Michigan representative has apologized after being called out for using an assortment of shocking anti-Asian slurs against her opponent at the end of a local primary last week.
On the day of the election, Rep. Bettie Cook Scott, an African-American woman, was overheard employing some extremely offensive language to describe her opponent, Rep. Stephanie Chang, an Asian-American woman, as well as Asians in general. The Detroit Metro Times gives a rundown of Scott’s racist remarks:
In the early morning at Bethany Lutheran Church in Detroit, Rep. Scott called one of Rep. Stephanie Chang’s campaign volunteers an “immigrant,” saying “you don’t belong here” and “I want you out of my country.”
Later on in the day, Rep. Scott was talking to a voter and said “these immigrants from China are coming over and taking our community from us.” Further, she said it “disgusts” her “seeing black people holding signs for these Asians and not supporting their own people.”
In the early evening at East English Village Preparatory Academy, Rep. Scott approached another campaign’s volunteer and told her not to vote for the “ching-chang,” apparently referring to Rep. Chang. She was overheard telling multiple voters “Vote for me. Don’t vote for the ching-chong!” She also told Rep. Chang’s campaign staff that she called Chang’s volunteers “ching-chongs,” saying “I called them ching-chongs. That’s what they are!”
In addition, Chang’s husband, Sean Gray, is African-American. He says that Scott had called him a “fool” for having married Chang.
The paper’s report on Scott’s remarks quickly went viral yesterday, leading to outrage on social media and calls for an apology from local groups.
“These comments are offensive to all Asian-Americans,” Chang told the Metro Times. “It isn’t about me. It’s about an elected official disrespecting entire populations, whether they be Asian-American, immigrant, or residents of Sen. District 1 or [Cook’s] own current house district.”
Later on Thursday, Scott issued an apology through her representative, saying:
I deeply regret the comments I made that have proven hurtful to so many. Those are words I never should have said.
I humbly apologize to Representative Chang, her husband, Mr. Gray, and to the broader Asian American community for those disparaging remarks. In the divisive age we find ourselves in, I should not contribute further to that divisiveness.
I have reached out to Representative Chang to meet with her so that I may apologize to her in person. I pray she and the Asian American community can find it in their hearts to forgive me.
Chang ended up winning the Democratic primary for state Sen. District 1 with 49 percent of the vote. Scott came in third with only 11 percent of the vote.