Last week a Texas State Representative named Betty Brown (R-Terrell) told a young, Asian-American lawyer from Austin named Ramey Ko during a hearing on a voter-ID bill that if Asian Americans have trouble getting accurate ID’s they should change their names to something “easier for Americans to deal with.” Telling other people to change their names is rich coming from someone named Betty Brown.
Ko, a Democrat and founder of Asian Americans for Obama, said Asians often run into problems because some IDs show phonetic spellings or family names while others show Americanized names.
Brown asked him, “Do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily?”
Later, she asked: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”
Ko called the remarks “not overtly malicious but subtle racism.”
The Asian American Action Fund’s blog was not subtle in any way in calling out Representative Brown for her racist comments. The blog posted comments from Asian American community leaders blasting Brown. Among them California State Senator Leland Yee, a Chinese American: “Asking us to give up being ‘Chinese’ in order to become American is quite hurtful.” Yee said that Senator Brown does not understand the Asian American community is the same as other Americans, and that nobody should be asked to change their names to please another ethnicity.
Let Representative Brown know how you feel about this by contacting her office.
Room E1.404, Capitol Extension
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-2040 Fax
108 S. Pinkerton, Suite 105
Athens, TX 75751
(903) 677-6773 Fax
You can email her office using the form here.