Assemblyman Kansen Chu came under fire this week for reportedly making racist comments to a Chinese-language news outlet. Now, some are calling for his resignation.
In a June 11 article in the World Journal, Chu expressed his position on Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, which, if approved at the ballot, would repeal the proposition that banned affirmative action in 1996.
Chu abstained from the vote a day prior.
In the article, which was translated into English, Chu is quoted as saying that as a school board trustee he saw many Hispanic parents uninterested in their children’s education, busy with work and unprepared to send their kids to college.
The statement blew up online, prompting backlash from a host of community leaders, including Chu’s opponent in the Santa Clara County supervisor race, Otto Lee.
Chu, however, denies the characterization of his remarks that ignited the outrage.
Not only did the reporter insert his own opinion, Chu alleges, but the “translated version in English did not accurately reflect what was written in Chinese, which discussed the long-standing systemic racism in our country in addition to the need to make college more affordable to achieve true equality.”
“I unequivocally deny saying that Latinos do not value education,” he said. “I did say that there are systemic barriers for Latinos and African American students.”
Ex-Assemblyman Paul Fong wasn’t buying it, saying he hopes Chu “spends more time truly listening to the hopes, dreams and struggles residents of color face before making sweeping and inaccurate generalizations.”
Lee piled on similar condemnations.
“To use non-English media to make racist statements and mislead his Chinese-speaking constituents about this vote is incredibly troubling,” Lee added. “To speak with such openly prejudiced rhetoric hidden under the veil of a language barrier is both unacceptable and tone deaf to this moment in our nation’s history.”