An Open Letter to President Obama

January 12, 2014

Dear President Obama:

The Chinese Alliance for Equality, along with other Chinese American organizations dedicated to protecting civil rights and improving racial equality, is writing to respond to the White House’s inadequate investigation to the petition against the Jimmy Kimmel Show. We appreciate your attention but are disheartened and disappointed by your office’s stance.

First, the response completely ignored the petitioners as Chinese Americans who are deeply troubled by the impact of broadcasting a prerecorded show advocating racial hatred on national TV. The White House mistakenly associated our petition for civil rights with China’s rise, which is NOT related to one of the largest protests of Chinese Americans. ABC’s apology came only after protests in 27 cities. We filed the petition and protested because Chinese Americans have long endured unspeakable exclusions and discrimination, and we know it is us who bear the consequence of racial baiting and scapegoating. Immediately after ABC’s broadcast, Chinese American students were harassed in school by others who were chanting “kill all the Chinese”. It is the duty of elected government to protect people from such harmful psychological effects. We are Americans who feel more fearful than offended.

Second, the White House said that ABC had “detailed several changes in its program review process.” Yet to this day, we the petitioners have not seen any such “detailed changes” published anywhere. Could the White House share with us what substantive procedures have thus been implemented by the ABC network?

Third, we understand that freedom of speech is enshrined in the First Amendment, but no freedom is absolute without boundary. The speech that incites lawless action or inflammatory words that are injurious or might cause breach of peace are banned by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the past. Hence, public advocacy of killing on national TV is not necessarily protected “free speech” under the Constitution. The White House, with its administrative and moral authority, should make concerted effort in condemning such hate speech, promoting sensitivity toward minority issues, and educating our younger generation toward responsible behavior.

Finally, we have not questioned mainstream opinion. We believe the American public is peace loving. Yet we wonder if a speech with such explicit and outrageous racial hatred is not condemned, what a message the White House is sending to minorities in America. This trend will push Chinese Americans further away and smash any hope of equality, a key American value. Other minority groups are also watching and evaluating the consequences. The long term damage to the unity of the nation is irreparable.

We hereby reach out to your office, to the media and public figures. Let’s join hands in building a stronger nation that unites all its communities. A meaningful step would be to establish a Chinese American week to commemorate the historical injustice of the Chinese Exclusions Act and to celebrate the contributions made by generations of Chinese Americans. Please do not hesitate to contact us as we are eager to engage in more concrete communication with your office.


Chinese Alliance for Equality ( [email protected] )
Asian Americans for Political Advancement
Boston Forward
Chinese Young Professionals Networking
DFW Chinese Alliance
Greater Philadelphia United Chinese American Chamber of Commerce
Houston Chinese Alliance
World Association of Chinese Elites

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