With the primary elections coming up on Aug. 17, we want to showcase the Asian Americans who are running for office in this week’s issue. It is a sticky situation because Northwest Asian Weekly doesn’t endorse candidates during the primaries. So while we want to show our readers that Asian Americans are trying to create a place for themselves in politics, we don’t want to seem like we prefer a candidate solely because he or she is Asian — especially when that is truly not the case.
This leads us to the theme of this week’s editorial: inclusiveness, its importance, and why we should be more aware of it.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has been a controversial figure this week (see the story on page 4). He has publicly accused Major League Baseball (MLB) of having discriminatory practices. He said Asian players who come to the United States to play for the MLB get preferential treatment over Latinos. For instance, Asians get translators, while Latinos are pressured to learn English by themselves.
The White Sox aren’t having any of it. They came out with a statement that said, “This is an issue Ozzie Guillen obviously feels very passionately about. Ozzie certainly has his own experiences as a player, coach, and manager, and is entitled to his own opinions, but the Chicago White Sox believe his views are incorrect.”
Though Guillen could have worded his comments a little more eloquently, we have to disagree with the White Sox and give Guillen some credit. Just because he worded things in a controversial and confrontational way does not mean it’s right to belittle his opinion.
After all, he has a point. Many former MLB players like Nomar Garciaparra and Bobby Valentine have publicly supported Guillen’s comments.
A recent New York Times story pointed out that Japanese Hisanori Takahashi has an official interpreter when he speaks to reporters. However, when Dominican Jenrry Mejia speaks to reporters, Alex Cora, a teammate, has to be the translator.
Though this issue had the potential to create strife between Asians and Latinos, we are glad to say that something positive has come from Guillen’s comments. It has sparked debate and dialogue.
So often as Asian Americans, we get stuck in the mode of pushing for more privileges and more rights for ourselves that we forget that there are instances where Asians are not the disadvantaged party.
Guillen has reminded us that we don’t fight for the rights of Asians because we are Asian, we fight against inequity — regardless of ethnicity. We want our readers to think about this when they fill out their ballots in a few weeks. Take care in choosing a candidate. Don’t choose one simply because of the color of his or her skin.
We can all take a page from Guillen’s book. He is a public figure who is not afraid to stand up and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t right.’ Baseball is as mainstream as it gets. Many of its fans are young. Many of its fans probably do not think about race and ethnicity like we do on a daily basis. Guillen did something wonderful — he made ethnicity a topic of conversation for these people.
He’s also sticking to his words.
After the White Sox released its statement, Guillen responded with, “They might think I was incorrect. I know I wasn’t incorrect. I don’t mind that. I don’t feel guilty about anything. I don’t feel like I owe anybody an apology.” ♦