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Tuesday February 7, 2012

Asian Community Speaks Out Against the Racially Insensitive Super Bowl Ad

John Lee, National Association of Asian MBAs (NAAMBA)

New York, NY - An average of 111.3 million viewers watched the 2012 Super Bowl. With the election season in full swing, politicians are expected to take out television ad spots during the Super Bowl in an effort to reach a large audience. What we don’t expect from our elected or future politicians however, is to forgo any sense of responsibility and decency,  just to score mere political points. But don’t tell that to the U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra who ran a 30-second campaign ad against his Democratic Senate rival Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, featuring an Asian woman speaking broken English. The young woman, riding her bike through rice paddies is seen saying “Debbie spend so much American money, you borrow more and more from us. You’re economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs...”

Regardless of what the underlying political message Hoekstra was trying to get across, this racially charged and highly offensive ad has caused a firestorm within the Asian community and has caused a political firestorm for Hoekstra, and rightly so. Rep. Judy Chu, D-California., the chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus said “I am appalled at the Hoekstra campaign’s offensive and insensitive Super Bowl ad that relies heavily on negative Asian stereotypes.” The Michigan Chapter of the non-partisan Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote also released a statement condemning the ad as “very disturbing.”

The National Association of Asian MBAs (NAAMBA), an organization dedicated to the empowerment and advancement of Pan-Asians, strongly condemns Hoekstra for conceptualizing and running this insensitive and downright offensive ad. NAAMBA  stands with individuals and organizations that have spoken out and continue to speak out against the ad. NAAMBA is sending a complaint letter to Hoekstra to voice strong condemnation of the ad, to demand an apology to the Asian community and to ask that all planned future airings of the ad be halted.

The ad is currently set to run over the next two weeks on cable TV shows targeted at GOP voters.

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