the fixers

Asian-American Political Involvement - A Fuller Perspective
As new details emerge almost daily about improper campaign contributions from foreign Asian business interests, Asian Americans are angry about being implicated in the controversy through guilt-by-association.

Although only about twenty percent of the money raised by former DNC official John Huang came from foreign sources, the heated rhetoric about the "Asian connection" makes no distinction between those improper donations and the other eighty percent of legitimate donations from Asian Americans.

That rhetoric has led to the resurrection of negative Asian stereotypes in the media and exacerbated a revival of anti-Asian sentiment connected to the rise of Pacific Rim economic and political power. Prominent Asian Americans say this controversy has undermined thirty years of their hard political work to be recognized as legitimate citizens and not as foreign nationals.

In the following interviews, two nationally-respected Asian American leaders discuss the campaign finance controversy from their community's perspective:

Ling-chi Wang, a University of California, Berkeley professor, is a noted expert on Asian American affairs. He heads Asian Americans for Campaign Finance Reform, a group calling for a full, impartial investigation of Huang's activities, appointment of a special prosecutor, real campaign finance reform and the defusing of anti-Asian rhetoric.

Former Congressman Norman Mineta, now a vice president at Lockheed Martin, is leading a national effort to stop the Asian-bashing fueled by this controversy. Mineta, who also chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Institute, is, himself, one of the victims of the fallout. He was on the short list for Secretary of Transportation but was removed because of his last name.

These interviews were conducted by Linda Jue, a San Francisco-based journalist who reports on social issues, including Asian American issues. Her work has appeared in theLos Angeles Times Syndicate, GEO magazine, Toronto Globe and Mail, and, on "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour," KQED-TV and other outlets.

home | fixers game | interviews | special reports | cartoons | "show us the money" | press | discussion
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation
PBS Online