Asian Week Issues Apology After Outcry Over Column (Bay Cities News Service)

Asian Week Editor-at-Large Ted Fang on Feb. 28 said the columnist who penned the piece “Why I Hate Black People” last week will not contribute to the free paper’s content again.The controversial column by 22-year-old New York based Kenneth Eng appeared in the current edition of Asian Week, which came out Friday, Feb. 23.

Fang made the announcement during a news conference at a church in San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood, where interfaith leaders and politicians denounced the article.

Fang said that for 27 years, Asian Week has been a leader in minority issues and civil rights.

“We fell down on the job this time. We fell down on the job with Kenneth Eng,” Fang said.

Fang said he regretted publishing the column and apologized on behalf of Asian Week, calling the mistake “the failing of our editorial process.”

Fang refused to clarify whether an editor reviewed the column and allowed it to go to press and did not answer questions as to why Eng’s previous two columns, “Why I Hate Asians” and “Why I Hate White People” had been printed.

Reverend Amos Brown, who organized the news conference at the Third Baptist Church, said that as a spiritual leader, he accepted Fang’s apology. However, he suggested Eng “should not be dealt with in a cavalier manner.”

Fang said that while he believed in freedom of expression and of the press, “hate speech is not appropriate and should not be promoted.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also weighed in on the matter. “Asian Week’s recent apology is a step in the right direction. Asian Week needs to make clear that despite this setback, it will move forward with policies that have no room for hate speech in its publication,” Pelosi said.

Heated Reaction to the Asian Week Column

Kenneth Eng’s recent Asian Week column entitled “Why I Hate Blacks” has drawn heavy scrutiny from coast to coast.

Eng stated in his column that “blacks are easy to coerce,” and that “blacks are weak-willed.” He said that those of African descent were “the only race that has been enslaved for 300 years. It is unbelievable that it took them that long to fight back.”

These statements and others have created a huge backlash of criticism against Eng for writing the article and Asian Week for publishing it.

Critics include angered citizens, readers of Asian Week, leaders of several Asian American organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), and prominent politicians including Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose). Calls for both accountability and retraction have been made across the board.

Here is a sampling:

“CAPAC calls on Asian Week to issue an unequivocal apology, review its editorial policy and process, and take appropriate action to hold accountable all those responsible for this egregious mistake.” CONGRESSMAN MIKE HONDA (D-San Jose), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

“Such statements have no place in a city that is known around the world for civil rights and equality for all people.” MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM, San Francisco

“Race-based hate is something that is unacceptable in any form, but it is particularly disturbing when one of our respected newspapers allows itself to be the source.” FLOYD MORI, JACL National Director

“For someone who touts his academic smarts and honors classes, he is woefully ignorant.” PATTY WADA, Regional Director, Northern California-Western Nevada-Pacific District Council, JACL

“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.” ALAN NISHI, Chair of the JACL’s 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.” ANDY NOGUCHI, Co-Chair of the Civil Rights Committee of the JACL NCWNP District

“I am 11 years-old and half-Japanese American and half-African American…It made me mad because he tried to make me and other African Americans feel worthless. I am proud of whom I am and no one can change that.” KARA GLAPION, San Francisco

“This commentary certainly does not represent the vast majority of those in our community who believe in equality and justice for all.” STATE SEN. LELAND YEE, (D-San Francisco)

“Eng’s article is unacceptable and offensive not only to African Americans, but to all Americans.” KAREN K. NARASAKI, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center

“The civil rights movement led by African Americans resulted in the change to racist immigration quotas.” STEWART KWOH, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California

“Not only should there be a retraction but a serious effort to repair the harm caused.” GEN FUJIOKA, Program Director of the Asian Law Caucus

“We all owe African Americans who blazed the civil rights path we have walked on in our journey to equality.” DALE MINAMI, President of the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to RSS feed