pete hoekstra and the "yellow girl"

You've seen Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra's racist bullshit campaign ad. You've seen the accompanying website, which is even worse. It may come packaged as a pretty Asian girl, but this is some seriously xenophobic, calculated fear-mongering.

Of course Hoekstra insists the ad is "satirical" and not-at-all "racial."

Then his campaign certainly has some explaining to do. Somebody took a close look at the HTML code for the video on Hoekstra's "Debbie Spend-It-Now" website, and uncovered this curious label for the image of video's charming "Chinese" girl with the broken English: "yellowgirl."

[EDIT: The code has since been udpated to read "yellowshirtgirl." Ha.]

Yellow girl. Not "Chinese girl" or even "Asian girl." Just plain yellow girl. Rather tasteless, don't you think? Don't tell me this is about competing with China, and nothing to do with putting a face on a racialized "other." Or perhaps those two ideas are one in the same. More here: This Is So Classy: 'Yellow Girl.'

On top of the fact that the ad is so ridiculously stupid and poorly produced, the worst part is that it's dangerous. It's preying on fears of the foreign Asian other with the hopes that voters will go along with the vaguely threatening Oriental-ness of it all, packaged pretty in a shitty accent.

The fact hasn't escaped us that Hoekstra is running in Michigan, the same state where Vincent Chin was brutally murdered thirty years ago -- a victim of the racially-charged anti-Asian discrimination of the time. Can we really talk seriously about progress? More here: How Did Hoekstra Get So Much Wrong?

Organizations and individuals across the community, including OCA, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, have spoken out against the ad.

Meanwhile, there's an online petition calling for Hoekstra to pull the ad and issue a formal apology. You can sign it here.

UPDATE: On his Monday night show, Lawrence O'Donnell specifically called out the Asian American actress who appears in the ad, criticizing her choice to play a racial stereotype: Lawrence O'Donnell Targets Asian Actress In Pete Hoekstra Political Ad.

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