Asian American groups condemn ‘racist’ campaign ads

A group of Asian American advocates in Missouri criticized what they called “xenophobic” political ads used in the state attorney general race between Sen. Kurt Schaefer and Josh Hawley.

An ad paid for by Tea Party Patriots shows two Chinese businessmen, one bragging to the other about the farmland he was able to buy because of Schaefer, who had helped change a law that allows Chinese ownership of land. The video ends with a call to “stop helping the Chinese buy our farms.”

“The ad is clearly meant to elicit fear among Missouri voters and depicts Chinese and Asian Americans as ‘the enemy,’” a group of Asian American organizations, including Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, the St. Louis Chapter of OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, the Missouri Asian American Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association of Metro St. Louis and Asian American Bar Association of Kansas City, said in a joint statement.

“The ad echoes the ‘Yellow Peril’ sentiment from darker times in our nation’s history which led to abhorrent legislation like the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese American internment camps,” advocates said.

Another ad, paid for by Citizens to Elect Kurt Schaefer for Attorney General, attacks Hawley and says he worked for terrorists.

“A major objective of the ad is to take advantage of anti-Muslim rhetoric and scare voters into fearing Muslim communities, including those of South Asian American and Asian-American heritage, which puts the lives of families and children in these communities in danger of possible hate crime,” the Asian American groups said.

Both campaigns denied association with the ads.