It is Dangerous: Using the ‘Perpetual Foreigner’ Myth to Breed Division and Hate
We look forward to the day when being Chinese in America isn’t associated with national security suspicions, but today is not that day. Last week, Republican Representative Lance Gooden racially profiled Representative Judy Chu, head of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, when he falsely accused Rep. Chu of having ties to the Chinese Communist Party with no proof but the fact that she is of Chinese descent. He even suggested revoking Rep. Chu’s security clearance and access to intelligence briefings.
We strongly support Rep. Chu in pushing back against this blatant political and personal attack.
Rep. Chu has served her country and her constituents well for 14 years in Congress. Rep. Gooden’s remarks were racist, xenophobic, and (as Rep. Hakeem Jefferies stated) dangerous. Not even Rep. Gooden’s own party supports his outrageous comments. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who chairs the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition Between the U.S. and Chinese Communist Party called his colleague’s comments “beyond the pale.”
Make no mistake, Rep. Gooden’s questioning of Rep. Chu is inappropriate but very calculated and deliberate. Rep. Gooden is among several politicians who have used racist rhetoric to profile and fan the flames of false suspicion to further their own reprehensible agendas.
This rhetoric is dangerous because many innocent lives have been ruined by false allegations or suspicions in the name of national security when really it is in service of racial profiling. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC fought hard to end the Department of Justice’s “China Initiative” because we saw scientists, researchers, and individuals in academia swept up in a whirl of suspicion that cost them their jobs, questioned their integrity, and led to financial and reputational ruin though many were innocent of allegations levied against them.
Ultra-conservative politicians have used racist tropes like this throughout history against communities of color.
It is why we fight so hard against racial profiling of Asians and Asian Americans and all communities who have been impacted by this pernicious narrative. Although we are not naïve to the fact that there are real national security threats coming from the government of the People’s Republic of China, it bears repeating that racial profiling of Asians and Asian Americans are not only deeply harmful to us and perpetuate anti-Asian hate, but also counterproductive to legitimate policy goals.
We, as Americans, understand that Asian and Asian Americans such as Rep. Judy Chu are not a threat to this country. The real threat is Rep. Gooden and his hateful remarks.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC has a mission to advance the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all. Visit our website at advancingjustice-aajc.org.