Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang drew backlash for urging fellow Asian Americans to display more “American-ness.”
In a Washington Post editorial on April 1, he called on them to avoid confrontation and do acts of goodwill like volunteering and helping neighbors.
“Being ‘the good Asian’ has not fared well for Asian Americans,” said Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. “We don’t have to prove our worth and that we belong, that we’re exceptional. And we certainly don’t have to believe that this is something that we should ignore.”
By the evening of April 2, more than 6,000 tweets had turned “Andrew Yang” into a trending name, with people criticizing Yang for suggesting that the burden should be on Asian people in the United States to prove that they deserve to be in the country.
One person criticized Yang for saying Japanese Americans during World War II “volunteered for military duty at the highest possible levels to demonstrate that they were Americans” as part of his argument.
“This rhetoric is extremely dangerous and takes me back to the WWII camps, when Japanese Americans were encouraged to display their patriotism as a response to being treated like prisoners,” the person wrote on Twitter.
Yang suspended his presidential campaign in February. His spokesman has declined to comment on the op-ed backlash.