Mere weeks after Ann Coulter called Asian Americans the racially charged slur “Mandarins” on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, twenty-three of the nation’s largest, oldest, and most prominent AAPI civic and civil rights organizations have penned a joint open letter (press statement | full letter) to MSNBC, CNN and Fox urging the cable news networks to improve diversity in their primetime and Sunday morning programming.
According to Media Matters, Asian Americans are profoundly underrepresented on most cable news networks, and are less than 3% of guests or hosts that appear on CNN, MSNBC or Fox’s nightly or Sunday morning programming. By comparison, Asian Americans are nearly 7% of the American population.
Our underrepresentation is particularly troubling when considered alongside the seemingly routine mischaracterizations of AAPIs by non-Asian guests or hosts who seem to have no problem appearing on cable news programming. Quite simply, AAPIs and other people of colour are being systematically denied the opportunity to participate in forums wherein our nation’s political discourse is shaped.