Why Asian-Americans Should Not Accept NY Mayor De Blasio’s Apology

December 2, 2020

Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will go down as one of the most incompetent and racist mayors in New York history. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact.

After seven years and dozens of protests by Asian-Americans, Mayor De Blasio finally apologized for being wrong on two of several mistakes he’s made, however, his apology doesn’t seem sincere enough nor does his fake remorse.

David Lee reports that during De Blasio’s daily briefing, a news reporter named Arthur Chi’en asked him this question, “My question is one on race. You articulated the Tale of Two Cities early on. The question is which of the two cities does Asians belong to? And I ask this because your actions on specialized high schools, which was dropped, in effect, treated Asians as a class of New Yorkers who are deemed okay to take hard-earned opportunities from in their perspective, yet Asians are a minority and despite the myths, as you all know, the vast majority of Asians struggle as their fellow citizens that are African-American and Latinos do in the city with things like income and housing and education. So, the question is, in which of the two cities do Asians belong to?”

De Blasio: I apologize to members of the New York City Asian-American community who felt that the specialized high school vision was meant to exclude them. It was not. It was meant to help ensure that Black and Latino New Yorkers who are being excluded painfully, horribly from specialized high schools would have the opportunity, but not to in any other way, take away from another group. And we simply didn’t handle that right, and that’s my fault. I’ll take responsibility for that. But the issue is still very much alive, Arthur.”

So take away spots Asians EARNED and give them to unqualified and undeserving Black and Latino students who can’t pass an entrance exam? Yeah, that sounds like targeting Asians to me. Can Asians get accepted into the NBA and NFL without tryouts?

However, De Blasio’s apology means nothing. He’s not backing off. He promised he will get rid of the entrance exam known as the SHSAT in New York’s specialized schools, no matter what it takes.

According to David Lee, Arthur Chi’en asked him about Asian-Americans and the M/WBE Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise program. In July, because of the pandemic, the Mayor signed an executive order directing the M/WBE to focus on Black and Latinx entrepreneurs to help them find opportunities including government contracts and creating online networks for the subset of people of color. No Asians were mentioned. Councilmember Peter Koo tweeted “sick and tired of constantly having to remind this administration that we exist.” Justin Yu the president of the influential Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association similarly protested. This incident famously quoted Asians as “White adjacent.”

Weeks later the Mayor’s wife Chirlane McCray held a round table for the M/WBE and once again Asians were excluded from any mention and excluded in the press release only this time the mayor’s wife had to apologize. A new study by the University of Kansas found that Asian-Americans were affected the most by the unemployment caused by the pandemic and the China-flu rhetoric magnified the losses for Asian small business owners. Still, after all the criticism about being excluded the answer to Mr. Chi’en’s question “can you say right now that you will direct the M/WBE to include Asian businesses?” was essentially,- can’t say, I’ll get back to you. In other words a resounding NO.

According to David Lee, Asians are going beyond protesting. Their political legislative efforts have helped put the mayor’s SHSAT plans on hold for 7 years. The Chinatown community stopped their jail and all other community jails from being built putting his reform plans for Rikers on hold. The Flushing Main St. Busway has been put on hold. His school’s chancellor is being named in a bullying and discrimination lawsuit and the city itself has a federal civil rights lawsuit on its hands concerning specialized high schools. Asians are really showing signs of being motivated to run for office and to vote. Their issues are also encompassing other groups who are similarly fed up with many of the Mayor’s policies.

Feature Image via Queens Gazette

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