The real problem with Betty Brown: words matterApril 12, 2009
Side note: I have this whole post brewing about the US, Israel, and the UN Human Rights Council, that I’m excited about but haven’t finished. It kind of demands more thorough research and long-form writing than is suited for blogging, so I haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe some time this week.
Today, though, I want to put in my two cents about this Betty Brown business. For those of you who haven’t already heard of Betty Brown, she is a previously unknown Republican lawmaker from the state of Texas who got her 15 minutes of fame last week when shemade some seriously inflammatory remarks about how Asian-Americans should change their names to make them “easier for Americans to deal with.” I kid you not. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the video of her madness.
Upon hearing initial reactions to her statements, Brown, dismissed them, saying Democrats are “trying to make it all about race.” Um, I think she made it about race when she made all her ignorant statements. Anyways, she has since apologized, but only in part. She has apologized for suggesting Asian Americans change their names — but she hasn’t apologized for suggesting that Asian Americans aren’t American. Specifically when she says:
“Do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here.
“Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for both you and for people who are pollworkers, if there were some means by which you could adopt a name just for your poll identification purposes that would be easier for the Americans to deal with?”
That kind of language, and ignorance, is the REAL problem here. The problem is the fact that Brown still subscribes to the antiquated, racist notion that Asian Americans are The Other and are not real “Americans.”
In 2009, I would think most people would have caught on to the fact that the meaning of American is no longer white, blue-eyed, and blond, but far more diverse than that. It seems some of our lawmakers still haven’t clued in to that, however.
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