So, it was with dismay that I learned today that Koo had redoubled his sexist attacks on Tan in an interview with the TimesLedger, where Koo broadens his disdain to — apparently — all “angry moms” whom Koo says “can’t accomplish much”.
This, as they say, just got personal. Koo just lobbed a broad insult against all politically-active women and mothers.
On September 12th, New York City’s registered Democrats will head to the polls for the Democratic primaries, and voters living in the city’s 20th City Council district – which includes downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, and Queensboro Hill – will be faced with a choice for the first time in eight years between two-term incumbent City Councilmember Peter Koo and challenger, Alison Tan. This race is of particular interest to Asian American New Yorkers: not only are more than 60% of District 20’s constituency Asian American, but issues within the purview of City Council – such as affordable housing, urban development, and public transportation – are of specific relevance to Flushing residents.
The contest between Koo and Tan has turned decidedly acrimonious in recent months: both candidates have drawn clear distinctions between one another with regard to policy, but the contest has also gotten deeply personal from both sides. Last week at a Candidate’s Forum organized by a coalition of New York-area Asian American groups, the personal attacks took a viciously sexist undertone as Councilmember Koo deployed both implied and overt assaults on Tan’s identity as a working woman, mother, and aspiring female politician.
It was Valentine’s Day in New York City. While others were thinking about where to buy last minute chocolates and flowers, my thoughts were entirely elsewhere. I was reading restaurant reviews in the New York Times and found myself confronted with an article exploiting my community’s perceived exoticisms.
The review was from the New York Times (“Culinary Clashes End in Harmony at Chinese Tuxedo“), but I would have sworn I was reading a Chinatown caricature by Chuck Connors—the 19th century Rhode Islander who shamelessly profiteered by hawking exaggerated, cartoonish tales of exciting and foreign “ethnic” life in turn-of-the-century Chinatown to upper-class white tourists. National news correspondent Arthur Bonner described Connors as “a hanger-on in Doyers Street saloons who earned tips by showing thrill seekers tame wonders like the Joss House. For an added tip he would show them an opium den complete with a ‘fallen woman’.”
This treatment of Chinatown as a seedy den of foreign crime and taboo thrills to be packaged and sold as a form of ethnic tourism would be best left to the past. Yet, writers and editors seem perfectly willing to revive old stereotypes and evoke the worst of Chinatown’s history in a vain attempt to remain relevant, regardless of the consequences.
The suspect in a series of physical assaults targeting Asian American women in New York City was identified late yesterday by police as 25-year-old Tyrelle D. Shaw, after concerned friends and family contacted law enforcement following the appearance of several seemingly incriminating blog posts published on Shaw’s website over the last week.
Police are still investigating whether Shaw or his website are indeed related to the string of bias-related attacks that have occurred in Chinatown, Koreatown and the Upper East Side. However, if Shaw does prove to be the suspect and this blog is related to him, it provides a great deal of insight into the mind of a violent Asiaphile who is preying on New York’s Asian American female population to exact revenge for being “rejected too many times“.