Republican Senate candidate Peter Yu defended his statement at a campaign event in Golden, Colo., last month, suggesting the #StopAsianHate movement has been “politically exaggerated.”
What happened: Speaking at an event hosted by the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans on July 20, Yu said he had never experienced anti-Asian discrimination amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado Times Recorder reported.
“Do you know how many times I wake up in the morning and am fearful of going outside? Never,” the candidate said. “Do you know how many times I’ve been attacked in the last year and a half because of COVID-19? Zero. Do you know how many people have spit on me or looked at me weird? None. The truth is, if you want to see racism, you’ll see it.”
He added, “The racism thing? It’s a lie.”
Howard Chou, co-founder and chair of Colorado Democrats Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Initiative, later issued a statement criticizing Yu’s comment, saying racism and violence against the AAPI community are real. Chou also called Yu out over how he wants to “perpetuate a myth that racism doesn’t exist and wants to blame survivors and victims.”
“As someone who has experienced hateful violence first hand and seen it expressed toward my whole family, I find Peter’s statements very shameful and shows in volume how out of touch he is. Peter does not speak for me nor many members of our AAPI community and should apologize and retract his statement immediately,” Chou said, adding the political candidate should apologize and retract his statement.
There were 44 cases of anti-Asian hate crimes reported in Colorado between March 2020 and February 2021, the Stop AAPI Hate report said.
The aftermath: Following the controversy, Yu defended his comment by saying the racism Asians are facing has been inflated to “a larger degree than what is happening across the country.”
He also clarified he had experienced racism before, backpedaling that racism does exist.
As for his comment on the racism is a lie, Yu explained he was referring to the narrative that “America as a whole is racist or that we have systemic racism.” He further claimed this idea is “perpetually being pushed by the left and the media.”
“I am a believer that racism is the product of the person and an individual heart, and not our nation as a whole,” Yu added.
Although Yu acknowledged the increase of crimes against people of Asian descent in major cities, such as New York, San Francisco and Seattle, the politician said, “Crime in all these areas, as well as the rest of the country, is up significantly against everyone else as well. It is just being publicized more when the attacks happen to Asians.”
In the rest of his statement, Yu said racism affects all societies, and he also made it clear that the issue happens "between all ethnicities, not just white on minorities."
Although there are always bad people living in different societies all around the world, he explains this “does not mean that every single person is racist nor does it mean that the entire country or world thinks in this manner.”
“You only have to look at the USA Olympic team over the last week and a half,” Yu added. “American citizens from all over the world, from all classes, from all races, are competing under the red, white, and blue; and we embrace them all.”
Who is Peter Yu: Born in Denver to Chinese immigrant parents who moved to the U.S. in 1969, Yu is running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) in 2022.
He ran in 2018, where he challenged Democratic candidate, Joe Neguse, Summit Daily reported.
Yu, a football scholarship recipient, went to Colorado State before moving to Fort Lewis College, where he received his bachelor’s degree in business.
Featured Image via LCR Colorado
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