CA State Senator Ted Lieu calls on Fox News host to resign over anti-Asian slur

July 14, 2014
Representative Ted Lieu, who represents California's 28th Senate District. (Photo credit: Sacramento Bee.)
Representative Ted Lieu, who represents California’s 28th Senate District. (Photo credit: Sacramento Bee.)

California State Senator Ted Lieu is calling on Fox News’ Bob Beckel, co-host of The Five, to resign after he used the slur “Chinaman” on air last week. I recently wrote about how the term “Chinaman” is a derogatory slur with a heinous history.

In an online statement issued over the weekend, Lieu responded to Beckel’s on-air usage of an anti-Asian slur and demanded the co-host’s resignation.

bob-beckel-chinaman

Lieu wrote:

Lieu, a Chinese-American, said he was outraged.
 
“I am one of those ‘Chinamen’ with ‘Oriental’ eyes that immigrated to America and majored in computer science.  I also served on active duty in the United States Air Force and continue to serve my country in the Reserves.  And today, as an American and as a California State Senator, I call on Mr. Beckel to resign. 
 
“America is great because anyone can be an American.  Our country is the strongest in the world because of our diversity.  Unfortunately, Fox News host Bob Beckel does not understand what it means to be an American.
 
“But Mr. Beckel’s comments are more than just racist and stupid.  His ignorant views are dangerous because it is precisely those types of extreme xenophobic and racist views that caused our government to massively violate constitutional rights during World War II and force more than 100,000 Americans into internment camps.
 
“It is Mr. Beckel’s extreme racist and xenophobic views that are a threat to the American people and he should resign now.”

Lieu made headlines earlier in the year when he withdrew his support for Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 (SCA5), a proposed bill that would have exempted California’s public universities from the anti-affirmative action ban instituted by passage of Proposition 209 in 1995. Proposition 209 has been unequivocally damaging to minority admissions in California’s state school system, yet Lieu caved into pressure from Chinese American constituents in his district and vowed to vote against the SCA5 amendment; this political change of heart cost Lieu six key Democratic endorsements.

While I disagree with Lieu on SCA5, I agree with the senator in regard to Bob Beckel and believe that it should be backed up with community voices as well. So, I’ve created this Change.org petition, calling on Fox News to apologize for its airing of Beckel’s use of an anti-Asian slur on-air and also calling on the network to terminate Beckel’s position as co-host.

Act Now! Sign and share this petition telling Fox News we will not tolerate the repeated usage of anti-Asian slurs on-air!

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  • Also, about your comments about my blog comment section: I think you’re right when you say that stuff flies that maybe shouldn’t. But I’d also argue that there are some grains of truth in the loud shouting that takes place. I’ve had good books that people have recommended to me, and I’ve learned about different cultures–I’ve got a fair number of Chinese from overseas, Nigerians, and Australians. I do ban people, but it’s usually when they’re boring, repetitive, and have simply reached the end of the line on their own progress. Everyone else I usually try to lightly moderate if they offer good commentary in addition to fighting.

    I don’t blog as often as I used to. Sometimes I go days without looking at my blog, which is something I never did in the past. I began eliminating the Bottom Tier at the beginning of the year, so my number of comments dropped down dramatically, especially the number of comments that were needlessly harping on interracial dating and moving overseas to find love and empowerment. I closed the FB page, and it’s been probably a year since I checked my traffic.

    But as I see it, bigWOWO, like Reappropriate, is rare. There just aren’t that many Asian American long-form political blogs that have active comment sections anymore–the 44s and minoritymilitant are both gone, and the rest are mostly pop culture. If people can use my comment section to learn–especially if they can use it to communicate with people of different cultures–I try to allow them the space. It’s only when they’re repetitive and hopeless that I tell them to go elsewhere.

  • Chinesemom had every right to be angry if she disagreed with what I was saying. She was invited — with respect — to explain her anger in a respectful fashion. She chose to call me and my family names.

    She also did not ask what my parents would think. She said that my parents were poor parents who failed in their upbringing duties, and who should be ashamed of me. There is a very big difference in what you think she’s saying, and what she actually said.

    I get that Chinesemom is your friend and also that you agree with her on SCA5, and therefore you are far more interested in “putting yourself in her shoes” than mine (because I doubt you’ve done that thought exercise of thinking about where I’m coming from yet; otherwise you’d at least admit that I have every right to be furious, and further understand that I do not need this behaviour “sinosplained” to me), but face it — Chinesemom’s behaviour is indefensible.

    Contrary to popular belief, I understand exactly how Chinese culture is. Chinese people absolutely think it’s okay to be socially invasive and ask about family in ways that Americanized people are unaccustomed to. Chinese people also absolutely do not make those questions accusatory, rude, judgemental and embarrassing to the family in question by suggesting that a family they don’t know must be deficient in some way, and then expect the child to accept the line of questioning as appropriate. Chinesemom’s behaviour was completely un-Chinese, not to mention rude.

  • especially if they can use it to communicate with people of different cultures

    Communication is a two-way street.

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