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Friday, 19 March 2021

Actor Daniel Dae Kim knocks 164 House Republicans for voting against September resolution that condemned anti-Asian racism as Congress holds hearing on uptick in violence

 Actor Daniel Dae Kim knocked Republican lawmakers at a House hearing Thursday for voting against a resolution that condemned anti-Asian racism. 

'I was disheartened to find that for a bill that required no money or resources, just a simple condemnation of acts of hate against people of Asian descent, 164 members of Congress - all Republican - voted against it,' Kim testifed before a Judiciary Committee subcommittee. 

Thursday's hearing topic was discrimination against Asian-Americans and it came just two days after six Asian-American women were gunned down in Atlanta, Georgia at three spas. 

Actor Daniel Dae Kim shamed Republicans who had voted in September against a resolution condemning Asian-American hatred spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic

Actor Daniel Dae Kim shamed Republicans who had voted in September against a resolution condemning Asian-American hatred spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic 

Members of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties met on Capitol Hill and virtually Thursday for a hearing on discrimination and violence against Asian-Americans

Members of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties met on Capitol Hill and virtually Thursday for a hearing on discrimination and violence against Asian-Americans 

Republican Rep. Chip Roy\'s comments at the top of the hearing got pushback from several Democratic lawmakers, as he accused them of forcing the \'policing of rhetoric\'

Republican Rep. Chip Roy's comments at the top of the hearing got pushback from several Democratic lawmakers, as he accused them of forcing the 'policing of rhetoric'

New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng hit back charging Roy and Republicans including former President Donald Trump with \'putting a bullseye on the back of Asian-Americans\'

New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng hit back charging Roy and Republicans including former President Donald Trump with 'putting a bullseye on the back of Asian-Americans' 

The investigation of the shootings is ongoing and the 21-year-old suspect denied the attacks were racially motivated - and instead blamed a 'sex addiction' - though it still called attention to the uptick in racist violence against Asian-Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kim, the sole witness from Hollywood testifying at Thursday's panel, said he was both 'honored and dismayed' to be appearing before Congress once more, noting that the racist violence has 'gotten worse, much worse.' 

He called attention to such crimes as the 89-year-old Brooklyn woman who was set on fire and the shootings in Atlanta this week.  

'I will tell you just to start when I have a bad day, I think about going home, having a beer, watching a movie with my family,' Kim said. 'I don't think about going out and murdering eight people.'

The 'Lost' actor also pointed out that when the shooter said he was eliminating temptation, 'what does it mean when he sees the manifestation of sexual temptation as an Asian female?' Kim asked. 

He said the racism surrounding the killings would be more obvious had they happened in a synagogue or black church, as other mass casualty shootings have in the past.  

Kim pushed for related legislation to be voted on by the House, such as Rep. Grace Meng's 'COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.'  

In September, the House passed a resolution against anti-Asian 'sentiment, racism, discrimination, and religious intolerance related to COVID-19,' which asked federal law enforcement to investigate credible reports. 

Just 14 Republicans joined with Democrats to vote in favor of the resolution, while 164 Republicans, as Kim said, voted against it.  

Meng's bill would designate an individual the the Department of Justice to expedite the review of hate crimes related to COVID-19. 

'Now I'm not naive enough to think I'm going to convince all of you to stand up for us - trust me, I've seen your voting records - but I am speaking to those [for whom] humanity still matters,' Kim said, taking a second swat at GOP lawmakers. 

Thursday's hearing kicked off with Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy saying that while victims and their families of race-based violence deserve justice - so do the 'victims of cartels,' taking a shot at Democrats over the current border crisis, and the 'victims of rioting and looting in the streets ... last summer,' a knock at the Black Lives Matter demonstrators. 

'We believe in justice. There’s old sayings in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. You know, we take justice very seriously, and we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys. That’s what we believe,' he said. 

'My concern about this hearing is that it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric,' he continued, instead of 'taking out bad guys.'  

Roy then started criticizing the Chinese Communist Party and the country's handling of the initial COVID-19 outbreak.    

'We shouldn't be worried about having a committee of members of Congress policing our rhetoric because some evildoers do engage in some evil activity as occurred in Atlanta, Georgia,' he added. 

Roy's comments irritated Democrats participating in the hearing.     

Rep. Roy uses lynching example at anti-Asian violence hearing
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'Your president, and your party, and your colleagues can talk about issues with any other country that you want, but you don’t have to do it by putting a bullseye on the back of Asian Americans across this country. On our grandparents. On our kids,' Meng, a New York Democrat, said as part of testimony she delivered during the first half of the hearing. 

A number of Democrats slammed former President Donald Trump's use of 'China virus' - which he said in a statement, again, last week. 

Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat and Air Force veteran, brought up his active-duty service to the country as he aimed at Roy.   

'I'm very aware of who the bad guys are and who our foreign enemies are, but this hearing is about Americans of Asian descent who are being targeted in the United States, it's not about policing speech,' Lieu argued. 

'You can say racist stupid stuff if you want, but I'm asking you to please stop using racist terms like Kung-Flu, or Wuhan Virus or other ethnic identifiers in describing this virus,' he continued. 'I am not a virus and when you say things like that, it hurts the Asian-American community.'  

One of the Democratic witnesses, Shirin Sinnar, who's a professor at Stanford Law School, linked Trump's rhetoric with the uptick in violence.  

'When former President Donald Trump used racist dog whistles that are clearly interpreted as an effort to blame one community, or one government and by implication a community of people who are thought to be associated with it. That effects the entire society,' she testified. 'And Stop AAPI Hate's research shows, as well, that those tweets from the former president were retweeted over a million times.' 

'So once you have that norm-setting at the top, that normalizes stigmatizing a particular community for hate, it does lead to ripple effects to society at large,' she explained. 

Only a handful of Republicans participated in the hearing.  

Rep. Tom McClintock, a California Republican, shared his view that 'hostility to that government is not hostility to its victims,' arguing that many Chinese are victims of the country's communist party. 

'Quite the contrary, but that seems to be the connection that many people are making today,' he said. 

He also argued that the U.S. is working on its racism problem. 


'There are despicable racists of every color in every society, it is the baser side of human nature, but no nation has struggled harder to transcend that nature and isolate and ostrasize its racists than have Americans,' he said. 

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, used his time to speak about his state's governor, Republican Larry Hogan, whose wife is Korean-American. 

He said he had spoken with Hogan and 'he and his wife and his daughters' closest friends have all been affected by the new wave of hostility against the AAPI community.' 

'Gov. Hogan told me that close family friends ahve been assaulted in a convenience store, screamed at by racists telling them to go back to China and told that they did not want to sit next to them on an airplane because they were Asian and had COVID,' Raskin said. 

Besides the Thursday hearing on Capitol Hill, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Atlanta, Georgia on Friday and meet with members of the Asian-American community to speak about the shootings, but also the uptick in racist violence.   

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