The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 71/No. 13      April 2, 2007

Anti-Black column in ‘AsianWeek’ widely protested
SAN FRANCISCO—A racist column by journalist Kenneth Eng, headlined "Why I Hate Blacks," published in the February 23 issue of the AsianWeek newspaper, was widely denounced at a March 2 forum here that featured a panel of editors and journalists from several of the Bay Area's newspapers oriented to the Asian and Black communities. The forum was held in San Francisco's Chinatown at the office of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance.

Eng, a 22-year-old New York-based writer, had a regular column in AsianWeek titled "God of the Universe." In the article that provoked an immediate uproar, Eng wrote, "Blacks hate us. Every Asian who has ever come across them knows that they take almost every opportunity to hurl racist remarks at us."

"Contrary to media depictions," Eng continued, "I would argue that blacks are weak-willed. They are the only race that has been enslaved for 300 years. It's unbelievable that it took them that long to fight back."

"Blacks are easy to coerce," Eng wrote. "This is proven by the fact that so many of them, including Reverend Al Sharpton, tend to be Christians."

In recent months, Eng had also written columns for AsianWeek headlined, "Why I Hate Asians" and "Proof That Whites Inherently Hate Us."

Immediately after Eng's column appeared in print, a storm of criticism was directed towards AsianWeek. The paper immediately pulled the column from its web site. Many Asians in the Bay Area were among the first to respond with outrage. Among those quoted in a February 27 San Francisco Chronicle article on the controversy was Ling-Chi Wang, retired chairman of the ethnic studies department at the University of California at Berkeley. Wang said there is an urgent need for Asian Americans to be aware of U.S. history and know that Asian American gains have come largely as a result of the efforts of Black people.

AsianWeek's editor announced February 28 that Eng had been fired. The paper that day issued a public apology for publishing the column.

Ted Fang, AsianWeek's editor-at-large, told the audience of 65 at the March 2 forum that the publication of the article set back the work of Bay Area civil rights organizations.

Willie Ratcliff, publisher of the San Francisco Bayview, told the forum that Eng had his facts wrong on everything he said about Blacks. "What about Toussaint L' Ouverture and the struggle for freedom in Haiti?" Ratcliff asked. "Eng is ignorant about the hundreds of revolts by slaves in this country. It's important for us to know the truth about each other's history."

After the journalists made brief presentations, the floor was opened for discussion. Among the more than 20 people who made brief comments was Milton Chee, a San Francisco rail worker. He noted how U.S. government acts of discrimination directed against Asians—like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882—helped reinforce Jim Crow segregation against Blacks. Chee added that the U.S. government's ban on allowing Asian immigration into the United States was reversed in the 1960s as a result of the civil rights revolution.

In its March 2-8 issue, AsianWeek devoted two full pages of letters denouncing Eng's column, and its publication, along with the paper's statement of apology.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home