Statement on Ninth Circuit Korab COFA Case 4 16 14 (1)]]>
By Joy Messinger, March 31,2014, The Daily Dot
In comedy, there’s often a fine line between it comes to humor. Timing, language, the identities of the comedian—these can make a perfect joke or signify a terrible threat. So how did last night’s Twitter discussion about The Colbert Show’s misguided satire become open season on Asian women so quickly? And how does the violence of online behavior translate into the institutionalized oppression of offline politics?
It began when The Colbert Report tweeted out a provocative one-liner from one of the show’s segments meant to satirize Dan Snyder’s ignorant and insensitive move to create the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation,” itself a slap in the face to many individuals, organizations, and Native American/First Nations tribal communities who have long been demanding a change to the Washington football franchise’s name and mascot.
About an hour later, signal booster extraordinaire Suey Park had created and started tweeting #CancelColbertwith a rundown of why the show’s attempt at comedy was not funny. Thousands joined in (including myself) and for the next two hours, #CancelColbert was a national trending topic, eclipsing even the live-tweeters of Scandal. Tweets ranged from a history lesson of anti-Asian violence to those who spoke about why the segment and tweet triggered negative childhood memories.
As expected, white people from all over the Twitterverse also responded, using #CancelColbert to tell Asian Twitter that it was “okay” because he was making fun of Snyder’s unacceptable behavior; this was, after all, coming just weeks after Gawker spinoff Valleywag compared (and then brushed off backlash about) a new Internet dating startup to the mass sex trafficking of Korean “comfort women” during World War II, so I was not surprised.
From there, the responses got uglier. Twitter users started the hashtag #CancelSueyPark, which taken by itself might seem like a sarcastic play on words, but when accompanied with the rape and death threats she was receiving in real time was anything but clever.
I couldn’t bring myself to read through the full barrage of hatred in Suey’s mentions, and that the perceived anonymity of Twitter gives people the license to express sentiments they wouldn’t dare to in a face-to-face interaction.
However personal the attacks though, this is not just about the cyberbullying that Suey or other Asian women (as a fellow Tweeter points out) experienced last night or abuse they continued to receive today. It’s how enforced “harmlessness” of a culture of bullying and marginalization creates an environment in which people feel free to enact and institutionalize this abuse without fear of being held accountable.
Asian Twitter has been labeled as “overly sensitive” and is being told to laugh along with everyone else when in fact, but what gets lost when people are told to simply find the humor achieved at their expense is the fact that one “joke” labeled “satire” is part of a larger cultural acceptance of casual racism and xenophobia. When we decide as a culture that something as “innocuous” as othering Asian people and communities through humor is okay, then we perpetuate a social and political environment where lawmakers can pass policies that use anti-Asian rhetoric as a primary motivation.
What does this look like in practice? This week in South Dakota, Governor Daugaard signed HB 1162, a law specifically targeting Asian women and that seeks to combat sex-selective abortion, which even anti-choice organizers admit is not an identifiable problem. AsColorlines and the Associated Press note, two white male legislators were able to infuse their beliefs and attitudes about Asian women into the bill’s framing and language:
Rep. Don Haggar, R-Sioux Falls, suggested during a House debate that the bill was necessary because of an influx of immigrants to the state. And Rep. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, said that he spent 18 years in Asia in the military and believes parts of the world don’t value women as much as he values his daughters.
Instead of promoting reproductive justice, however, HB 1162 strips bodily autonomy and self-determination by scapegoating Asian women in the name of “equality.” Even more disheartening, research from the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) found that more than 60 bills like HB 1162 have been introduced at the state and federal level since 2009 and given this most recent legislative victory, it is unlikely the pace will slow.
It’s not just about a joke that Asian people were supposedto find funny. It’s also about a cyberbullying culture that Asian women are supposed to accept as the price of public engagement and a growing body of legislation that issupposed to help support gender equity, concerns that continue to remain ignored by a media that normalizes that marginalization. It’s easier to silence Asian women than to listen.
So it our humor that needs to evolve or is it the mainstream American culture’s understanding of identity, oppression, and justice? It’s not just that Asians and Asian Americans are demanding legitimacy on Twitter. We are fighting for our humanity in the offline world of our everyday lives.
Joy Messinger is an educator and activist for sexuality, reproductive justice, adoption, queerness, and Asian American feminism. Her writing can also be found at Gazillion Voices, an online magazine by and for adoptees and their allies.
