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Takasugi Acts to Put Stop to Bashing of Asians

Politics: The Oxnard assemblyman joins others of both parties in writing a measure to raise awareness of stereotyping. It is heading to the Senate.

September 13, 1997|CHRIS CHI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

OXNARD — Saying that recent portrayals of Asian Americans in the media have deeply offended him, Assemblyman Nao Takasugi (R-Oxnard) has co-written a resolution that urges federal leaders to condemn Asian-bashing.

The resolution was introduced in the state Assembly on Thursday, the same day a coalition of prominent Asian Americans filed a complaint with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Outraged by media portrayals of Asian Americans and by congressional leaders' statements about the Asian community during the Democratic fund-raising scandal, the coalition asked federal officials to probe the impact of such stereotyping.

"I think it's a statewide issue as well," Takasugi said Friday. The resolution, he said, "just points out that from our point of view at the state level, there needs to be a higher awareness among the public that the bashing of Asian Americans should not be taking place."

The resolution was drawn up by Assembly members from both political parties. It states that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have "long suffered unfounded and demagogic accusations of disloyalty throughout American history and have been victimized by discriminatory laws and actions" such as the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

It had passed the Assembly by a unanimous vote and was headed to the state Senate on Friday night, Takasugi said.

Takasugi said a magazine drawing of President Clinton and his wife Hillary was especially troubling to him.

"They're characterized as Asians with buck teeth and slanted eyes," he said. "I see similar stereotypes recurring today in the news, and I want to do everything I can to educate the public to the insensitivity of those remarks."

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