Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 |
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• Racism and Silence
Racism and Silence
By Michael Ching
More shocking than the recent racial slur made by a police commissioner against the chief of police is the lack of response by the Mayor’s Office and the silence of the seven County Council members.
Whether or not the comment made by the commissioner was not intended to be racist is beside the point. The total content of the epithet denoted a negative feeling toward swearing in of the newly appointed chief of police. By all standards, referring to a Chinese-American as Hop Sing is an insult, seeking to racially stereo type a person of Chinese Ancestry.
Hawai‘i is a State of diversified culture, each contributing to the growth and mixture that makes this state unique. The United States is also a nation of immigrants. It took our nation nearly 200 years and sacrifice by many to bring equal work opportunities for people of all color and race.
Asian Americans in particular have been slow to speak out against racism and or racial slurs made against us. It is this silence that allowed Japanese of American Ancestry to be interred into concentration camps. It is our silence against those racial slurs that gave Hitler the power to imprison and murder to many people of the Jewish faith. It is our silence that allowed Vincent Chin to be brutally murdered in 1982, after being called a “Gook.” Racial slurs in any government operation, regardless of the intent, cannot be tolerated.
The lack of action by our mayor and the silence of our county council give me the impression that such behavior or comments are condoned and is part of our everyday business.
Every person of color should be concerned of lack of action and the silence of our county leaders. We are all at risk when our elected officials say nothing or do nothing to stamp out racism. Does their silence and inaction tell our lower ranking officers that it is acceptable to call the public names such as “gooks,”, “chinks,” “niggers,” “japs,” “haole” or whatever suits the situation?
With this lack of concern for the race issue, perhaps the Kaua‘i Visitors Industry should warn our visitors to be aware that our county government has no concern about any discriminatory abuse they may experience on Kaua‘i. For their own protection, they should perhaps visit another island.
It is time to speak up against racism and racial slurs! Its time that our elected official take the right action, end their silence, and speak up on this matter.
Michael Ching is a member of the Kaua‘i Police Commission and a resident of Hanalei.
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