South Dakota’s Ugly New Law Based On Racial Stereotypes About Asian Immigrants
By Tara Culp-Ressler
This week, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) approved an unnecessary abortion restriction that reinforces racial stereotypes about the Asian American community. House Bill 1162 bans abortions based on a fetus’ sex, and makes it a felony for doctors to perform this type of “sex-selective” procedure — based on the misperception that Asian women are more likely to terminate a pregnancy if they find out the fetus is a girl.
The lawmakers who push sex-selective abortion bans typically claim that it’s an important policy to preserve gender equality. And during the debate over HB 1162 in South Dakota, elected officials were particularly candid about the racial implications. As Mother Jones reported last month, Republican lawmakers in the state were very clear about their position that the bill was necessary because of South Dakota’s population of Asian immigrants.
“Let me tell you, our population in South Dakota is a lot more diverse than it ever was,” one GOP lawmaker, Rep. Don Haggar, said to explain his support for HB 1162. “There are cultures that look at a sex-selection abortion as being culturally okay. And I will suggest to you that we are embracing individuals from some of those cultures in this country, or in this state. And I think that’s a good thing that we invite them to come, but I think it’s also important that we send a message that this is a state that values life, regardless of its sex.”
In fact, this type of legislation is a solution in search of a problem. While female infanticide is an issue in some parts of the world, there’s absolutely no evidence that the Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals who live here in the U.S. are having abortions based on gender. There is no epidemic of sex-selective abortion among the AAPI community, and passing legislation to “fix” this nonexistent issue simply ends up damaging women of color. Ultimately, these laws scrutinize Asian American women based solely on their race.
South Dakota’s governor has signed a purposefully misleading bill that undermines our health as women and discriminates against us as Asian Americans Miriam Yeung, the executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, explained in a statement. “Our community has made it clear we don’t support these misleading, stigmatizing bans that hurt us and only serve to exacerbate the health disparities we already face. Nearly 2,000 women and men from South Dakota and around the country signed a petition condemning the racist legislation.”
Yeung’s organization has been standing up against sex-selective abortion bans for years. But, thanks to draft legislation on the issue written by the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life, over 60 sex-selective bills have been introduced at the state and federal level since 2009. Aside from South Dakota, seven other states have passed this policy into law.
Nearly 92 percent of all abortions take place before the fetus’ sex can even be determined. Abortion providers have warned that they have no idea how to enforce this type of sex-selective ban in practice.
Read the full story on the Think Progress website here.]]>
March 27, 2014
Contact: Andrea Hagelgans, ahagelgans@
Hypocritical bill creates mistrust between doctors and women
NEW YORK —South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has signed an anti-abortion bill that relies on racial stereotypes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
Just recently, South Dakota lawmakers made unsubstantiated claims that South Dakota’s Asian community is practicing sex-selective abortions. South Dakota’s Asian American population increased by 70 percent from 2000 to 2010.
Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and a leading advocate against these harmful types of bills, released the following statement:
“Once again, South Dakota is at the center of abortion politics. Instead of welcoming Asian American women, who are the backbones of their communities and families, South Dakota’s governor has signed a purposefully misleading bill that undermines our health as women and discriminates against us as Asian Americans.
“Our community has made it clear we don’t support these misleading, stigmatizing bans that hurt us and only serve to exacerbate the health disparities we already face. Nearly 2,000 women and men from South Dakota and around the country signed a petition condemning the racist legislation.
“If these legislators truly cared about AAPI women, they would support policies that help our community, like culturally competent sex education and laws to prevent sexual and domestic violence. These hypocritical bills are designed to ban abortion, plain and simple.”]]>
By Julianne Hing
“Our community has made it clear we don’t support these misleading, stigmatizing bans that hurt us and only serve to exacerbate the health disparities we already face,” NAPAWF executive director Miriam Yeung said in a statement. “If these legislators truly cared about AAPI women, they would support policies that help our community, like culturally competent sex education and laws to prevent sexual and domestic violence. These hypocritical bills are designed to ban abortion, plain and simple.”
Read the whole article on Colorlines here.]]>
BY MIRIAM YEUNG , OSCAR TILLMAN
Passed in 2011, Arizona’s law purportedly banning abortions based on sex or race in fact encourages doctors to racially profile women. It’s time the courts overturn it.
In 2011, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed HB 2443—a law that stigmatizes and discriminates against Black and Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) women. This law claims to protect women by banning abortions based on sex or race. In reality, although this measure is cloaked in the language of equality, it encourages doctors to racially profile a woman before determining whether to provide her a safe, legal medical service. Legislators have repeatedly invoked ugly racial stereotypes to advance these bans—pointing to the “backwards beliefs” of AAPI women as the justification for banning abortion based on sex and the desire of Black women to “de-select” members of their own race as the motivation for banning abortion based on race. There can be no doubt that these offensive stereotypes hurt women of color, eroding trust between patient and doctor in communities that already face too many health disparities.
