OCA Condemns Offensive ‘Orientals’ Statement By Rep. Mike Bost

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

6 March 2017

CONTACT:  Nick Lee | Senior Communications Associate

202 223 5500 | nlee@ocanational.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates condemns the offensive statement by Representative Mike Bost, in which he used the offensive term ‘Orientals’ and compared recent town halls to torture in Communist China.

In an interview last week with The Southern Illinoisian, Representative Mike Bost of Illinois compared the protests seen at recent town halls around the country with the ‘struggle sessions’ that used to occur in Mao-era China. ‘Struggle sessions’ were a form of torture intended to shame opposition to the government, sometimes resulting in the deaths of the subjects of this torture. Bost told the Illinoisian, “The amount of time that I have at home is minimal, I need to make sure that it’s productive. You know the cleansing that the Orientals used to do where you’d put one person out in front and 900 people yell at them? That’s not what we need. We need to have meetings with people that are productive.”

Bost later issued statement to CNN in response, saying, "I used a poor choice of words in describing the coordinated disruptions taking place across the country. While there was no malicious intent, I regret that my words may have distracted from an important point. When the booing and shouting drowns out the conversation we're trying to have with our constituents, it becomes that much harder to govern. It's time for Republicans and Democrats to get back to the point where we can disagree on the issues but give everyone a chance to have their voice heard."

“Oriental is an offensive term used to project mysticism and danger of Asian communities. This term is a reminder of the Yellow Peril era where terms like Oriental were deployed to remove Asian people from the common definition of American and justify discriminatory legislation like the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Alien Land Law,” said Vicki Shu, OCA’s Vice President of Public Affairs. “It is strange that he would choose this language when he voted in favor of Congresswoman Meng’s legislation to eliminate the usage of the word “oriental” from federal policy language, knowing full well of its offensiveness.”

“On behalf of the members of the OCA – St. Louis Chapter, some of whom are constituents of Congressman Bost, we are extremely disappointed to see a member of Congress using racial pejoratives to cover for their lack of engagement with constituents. The term Oriental is hurtful and outdated, and we are currently requesting a meeting with his office to discuss this matter,” said Caroline Fan, President of the OCA – St. Louis Chapter.

Members can directly call Congressman Bost’s DC office at (202) 225-5661.

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).

 

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