Joe Dunne: Stop Racist Scapegoating

Joe Dunne

Hochichin_cropped

Lewiston, Maine landlord Joe Dunne created and hung these banners on his buildings ahead of next month’s mayoral election:

Joe Dunne's "Don't Vote for Ho Chi Chin: Vote for more jobs not more welfare" poster with stars and hammer-and-sickle symbols. It also includes a caricature of Ho Chi Minh.

Dunne has a right to support the candidate of his choice. However, the racist caricature and red-baiting lowers the standard for political discourse in Lewiston, and beyond.

Joe Dunne might say the signs are about “communist” policies. But the caricature -- and the McCarthyist throwback -- point to something other than policy. Rhetoric like this strokes racism and xenophobic groupthink. It’s a cynical distraction from real talk about policy and puts the spotlight on a candidate’s racial makeup instead.

Asians and Asian Americans have long been portrayed as perpetual foreigners, and this characterization has been used to profile, exclude, and even attack them. Both Democrats and Republicans alike have denounced the signs, pointing out that they play into a shameful American legacy of “yellow peril” -- representing Asians as a threat to the United States.

That’s why racist scapegoating has no place in Maine politics. Tell Joe Dunne to keep the signs down.

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To: Joe Dunne
From: [Your Name]

Lewiston, Maine landlord Joe Dunne created and hung these banners on his buildings ahead of next month’s mayoral election:

Dunne has a right to support the candidate of his choice. However, the racist caricature and red-baiting lowers the standard for political discourse in Lewiston, and beyond.

Joe Dunne might say the signs are about Ben Chin’s “communist” policies. But the caricature -- and the McCarthyist throwback -- point to something other than policy. Rhetoric like this strokes racism and xenophobic groupthink. It’s a cynical distraction from real talk about policy and puts the spotlight on a candidate’s racial makeup instead.

Asians and Asian Americans have long been portrayed as perpetual foreigners, and this characterization has been used to profile, exclude, and even attack them. Both Democrats and Republicans alike have denounced the signs, pointing out that they play into a shameful American legacy of “yellow peril” -- representing Asians as a threat to the United States.

That’s why racist scapegoating has no place in Maine politics. Tell Joe Dunne to keep the signs down.