“We take your jobs”: We’re a couple days behind on this one (though, admittedly, hannahhorvath did tip us off), but seriously, how about this patently racist ad that aired during the Super Bowl in some markets? It hinges on a particular brand of racial paranoia (the woman in this ad is American, and has absorbed a lot of heat for taking part), itself born from a profound economic paranoia. And it gets worse — apparently the microsite for the video had some perceived-racist source code in it. Reaction to the ad has been strong. What do you think? source
2012 by Allahpundit A follow-up to Jazz’s post last night about the outrageous outrage du jour, Hoekstra’s set to surf the backlash: Here we go again. That’s why she’s got her people doing what liberals always do when things get tough—calling me a racist. China. (But not so dumb that he didn’t have ratings disabled […] http://dlvr.it/19bbdp
The fact that this went from concept to launch (and is still going…) says something to me about a lack of cultural sensitivity and, moreover, a lack of understanding about America. We are home to so many different peoples and cultures. I do not see that as a weakness. Feeding into negative stereotypes about those different peoples and cultures is a weakness. Such actions reflect a lack of depth, a lack of consideration – especially as a politician that is supposed to represent the needs of the people.
Michigan Republican Pete Hoekstra’s anti-China ad has arrived in China, and instead of inspiring outrage it is being greeted by guffaws, pity for his math and language skills, and puzzlement that his propagandists—and this country knows a thing or two about propagandists—appear to have made rookie mistakes, including borrowing a backdrop that looks more like Vietnam or Laos.
“As a Chinese person, you don’t feel a thing watching this, because it appears to be in Southeast Asia,” commentator Michael Anti wrote.“My Vietnamese classmates are more insulted than I am,” according to Li Xiaopen. (I second Jim Fallows’s theory that it’s hardly an accident, but, rather, “a kind of visual dog-whistle” to Americans acculturated to seeing rice paddies as an arena of sorrow.)
The basics: The thirty-second spot—aired locally during the Super Bowl as part of Hoekstra’s bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Debbie Stabenow—opened with the sound of a gong and showed a young Nondescript Presumably Scary Asian (N.P.S.A.) riding a bike between rice paddies, and saying, in broken English: “You borrow more and more from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs.”
Chinese viewers looked past the race-baiting to point out the kinds of aesthetic errors that would get Hoekstra fired from a fear-mongering-advertisement assembly line: That golden sunlight rarely breaks through Chinese smog; women of the actress’ age are too busy working in booming factories and thriving cities to be cycling between rice paddies. Even the N.P.S.A.’s breathtakingly ridiculous conical hat looks wrong: the fringe around the edge is less Guangxi than Hawaii. When I asked Lu Han, a researcher and translator about it today, she said, dryly: “Maybe they got our minority hats confused.”
Hoekstra’s bumbling continues when you follow his instructions to his Web site, which is adorned with bounding dragons, paper fans, chop-suey script, and lots of money. Hoekstra doesn’t strike me as the kind of man to lose sleep over the following freshman-Chinese mistakes, but they are worth noting in case anyone wonders if this man should be hiring people with your tax money. Every Chinese reference, more or less, has a mistake:
The Great Wall of Debt came out as “Debt That the Great Wall Owes.”
The Chinese characters throughout the site are of a variety not found in mainland China; they are visible only in Hong Kong or Taiwan.
The page is adorned with the pattern 花$ 花$, which he would like to mean “spend $,” but, in fact, means “flower $ flower $ flower $.”
For all the xenophobia and mistakes, the thing that might really worry a voter is that a man can get this far in the U.S. political system without a basic grip on the mechanics of his government. “You borrow more and more,” the N.P.S.A. says. But that is false, says the U.S. Treasury. Chinese holdings of U.S. treasury bonds, in fact, declined from November of 2010 to November 2011. “China has not been a major buyer of U.S. treasury notes on the margin for a couple of years now,” Victor Shih, an expert on Chinese economics and politics at Northwestern University, told me.