Last October, a federal district court judge refused to hear our challenge to this racist law. This week, represented by the ACLU, we appealed that decision because this Arizona law—and others like it—profile Black and AAPI women in order to undermine their personal, private health care decisions. Like similar laws, this one is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and threadbare clothing at that: it enshrines blatant discrimination.
At the crux of the court’s previous dismissal of our case was a misreading of the law. The court held that we couldn’t even bring our claim in the first place because legally sanctioned racial stereotypes do not harm us in ways that the Constitution recognizes. This is plainly wrong.
As women of color have known since before the founding of the republic, and as the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized for more than a century, racial stereotypes are deeply harmful to individuals, to their communities, and to society as a whole. Racial stereotypes are responsible for the deaths of Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, and countless other young black men; the violence against South Asians after 9/11; and the internment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II.
HB 2443 institutionalizes harmful racial stereotypes because it explicitly relies on the assumption that Black and AAPI women decide to end a pregnancy for certain (disparaged) reasons, and that they do so simply because they are Black and AAPI women. For example, Arizona legislators cited reports of sex-selective abortion in India and China, and then claimed that banning abortions based on sex was necessary because “people from those countries and from those cultures are moving” to Arizona, even though Arizona’s own data shows zero evidence of sex-selective abortion. In the South Dakota legislature, which passed a similar ban just last week, the rhetoric was equally xenophobic and infuriating, openly suggesting that all AAPI women in the state should be considered suspect.
This law also implies that AAPI and Black women in particular are incapable of deciding whether to end a pregnancy in a way that is intelligent, thoughtful, and worthy of respect.
It couldn’t be clearer that these laws don’t just advance racial stereotypes. They are motivated by them as well. And we know they hurt Black and APPI women. Through conversations with AAPI women in Arizona, we know that HB 2443 makes women feel looked down upon by their friends and neighbors simply because of their color and country of origin. The impacts of these stereotypes and stigma cause real harm to our communities.
Unfortunately, these bans are part of a growing anti-choice trend across the country. Since 2009, more than 60 similar bills have been introduced—including at the federal level. There are now eight states with similar laws, and it was the second most-proposed abortion ban in 2013.
Even as they co-opt the language of equality, these bills have nothing to do with helping women or people of color; they are about shaming women who have abortions and undermining women’s health—and they must be stopped.
Miriam Yeung is executive director of the National Asian Pacific America Women’s Forum. The Rev. Oscar Tillman is president of the Maricopa County Branch of the NAACP]]>
Click here to tell the South Dakota legislature that Asian Americans are watching and we won’t let this kind of racism pass quietly under the radar!
The bill passed the South Dakota House last week by an overwhelming 60 to 10 majority and is being taken up in the Senate.
Stace Nelson, one of the Representatives that voted in favor of the bill warned of an invasion of abortion-seeking Asians in South Dakota:
“Let me tell you, our population in South Dakota is a lot more diverse than it ever was. There are cultures that look at a sex-selection abortion as being culturally okay. And I will suggest to you that we are embracing individuals from some of those cultures in this country, or in this state.”
This measure, like other similar measures we are seeing across the country, are nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The people behind them have never been friends to women, and the measure they propose has been deemed ineffective and a violation of human rights by experts on the issue.
We can’t let this kind of rhetoric go unanswered. If it passes, South Dakota will become the 8th state to pass a racist sex-selection abortion ban, setting a dangerous precedent.
Click here to tell South Dakota that we’re watching!]]>
By Molly Redden, Mother Jones | Tue Feb. 25, 2014 3:00 AM GMT
GOP lawmaker: We need to ban sex-based abortions because Asians live here now
South Dakota already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. But last week, Republican legislators there moved to make it even harder for women to have abortions—with a law they argue is necessary to stop an influx of Asian immigrants from aborting their female children.
On Wednesday, by a vote of 60 to 10, the South Dakota House passed a bill that would ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus, or “sex-selective” abortions. Speaking in favor of the bill, Stace Nelson, a Republican state representative running for the US Senate, hearkened back to his time living in Asia as a Marine. “Many of you know I spent 18 years in Asia,” Nelson said. “And sadly, I can tell you that the rest of the world does not value the lives of women as much as I value the lives of my daughters.”
