April 9, 2009

Wanker of the Day: Texas State Representative Betty Brown

Think Progress has posted a story out of the Houston Chronicle about Texas state Representative Betty Brown (R-Terrell), who suggested to Asian-Americans that they change their names to something that is “easier for Americans to deal with.” Apparently, misanthropes like Ms. Brown can't find a more thoughtful solution to solving identification problems when Asian-Americans try to vote in elections:

Brown suggested that Asian-Americans should find a way to make their names more accessible.

“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.

Brown later told Ko: “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?”

Milady, of course, was pissed when she read the story. Personally, I'm not surprised at either the thoughtlessness of Rep. Brown for actually making the statement or her refusal to apologize for her comments, instead blaming the Democrats (naturally) for "using racial rhetoric to inflame partisan feelings against the bill."

Instead I will award Rep. Brown with my first "Wanker of the Day" award. Rep. Brown, I salute you!

Update: The Youtube video of Rep. Brown's comments is available, which I've added to this post below. The offensive comments start at the 0:30 mark:

Crooks & Liars had a good riposte to Rep. Brown's remarks:

Oy. I guess Rep. Brown should be grateful she was not facing Zbigniew Brzezinski. That might have made her look stupid.

Update #2: Rep. