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Monday, February 13, 2012

Korean-American letter to Pete Hoekstra ...

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra's instantly controversial campaign ad was the subject of heated debate among readers Tuesday.
The ad, which aired during the Super Bowl, featured an Asian woman speaking in broken English, thanking incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow (the ad changes her last name to "Spenditnow") for sending American jobs overseas.
One comment that deserves special attention appeared below a list of the day's highest-traffic stories, which the Associated Press piece on Hoekstra's ad topped. It's from "smitten" and offers an Asian-American's perspective on the ad. Here it is in full:
Letter I wrote to Mr. Hoekstra,
As an American-Korean, adopted to Michigan couple over 30 years ago, I am appalled at your Super Bowl ad. I grew up among majority Caucasian conservatives and married a man who thought he was Republican, until the Republican’s changed their political stance from being fiscally conservative to racially insensitive. Your ad used a woman who clearly did not have a real accent and appears to look like an American-Asian pretending to be Chinese. If you had a dime for every time a Caucasian tried to imitate the broken English to me, you wouldn’t need to fundraise anymore.
Although I can appreciate your message of the ad, your marketing group tried to be funny at the expense of others. Your ad only reminded me of all the times my young Caucasian classmates thought it would be funny to talk to me in broken English. My family, friends, and colleagues will remember your commercial and how this American-Asian found it offensive.
Many times, people aren’t aware of the insensitivity, because it doesn’t apply to them, until someone they respect and care about points it out to them. I am aware that there isn’t a large Asian population on the west side of Michigan. I know, because we visited Western University after our daughter was invited to compete for a full ride scholarship and the admission’s counselors brought this to our attention. Regardless of the lack of presence, it was in poor taste. There are many Michigan voters that have adopted Asian children like myself, or have a friend, or married to someone Asian, or may be mixed (like my children).
Thank you for convincing me to donate for Debbie Stabenow. Prior to the ad, I didn’t care who won.
Published Tuesday, February 7, 2012 @

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