Don Haggar, another Republican state representative, warned that the values Nelson observed in Asia had already taken root  in South Dakota. “Let me tell you, our population in South Dakota is a lot more diverse than it ever was,” Haggar said. “There are cultures that look at a sex-selection abortion as being culturally okay. And I will suggest to you that we are embracing individuals from some of those cultures in this country, or in this state. And I think that’s a good thing that we invite them to come, but I think it’s also important that we send a message that this is a state that values life, regardless of its sex.”
Seven  states  already prohibit sex-selective abortions. In five states, the bans passed after the 2010 elections that swept Republicans into a record number of statehouses. South Dakota’s ban, which is now before the state Senate, would require physicians to ask women seeking abortions whether they are doing so because of the sex of the fetus. If a woman responds yes, her physician must refuse to perform the abortion, or else risk prison and fines.
Legislators who push these measures often tout them as feminist bills. But anti-abortion rights activists in South Dakota have been unusually explicit in arguing that it is necessary to ban sex-selective abortions because of the state’s burgeoning Asian population.
In early February, Spencer Cody, the vice president of South Dakota Right to Life, testified  before the House judiciary committee that due to the state’s changing demographics, sex-selective abortion has become “a South Dakota problem.”
In a PowerPoint presentation he showed to the judiciary committee, Cody referred to studies that found Asian American families tend to have more male female than female children. He then wrote, “1.1% or approximately 9,200 South Dakotans come from ethnic backgrounds that are known to practice sex selection,” and linked to US Census data  estimating that in 2012, 1.1 percent of South Dakotans were of Asian descent.
Another slide read, “Ethnic backgrounds that are known to practice sex selection account for up to 3.9% of all abortions in South Dakota.” It referred to South Dakota Department of Health statistics  showing that 3.9 percent of abortion patients in 2011 reported their race as “other,” that is, not white, black, or Native American. “It’s possible that this could be affecting as many as 24 abortions a year,” Cody concluded—assuming every woman who reported her race as “other” was Asian, and every one of them was seeking an abortion only because of the fetus’s sex.
“We’ve been saying that these bills are wolves in sheep’s clothing. But in this case, I think the wolf has left off the sheep’s clothing.”
“The racism and the stereotypes and the stigma is laid so bare here,” says Miriam Yeung, the director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. The group has long argued  that that sex-selective abortion bans perpetuate negative stereotypes about Asian American women. “We’ve been saying that these bills are wolves in sheep’s clothing. But in this case, I think the wolf has left off the sheep’s clothing.”
Haggar tells Mother Jones that he was not singling out any one ethnic group—although he specifically called out Nelson’s Asian travels in his remarks Wednesday.
Cody, asked why he dwelt on the number of Asians living in South Dakota, tells Mother Jones that he is confident that Americans of many backgrounds practice sex-selective abortions, but the only studies available focus on Asian Americans.
“We don’t have any hard data that says, ‘This number of sex-selection abortions are taking place in South Dakota,’” Cody says. “So we just used some demographic data. That’s really the only data we have to go on…The question, if this [ban] would actually affect any South Dakotans, is one we can’t answer yet.”
But Sneha Barot, a senior public policy associate with the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion-rights think tank, argues  that studies linking Asian American women to sex-selective abortions are “limited and inconclusive.” For example, two  studies  Cody cites found that in some Asian American groups, couples are more likely to have a son as their third child if their first two children are female. But neither study concluded this pattern was the result of sex-selective abortions.
Americans United for Life, the legal arm of the anti-abortion movement, cites these studies, too, in suggesting that Asian American women seek abortions because they prefer boys over girls. As a solution, the group promotes model legislation  for sex-selective abortion bans. But anti-abortion rights activists generally avoid references to such stereotypes about Asian women. Instead they characterize these bans as victories for feminism. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) called one proposed ban  a measure “to protect little girls from the violence of sex-selection abortion.” National Right to Life, in a letter to House members preparing to vote on a similar bill in 2012, asked legislators to think of the bill as a way to combat “a war on baby girls.”
Peggy Gibson, a Democratic state representative who voted against the South Dakota bill, said the right-to-lifers are pushing a phony issue. “I did not hear the sponsor of the bill give one iota of evidence that a [sex-selective] abortion has taken place in South Dakota. This bill…is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”
Source URL: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/south-dakota-stace-nelson-ban-sex-
Many thanks to our partners at the Coalition for Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia for testifying against the bill and to all our members who took action and contacted Virginia lawmakers!]]>
January 22nd marked the 41st anniversary of the landmark case, Roe v. Wade. President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to women’s health and NAPAWF celebrated with our Roe photo campaign with sisters, activists, leaders telling the world that they are in the 78% of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) that support some form of legal abortion. It’s not too late for you to turn in your picture declaring you’re part of the 78%!
