Leslie Fulbright, San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 27, 2007
A San Francisco weekly newspaper that bills itself as “The Voice of Asian America” is facing harsh criticism from that very community for publishing a column Friday titled “Why I Hate Blacks.”
In the column, AsianWeek regular contributor Kenneth Eng listed “reasons” to discriminate against African Americans. The piece has been pulled from the newspaper’s Web site, but the print edition of the free paper, owned by the politically influential Fang family, was still available in news racks Monday.
Eng called himself an “Asian supremacist” in January in another installment of the column, which runs under the label “God of the Universe.”
Prominent Asian Americans immediately condemned Eng’s current column.
“The hate is based on ignorance and is very similar to the rationales that the KKK uses against African Americans,” said Henry Der, director for 22 years of Chinese for Affirmative Action and the former state administrator for Emeryville’s schools.
“What gives me the greatest concern was AsianWeek’s judgment in printing such a piece out of context,” Der said. “It is so trite and hateful, it doesn’t speak well for the publication.”
San Francisco NAACP President Amos Brown, who heard about the column from a Chronicle reporter, was speechless at first.
“I can’t believe this,” Brown then said. “I am surprised the Fangs, who have supposedly been involved in interracial-understanding issues, would publish something like this. I am flabbergasted. We can’t afford for these kind of racist flames to be fueled in that kind of setting.”
Eng, who is in his early 20s, according to material on the Internet promoting his science fiction writing, started at AsianWeek in November after moving from the East Coast. In 2004, for an online magazine called Down in the Dirt, he wrote about experiencing racism as an Asian American student at New York University after he “expressed my negative views on America, religion and African Americans.”
Other AsianWeek columns of Eng’s—including “Proof That Whites Inherently Hate Us” and “Why I Hate Asians”—have resulted in criticism. In the first, he complained about the scarcity of Asian heroes in the media. In the second, he described Asian Americans as apathetic, brown-nosing and lacking in cultural pride.
Leaders of the Asian Law Caucus, Asian American Justice Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action and other groups and individuals began circulating a petition Friday calling for the paper to apologize, terminate its relationship with Eng, print an editorial refuting the column and review its editorial policy. The leaders’ statement, issued in Washington, D.C., called the piece “irresponsible journalism, blatantly racist, replete with stereotypes and deeply hurtful to African Americans.”
In its statement, AsianWeek, which has a circulation of 48,505, said it “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.”
David Lee of the Chinese American Voters Education Committee said Eng’s statement echoes the feelings of some Asian Americans. He said that rather than condemning the paper, black and Asian people should participate in a town hall-style meeting to address tension he said exists between the two communities.
The paper said it will announce in this Friday’s edition plans to co-sponsor a town hall-style meeting with the Willie L. Brown Jr. Institute on Politics & Public Service.
Ling-chi Wang, retired chairman of the ethnic studies department at UC Berkeley, said there is an urgent need for Asian Americans to be aware of the history of this country and know that Asian American gains have come largely as a result of the efforts of black people.
Here is a list of reasons why we should discriminate against blacks, starting from the most obvious down to the least obvious:
• Blacks hate us. Every Asian who has ever come across them knows that they take almost every opportunity to hurl racist remarks at us.
In my experience, I would say about 90 percent of blacks I have met, regardless of age or environment, poke fun at the very sight of an Asian. Furthermore, their activity in the media proves their hatred: Rush Hour, Exit Wounds, Hot 97, etc.
• Contrary to media depictions, I would argue that blacks are weak-willed. They are the only race that has been enslaved for 300 years. It’s unbelievable that it took them that long to fight back.
On the other hand, we slaughtered the Russians in the Japanese-Russo War.
• Blacks are easy to coerce. This is proven by the fact that so many of them, including Reverend Al Sharpton, tend to be Christians.
Yet, at the same time, they spend much of their time whining about how much they hate “the whites that oppressed them.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Christianity the religion that the whites forced upon them?
• Blacks don’t get it. I know it’s a blunt and crass comment, but it’s true. When I was in high school, I recall a class debate in which one half of the class was chosen to defend black slavery and the other half was chosen to defend liberation.
Disturbingly, blacks on the prior side viciously defended slavery as well as Christianity. They say if you don’t study history, you’re condemned to repeat it.
In high school, I only remember one black student ever attending any of my honors and AP courses. And that student was caught cheating.
It is rather troubling that they are treated as heroes, but then again, whites will do anything to defend them.