When Hoekstra’s point collides with fact, he calls in the help of a large font: he describes China as “the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities”—which is true—but then describes China’s holdings as increasing from 9.6 per cent in 2002 to twenty-six per cent in 2010. A voter might blanch at the idea of a foreign country holding over a quarter of U.S. Treasury debt, except that it’s not true. The twenty-six per cent is China’s holdings among foreign holders, not overall debt, and “the overall share of treasury held by foreign entities declined in the past couple of years,” Shih told me. (“One thing that Americans have to realize is that China may be a net lender internationally, but the Chinese government and state-owned enterprises borrow a huge amount of money domestically,” Shih added. “The racist caricature of those thrifty Chinese who take advantage of debt-loving Americans is widely off the mark because China is one of the most indebted countries in the world.”)
But since I’m a Michigan taxpayer—Berrien County, currently resident in Beijing—I’ll close by pointing out that Hoekstra will be responsible if Asian-Americans end up subjected to the kind of discrimination in Michigan that took the life of Vincent Chin. He was the Chinese-American man beaten to death in 1982 by two unemployed autoworkers frenzied about the threat from Japan.
Rational people can admit to the staggering amount of racist rhetoric in the GOP race. Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Rick “Frothmaster” Santorum and Newt “Put Black Kids to Work” Gingrich have made cases for the coveted pointy white hat in the race to collect voters that respond to prejudiced soundbites. But maybe they’ve been too direct.
Direct, you ask?
Yep. For every rhetorical desire to get back to the good ol’ days (that also constitutes segregation, women being trapped at home, and Jim Crow laws), there are yokels that flat-out put the racism out there. (Okay, those two examples are from the same person. STILL.) Why not just code the message? That’s what Republican senate candidate Pete Hoekstra has done with his Debbie Spend-It-Now website:
Who is Debbie “Spend-It-Now” Stabenow? At first glance, Debbie is a xenophobic Chinese woman that delights in the so-called worsening U.S. economy. And a GREAT web designer. But peer behind the white curtain and you’ll see a racist pulling the strings of ignorant puppets:
But wait, you cry out. I haven’t heard of Debbie Stabenow.
Yeah, Debbie is a Michigan senator, but she may as well be a stand-in for President Barack Obama. And Pete Hoekstra is too much of a chickenshit to grind his axe on a visible target, instead farming out the racism to a fictional Chinese character to maximize the hatred and idiocy (and sexism) of the Tea Party voters he seeks. Need more proof?
So because Pete Hoekstra is too much of a weakling to directly state what he thinks, I’ll man up for the both of us:
FUCK YOU, Pete Hoekstra.
FUCK YOU up your cowardly, soft- and yellow-bellied, Klu Klux Klasshole. I hope that you lose.
History will paint these hate-filled, bigoted, insipidly backwards politicians as the second-coming of the Second Red Scare of the 1950s. And like the McCarthyism that plagued that era, the use of fear-mongering and lies to advance a selfish agenda aimed at protecting the interests of a select few at the expense of many will be something future generations will hopefully learn from.
Answering questions at a Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots forum recently, Hoekstra said that it’s too late to investigate President Obama because, well, John McCain screwed that all up. But, he wants to be sure it never happens again.
OCA's Statement on Racial Rhetoric in Political Campaigns
WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA, a national organization dedicated to advancing the political, social, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is deeply disturbed by the uptick in volatile racist rhetoric that has taken place during the 2012 election year.
“With the 2012 elections quickly approaching, we have seen an alarming ease by which candidates and media personalities resort to racist rhetoric under the guise of light hearted humor. This is simply inappropriate, ineffective, unnecessary, and inexcusable,” said Tom Hayashi, Executive Director of OCA. “We condemn the characterization of Asians as a ‘perpetual foreigner’ regardless of context.”
Most recently, New York Congressional Candidate Nate Shinagawa was racially demeaned during the broadcast of a local radio talk show. Shinagawa, a third-generation Japanese-Korean American, was ignorantly ridiculed when it was asserted that he came from the “Peoples Republic” and mocked for his Japanese heritage. These desperate xenophobic comments are especially troubling given the fact that such rhetoric has also been used by perpetrators of bullying, harassment, and hazing from schools to the military with dire consequences.
