A while back, we had some interesting blogs here and here about taking on roles that perpetuate stereotypes. Normally, I would take the actor’s side on this—they’re just struggling for gigs in this town.
But I have to say that I’m going to eat my words now, because I am completely outraged that an attractive, young, Asian-American actress would sellout to being the face for a completely racist, anti-Asian campaign for politician Peter Hoekstra.
Here’s the ad that ran during the Super Bowl:
Whoever this actress is, in this day and age, has sold out big time.
Of course, the real culprit in all of this is Peter Hoekstra, who continues to refuse to apologize for this ridiculous ad.
Hoekstra says the ad is effective in bringing to focus his competitor’s stance on deficit spending and has a straightforward message. Excuse me, but I did not see a single fact or figure on Debbie’s policy of spending. It’s just an Asian American smiling creepily as she talks about how she takes jobs away from Americans, with a background setting that looks more like Vietnam than China.
Even worse is the “Debbie Spend-It-Now” website—with nonsensical Chinese characters. Yes, look at the evil Chinese with their paper lanterns, teapots and colorful dragon dancers. Asian American Actress is plastered all over the website, with quotes like: “Your economy get very weak, ours get very good.”
Whatever his stance on the economy, Pete Hoekstra’s method of delivery of the message was completely unacceptable.
This is somewhat reminiscent of the ‘80s, when anti-Japanese sentiment ran high, due to the thought that Japanese automakers were causing layoffs in the American auto industry. As a result, a Chinese American named Vincent Chin was beaten to death in a hate crime in Hoekstra’s state of Michigan.
Boo to you, Mr. Hoekstra , not only for creating this ad, but for not apologizing for it when it clearly has struck a negative chord with the public. Boo to you for not only continuing to stand by the ad, but for highlighting it on your campaign website. Boo to you for turning a deaf ear to representatives from various community organizations (including a member of the Commission on Civil Rights), and overwhelming public sentiment. For someone who is running to be a public servant, your refusal to listen shows exactly what kind of representative you would make. Boo!! Michiganers, please boot this guy out.