Immigration reform is still a top priority for activists across the country. Last year, leaders Eliseo Medina (SEIU), Dae Joong Yoon (NAKASEC), Cristian Avila (Mi Familia Vota) and Lisa Sharon Harper (Sojourners), fasted with Fast4Families for 22 days with nothing but water to highlight the moral crisis and suffering caused by our broken immigration system. NAPAWF sisters joined the thousands fasting in solidarity for the month of December, 34 sisters each taking a day to fast for 24 hours and passing on the baton to the next sister. We believe that our collective actions and raised voices can send a message to politicians that our hunger for justice persists despite their inaction.
This week, Republicans in Congress are expected to release principles stating their support for a path to legal status, but not citizenship, for many of the 11 million undocumented adults living in the shadows. For undocumented immigrants who came here as young children, Republicans are expected to offer a path to citizenship. Asian immigrants to the U.S. now outnumber Latino immigrants, and women and children make up the majority of the 11 million. NAPAWF is working hard to ensure the concerns of AAPI women and their families are addressed in this debate.
The House is expected to vote on HR 7, a sweeping anti-choice bill, this week. Instead of proposing measures to address income inequality, conservatives are reinforcing inequality by making restrictions on abortion coverage for poor women who qualify for Medicaid permanent, and also extending the restrictions to private markets. This is another mean-spirited attempt to interfere with a woman’s personal decision-making, one that falls hardest on women who are struggling to get by. Over 1 million Asian American women are living in poverty. We’re working with the All* Above All campaign to stop HR 7 and to restore and sustain abortion coverage for low income women.
January 8th marked the 50th anniversary on the “War on Poverty” which led to the creation of social safety net programs like Medicaid, Head Start and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. These programs and gains in access to healthcare and reproductive rights have helped women balance raising a family and pursing economic and educational opportunities. A war on poverty and the “war on women” go hand in hand. Today, reproductive health attacks, like the Hyde amendment, affect poor women and women of color the most. See NAPAWF’s new infographic on how reproductive health restrictions affect AAPI women.
Jan 8th- NAPAWF applauds President Obama’s nomination of Chris Lu as the next Deputy Secretary of the Department of Labor. Lu will be the second Asian American to be nominated to a deputy secretary position. Lu is currently a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Presidency and Congress. He started his career in public service in 1997, working for Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He eventually became acting chief of staff of Obama’s Senate office before moving to the Administration. During his time in the Administration, he also served as the Co-Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
On January 24th, a federal judge struck down a 2011 North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to perform an ultrasound and explain it to a woman before having an abortion, arguing it violated the constitutional right to free speech of doctors. North Carolina has the third fastest-growing AAPI population in the country.
Under the legislation — which took effect in October 2011 — an abortion cannot be performed unless a woman receives state-specified information about the procedure, an ultrasound and a description of the ultrasound image. The woman does not have to watch the ultrasound screen or listen to the description, but she had to sign a document acknowledging that the description was provided. The document had to be kept on file for at least seven years.
On Jan 16th, a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision last June that struck down a key component of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
This bill includes modern protections on communities of color including protecting language-minority voters with a language-assistance provision. New provisions will allow language-minority communities, like AAPI communities, to combat potentially discriminatory tactics. Though women of color are voting at increasing rates— voter turnout rates for AAPI women doubled since 2000—we are more at risk of disenfranchisement as attacks on voting rights have persisted.
On January 24th, Marlise Munoz was taken off life support and released to her husband, Erick Munoz after an 8-week battle between her family and the hospital. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed in her home in November. After ruling her brain dead, following Texas law, the hospital kept Munoz on life support against the wishes of her family, in order to “continue the pregnancy on Munoz’s behalf.” Munoz had expressed that if she were ever to end up in this state, she would not want to be kept on life support. The hospital finally obeyed a court ruling to remove Munoz from mechanical support. Read more about thee dehumanizing pregnancy exclusion laws here.
On January 23rd, an Oklahoma judge ruled that a state law designed to make it more difficult to access emergency contraception in the state is unconstitutional, and permanently blocked the state from enforcing it. The ruling resulted from a hearing challenging HB 2226. The law, passed last spring, attempted to reinstate restrictions on access to emergency contraception that have been removed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We know AAPI women already face barriers to accessing contraception and there is evidence they are less likely than other women to use it. We are watching this issue because access to emergency contraception is important for AAPI women—the last thing we need is another obstacle to reproductive health.]]>