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Republican Lawmaker to Asian-Americans: I’m Not Gonna Learn Chinese, So Can’t You Change Your Funny Names? April 9, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Electoral Fraud, Race, Racism.
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Posted by Tana Ganeva, AlterNet at 12:44 PM on April 9, 2009.

During a hearing on voter ID legislation, Texas Republican Betty Brown said Americans of Asian descent should “simplify” their names
On Tuesday, the Texas legislature heard arguments on voter ID legislation that would require photo ID — or two non-photo IDs — at the polls. An obvious necessity, of course, since everyone in the U.S. loves voting so much that there are scores of people clamoring to do it illegally. (In fact, there is no evidence of voter ID fraud in Texas).

 

 

Democratic lawmakers and several voting experts brought up the good — and oft-repeated — points that a) voter ID laws are a fake solution to a non-existent problem, and b) they disenfranchise poor, minority voters. (You know, the ones that tend to NOT vote Republican.)

 

 

Republicans, in turn, kept pushing the möbius strip argument that while there is a) no evidence of voter fraud b)voter fraud is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. 

 

 

Then, Rep. Betty Brown from Terrell, Texas turned the Republican position from absurd and subtly racist to really absurd and overtly racist. Following a presentation on the voting difficulties faced by Americans of Asian descent, whose legal names don’t always match their everyday names, Brown said the following:

 

 

 

 

Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?

 

 

Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?

 

 

 

 

Yep. That’s what she said. You know what’s fun? Thinking of Brown’s statement as one of those “What’s Wrong With This Picture” puzzles. I have this so far: 1) “learn Chinese” — actually, at issue are Americans of Asian — not just Chinese — descent 2) “you and your citizens” — in fact, the people under discussion are American citizens 3) The assumption that descendants of immigrants should accommodate the ignorance of some Americans by changing their names!

 

 

Asked to issue an apology by Democrats excited that Republicans are doing their work for them, Brown responded by … saying something else that was racially insensitive. A spokesperson for the Rep. grumbled that Democrats are making too big a deal of the issue and the Rep. was merely trying to resolve an ID problem. “They want this to just be about race,” the flack said, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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