Civic Leaders Slam S.F. Asian Newspaper’s Column ‘Why I Hate Blacks’

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Asian-American leaders are condemning a column titled “Why I Hate Blacks,” which was published in a weekly newspaper that calls itself “The Voice of Asian America.”

In the piece, which appeared in the Feb. 23 edition of San Francisco-based AsianWeek, contributor Kenneth Eng lists reasons why he supports discrimination against blacks.

The column was the third written by Eng, who has described himself as an “Asian Supremacist” despite having written a previous column titled “Why I Hate Asians.” Another previous column was titled “Proof That Whites Inherently Hate Us.”

Leaders at the Asian American Justice Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Coalition for Asian Pacific Americans and other groups are circulating a petition denouncing the latest piece as “irresponsible journalism, blatantly racist, replete with stereotypes, and deeply hurtful to African Americans.”

“It certainly does not speak for the vast majority of Asian Americans,” Stewart Kwoh, who heads the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles, said Tuesday. “This kind of inflammatory (column) really can hurt and damage relations with the broader African-American community.”

The petition calls on AsianWeek to cut ties with Eng, issue an apology, print an editorial refuting the column, and fire or demote the editors who published it.

“Something like this should never have been printed,” said Vincent Eng, deputy director of the Asian American Justice Center in Washington, who is not related to the columnist. “Deliberate action needs to be taken to make sure this type of hate speech doesn’t continue.”

AsianWeek, with a circulation of 48,505, issued a statement apologizing for “any harm or hurt this has caused the African American community.”

The newspaper plans to hold a news conference with NAACP leaders in San Francisco on Wednesday to discuss how the Asian-American and black communities “can be different and yet get along and work together,” said Ted Fang, the paper’s editor-at-large.

“The newspaper is sorry that this got published, and I am personally sorry that this got published,” Fang told The Associated Press. “The views in that opinion piece do not in any way reflect the views of AsianWeek.”

The paper plans to review its policies to “understand how this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Fang said, calling the decision to publish Eng’s piece a “mistake.”

Fang’s family publishes AsianWeek, along with a local newspaper called the Independent, and owned the San Francisco Examiner between 2000 and 2004.

Eng, 22, is a graduate of New York University, according to a biography on a Web site promoting his science fiction writing.

A telephone listing for Eng, who writes from New York, could not immediately be located.

Supervisor Sophia Maxwell, one of the city’s top black officials, said she doesn’t believe Eng’s column will hurt relations between blacks and Asian Americans in San Francisco. She has co-sponsored a city resolution condemning the article and AsianWeek’s decision to publish it.

“I think most African Americans who are level-headed and not looking for an excuse will understand that this person is very unfortunate,” said Maxwell, who represents a district with large black and Asian-American populations. “This man clearly is very ignorant of African-American history and his own history, and he’s very angry. If he has hatred for me, he probably has it for himself, his mother, and everybody else.”

Mayor Gavin Newsom issued a statement on the column Tuesday evening.

“I am deeply concerned, both for the opinions expressed in the column and the fact that these opinions were published in a local newspaper,” Newsom said in the statement. “Both actions demand explanation and accountability.”

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