Eng Column Reveals Need to Address and End Underlying Racial TensionFebruary 27, 2007
Feb. 28, 2007
The NAACP National Headquarters is denouncing the racist comments recently published in the local San Francisco newspaper, AsianWeek by columnist Kenneth Eng. In the article, Eng?who has called himself an "Asian supremacist" in past writings?listed reasons to discriminate against and hate blacks.
"Eng's comments expose the racial tension--often hidden, but still very much present--in communities across America," said NAACP President & CEO Bruce S. Gordon. "These types of remarks widen the racial divide and further promote negative stereotypes."
At a press conference today, a coalition of interfaith, civil rights and community leaders including NAACP San Francisco Branch President Amos Brown and an AsianWeek representative came together to address what Brown calls "the seething tension between blacks and Asians" in the city. "We are calling for substantive and consistent dialogue between these communities," Brown said. "There must be a sustained presence of cooperation at the grassroots level and greater forums for better understanding."
Brown asserts that the strained relationship between African Americans and Asian Americans in the area stems from a declining black population, competition for housing and resistance to student assignment plans in the public schools, among other issues. The NAACP San Francisco Branch encourages Asian Americans to become members of the Association and hopes to involve Asian youth in the branch's youth council activities as a means of fostering acceptance and improving relations between both communities.
AsianWeek, circulated primarily in the San Francisco area, has pulled the column from its website but the article remains in hard copy versions of the Feb. 23 edition. The weekly paper, owned by a Chinese American family, bills itself as "The Voice of Asian America."
Since publication of the column, AsianWeek has issued a statement regretting "any offense caused by the one opinion piece which reflected that author's personal views." The statement continued, "We apologize for any harm or hurt this has caused the African American community. AsianWeek has great respect for all that the African American community has done for Asian Pacific Americans."
Prominent Asian Americans and organizations also condemn Eng's column. Leaders of the Asian Law Caucus, Asian American Justice Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action and other groups and individuals are circulating a petition calling for the paper to apologize, terminate its relationship with Eng, print an editorial refuting the column and review its editorial policy.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.