It seems that Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-32) is keeping dropping to political new lows. The recent records uncovered via the Public Records Act (PRA) show Rep. Ryu accused Senator Keith Wagoner of “cultural appropriation” for sponsoring SB 5264, the Americans of Chinese Descent History Month bill. In her March 5th, 2022 email to the House Democrat Caucus, Ryu said that “SB 5264 was [c]ultural appropriation, especially when we have Members of Color who could have easily carried this bill”.
By Ryu’s logic, only legislators of color can sponsor bills related to people of color. This is threatening our representative democracy and will effectively create a segregated legislature in Olympia. Elected officials are in Olympia to represent the constituents of their district, regardless of race or ethnicity. Imagine a legislator telling his/her constituents that he/she can’t sponsor the bill they want because he/she is not the right race. Ryu may fail to represent her constituents. However, she is in no position to tell other legislators how to represent their constituents.
And contrary to Rep. Ryu’s false accusation, Senator Wagoner is one of the most qualified legislators in Olympia to sponsor such a bill. Senator Wagoner himself is a “person of color” (his grandparents were Hispanic). And his wife is “Chinese” born in the Republic of China. His kids are ABC. As a son-in-law, Senator Wagoner is part of the Chinese American community.
In comparison, Rep. Ryu’s far-fetched ties to the Chinese American community are laughable. Having parents who lived in China in the past or having lived with Chinese immigrants in Brunei in co-housing does not entitle her to the credentials to represent the Chinese American community or, worse, decide for the Chinese American community, especially when she repeatedly stabbed the community that opened their arms to her parents in the back. Ryu’s amendment to SB 5264 effectively eliminated American of Chinese Descent History Month. As the 6th grade student, Emily Shi, pointed out, “If Americans of Chinese Descent History Month is conjoined with AAPI Month, the result will be the same as the current situation, and won’t make a difference. If Chinese Americans got their own history month, people would think about their history. ”
Rep. Cindy Ryu’s accusation is wrong, divisive, and a direct threat to our republic. She needs to be called out and condemned.