared in the latest edition of Asian Week newspaper. The column, which was published February 23, has drawn quick and harsh criticism from Asian Americans across the nation.
“Race-based hate is something that is unacceptable in any form, but it is particularly disturbing when one of our respected Asian American newspapers allows itself to be the source of such bigotry,” stated JACL National Director Floyd Mori. “Asian Week needs to apologize for this blatant error in editorial policy. We join other Asian American organizations in condemning this column.”
In his piece, Eng rationalizes his racism by listing reasons for his hatred. He has come under fire for justifying his views by citing a litany of racist stereotypes of African Americans.
“It is despicable that Kenneth Eng encourages Asian Americans to join him in his bigotry, and it is an invitation that we reject,” stated Patty Wada, JACL District Director. “For someone who touts his academic smarts and honors classes as if they were a badge of intelligence, he is woefully ignorant. Asian Week gave ink to Eng’s racist rant and should know better.”
“We find Mr. Eng’s views reprehensible and offensive,” said Alan Nishi, chair of the JACL’s Northern California-Western Nevada-Pacific (NCWNP) District. “That a publication like Asian Week would choose to publish a piece that spews hate and tries to foster a rift between Asian Americans and African Americans is unacceptable.” Asian Pacific Americans organizations, including the JACL, have encouraged its members to contact Asian Week and to sign the online petition at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/asianweek/. Many JACLers cite the Nikkei community’s link to the African American community and how, as people of color, Asian Americans and African Americans have stood shoulder-to-shoulder to fight for a more just society.
“We, as Japanese Americans, owe African Americans a debt of gratitude for blazing the civil rights trails, providing vital support and making it possible to even raise the issue of redress,” stated Andy Noguchi, co-chair of the Civil Rights Committee of the JACL NCWNP District. “We need to strongly condemn today’s bigots just as we wished our fellow Americans would have condemned bigots of the past for sending our Issei and Nisei generations off to the interment camps.”
The JACL, the oldest and largest Asian Pacific American civil rights organization in the country, has 112 chapters and 22,000 members.