Unfortunately, Mr. Shinagawa is not the only victim of racialized political attacks this election year. During the most widely viewed Super Bowl in history, the notorious “Debbie-spend-it-now” ad by the Pete Hoekstra campaign grossly exaggerated the proposition of insult and mockery by the Chinese for the seeming economic dependence by the United States; accusing the candidate as a contributor to the transcontinental financial relationship. In a separate campaign video by Congressman Mark Amodei, similar themes are echoed as well as the prediction of a military seizure of the US Capitol by the Chinese military following an economic meltdown caused by the current administration. These ads have been pointed out as being extremely problematic not only by APA civil rights leaders, but also broadly condemned and discouraged by both political parties.
Elections should be issue-focused without resorting to unfair and inaccurate comparisons. Demonizing a specific class of people using fear tactics based on broad political and economic generalizations or predictions should not be tolerated by the community at-large.
As Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders become more involved in civic life, we call upon political parties to promote an environment that welcomes the inclusion of diverse perspectives and experiences. In the final months before this year’s elections, we urge political candidates and the media to refrain from using xenophobic language and imagery. We also urge those elected into office to support policies that address the serious problem related to all forms of discrimination and bias.
Dear god, there’s still someone that campaigns with YELLOW PERIL ads. He should be ridden like a naughty burro through a cactus desert in August back to the devil’s playground that he came from. Astounding. I don’t…can’t…what?
TLDR; Pete Hoekstra is so racist that he’s a caricature of racists. Vote Stabenow.
P.S. I hope his little actress has learned her mistake.
Trigger Warning for: 4th grade-level racism against Asians at large, and by extension, Asian-Americans.
Republican Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra of Lansing, Michigan can be seen doing what Republicans do best; making wildly racist assertions, then running for cover in the hope that it will stick to someone.
Any resemblance to #Alex Holzbach is completely coincidental.
“I am deeply sorry for any pain that the character I portrayed brought to my communities. As a recent college grad who has spent time working to improve communities and empower those without a voice, this role is not in any way representative of who I am. It was absolutely a mistake on my part and one that, over time, I hope can be forgiven. I feel horrible about my participation and I am determined to resolve my actions.”
Lisa Chan – CEO/ President, The Strive Vice President, Sparxo Inc.
The image of the “Chinese” girl in the video, who speaks American-accented English, is labelled as … well, see for yourself:
Now, in context, they could have been referring to the color of her shirt, as seen in the picture [above]. Perhaps. Although in that case “orange girl” is the term that might occur to most people. (As illustrated by comparison with the actually yellow lettering in front of her.)
Once again, I feel the need to point out that when you’re being blatantly racist, you’re doing dog-whistle racism wrong.
The ad for Hoekstra–a hot mess of Vietnamese mise-en-scène standing in for China, California Girl-speak poorly disguised as bad Engrish, and some requisite chinky background music–managed to piss off Dems and Republicans alike with its creepy, unabashed Fear of a Yellow Planet storyline. (Though everyone’s favorite race-contrarian Michelle Malkin didn’t seem to mind it. But this is the same person who defended the internment, so, you know.)
And let’s not overlook the website that goes along with the ad! It makes the TV spot look kinda tame by comparison. Called debbiespenditnow.com (a hoek-y play on the name of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the Democratic incumbent), it’s crammed with just about every Asian cliche imaginable. Oriental fans? Check. Dragons? Check. Red lanterns? Check. The Great Wall of China, a clay teapot, and everything written in that Chinese takeout font? Yep. It’s almost as though the Hoekstra campaign’s daring a half-blind person to stumble upon the site and try to order dinner from it.
Contrast that with Hoekstra’s other campaign site, titled petespenditnot.com [Is he serious with this shit?–Ed.], which is, frankly, a total snooze:
Now THIS is America: one old white dude talking to another old white dude
Rather than backpedal after the overwhelming criticism, Hoekstra’s defended his TV ad, saying “there’s nothing racist” about it and maintaining that the only people stereotyped are Stabenow and “the liberal Left.”
Hey guys, you know what really hurts your campaign? Apparently racial stereotypes. For some craaazy reason, that I don’t understand, my man Pete Hoekstra is getting grilled about this. He made an amazing commercial and people seem to be offended by it. People are so easily offended. Stupid, stupid people.