Leslie Fulbright, San Francisco Chronicle, March 1, 2007
The 22-year-old author of a column titled “Why I Hate Blacks” in the regional newspaper AsianWeek has been dismissed, and the paper’s editors said Wednesday that they suffered “a serious lapse in editorial judgment” when they published his column.
Editor at large Ted Fang said Wednesday at a news conference organized by the San Francisco branch of the NAACP that Kenneth Eng, who lives in New York, will not write again for the free weekly.
Eng, a regular contributor who wrote roughly every two weeks from November until this week’s edition, offered in the column “a list of reasons why we should discriminate against blacks.”
“We think the editor responsible for green-lighting the column should be removed,” said Keith Kamisugi of the Equal Justice Society, one of the sponsors of a petition demanding that AsianWeek terminate Eng, counter the column in print and review its processes.
“Removing Eng was a small part of the problem. We are looking for journalistic responsibility at AsianWeek,” he said.
Another conversation on the column is planned Friday, when New America Media, a national coalition of ethnic media outlets based in San Francisco, has invited community leaders to discuss the media’s role in fostering greater understanding between Asian Americans and African Americans.
Some Asian American leaders are upset the meeting was planned so quickly. Several groups asked in a letter sent Wednesday on Equal Justice Society letterhead that the meeting be postponed to allow more people to get involved and to ensure the discussion centers on the damage done by the column.
Amos Brown, the leader of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP, will be out of town for the meeting but explained his feelings during the news conference Wednesday.
“I hope we will go forth seizing the opportunity to do a better job of racial relations and interfaith and intergroup activities,” Brown said. “We are not here to castigate anyone, we are simply here to say we have a problem in the human family in San Francisco.”
Dan Daniels, a representative for the California branch of the NAACP, said he was appalled by the column and said it indicates there is still a need for the civil rights organization.
He said the column, published Feb. 23 in the free weekly, was grounds for firing and applauded the editors’ decision to let Eng go.
This wasn’t Eng’s first inflammatory piece, but it is the only one Fang acknowledged he was mistaken to publish.
When asked why he allowed Eng to continue writing for the paper after producing columns titled “Why I Hate Asians” and “Proof That Whites Inherently Hate Us,” Fang would say only that the editorial decision process is under review.
[Editor’s Note: You can read the Chronicle’s story on Eng’s “Why I Hate Black People” here.]