Senator Patty Kuderer used racist words on January 17th at a committee meeting, and we filed a complaint against Senator Patty Kuderer on January 20ty. The Secretary of the Senate’s sided with Senator Kuderer on January 22nd.
Determined to fight against racism towards Chinese Americans, we appealed to Senate Facilities and Operations Committee today. Below is our appeal:
Dear Senator McCoy and members of Senate Facilities and Operations Committee,
We’d like to appeal the Secretary of the Senate’s determination on our complaint against Senator Kuderer over her racist committee remarks.
On 1/17/2020, Senator Patty Kuderer used racist words “Chinese Fire Drill’ at a committee meeting. We learned about that incident, and followed the Senate’s procedure and filed a complaint with Secretary of the Senate on 1/20. We wanted Senator Kuderer to “issue an official apology to Chinese Americans”. — A fair request and should be easy to fulfill, right? No. Senator Kuderer refused. Secretary of Senate backed her up. Senator Kuderer gave a light-touch, “a lesson learned” narrative on 1/20 at another committee meeting, not an apology, and it was NOT addressed to Chinese Americans.
According to a TVW 1/17 video ( https://youtu.be/djq-l2ePAk4?t=45 ), Senator Kuderer was saying “… like a Chinese Fire Drill..” Then people in the room were laughing!!!
This is how we feel about that … it was like being humiliated in public, while the offender, and bystanders were watching and laughing. We were offended. We were insulted!
Senator Kuderer represents 48th LD, where 23.4% of the constituents are Asians, many of them are Chinese Americans. You’d expect her to know what would offend people in her district – if she truly cares about her constituents.
According to a TVW 1/20 video ( https://youtu.be/2NheX6i6vPU?t=55 ), Kuderer was saying “I actually want to apologize for an insensitive remark I made in committee last week.. (a colleague) had graciously and humbly pointed out to me, and it was quite a teachable moment… we are never too old to learn something new. I will certainly endeavor to be more mindful. In all the confusion that was happening on Friday – calling of witnesses – it was an attempt to be light hearted but sometimes, we don’t say things the way we really intend them to be.”
Unfortunately Senator Kuderer does not seem to get it. This is NOT about whether she learned a lesson, this is about recognizing that she offended a minority community!
Imagining if Senator Kuderer used the N-word, instead of “Chinese Fire Drill”, will Senate Facilities and Operations Committee let her get away with the same narrative on 1/20?
According to this article (https://www.edmondsbeacon.com/story/2020/01/16/news/complaint-alleging-racist-language-filed-against-lawmaker/22569.html ), Senator Kuderer apparently refused to apologize to us. And this made us even more furious.
“Andy McVicar, a senior Senate Democratic communications specialist, said in an email that Kuderer has spoken with an investigator and plans to let the apology she made in committee stand as her statement on the incident. ”
Senator Kuderer might have learned to not say those words in the future so that she would not get herself into trouble again. Yet, she has not learned (or does not care to learn) that those words offended and insulted Chinese Americans. That IS the difference. The apology should not be about her, it should be about the community she offended and insulted.
Secretary of Senate’s answer to our complaint was below… He considers that an apology without even addressing to the ones been offended a “sincere and genuine” apology? We beg to differ!
“We did take your complaint seriously; investigated it; verified Senator Kuderer’s public apology; and spoke with the senator directly. I’m sorry this doesn’t satisfy you but, as far as I’m concerned, the matter is closed. You are, of course, welcome to forward the link to her apology to anyone you wish. From my perspective it was sincere and genuine.
WA Asians For Equality
American Coalition for Equality