Washington, DC — In a campaign ad released by Don Blankenship, a Republican candidate for Senate in West Virginia, the candidate used racial slurs against Chinese and Chinese Americans. This is the latest in a series of racial statements aimed at Chinese and Chinese Americans from Mr. Blankenship, who has referred to them as “Chinapeople,” and used Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Chinese American wife and her family to question his loyalty. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the first Chinese American woman elected to Congress, issued the following statement condemning Mr. Blankenship’s remarks:
“There’s no mystery to what Mr. Blankenship is doing. It is intentional race baiting. I condemn his comments and urge him to stop going down this hateful and divisive path. Unfortunately, one of President Trump’s legacies seems to be the lesson that stoking racial resentments and xenophobia are effective tools for winning an election. But the consequences of that tactic are serious and stretch far beyond election day. Already, Asian Americans are experiencing higher rates of hate crimes, and it is in large part because of the exact sentiment espoused by Mr. Blankenship. By using racially insensitive rhetoric to target Secretary Chao and her family in order to take cheap shots at Senator McConnell, Mr. Blankenship is perpetuating the hateful stereotype that being Chinese means you cannot also be a patriotic American. That this kind of rhetoric has been used to justify persecution of Jews and Catholics, the imprisonment of innocent Japanese during World War II, and more, and should give anybody pause.
“It’s ironic that Mr. Blankenship’s remarks come at the start of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, when Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders of all backgrounds celebrate our contributions to a country that welcomed us not for our race or religion, but because of our fidelity to the ideals of democracy and pluralism – the exact ideals which Mr. Blankenship is undermining through his bigoted attacks. We must be stronger than those who use race to divide us and I hope others will join me in condemning this speech before the Trump-style campaign of division, fear, and hate becomes the norm.”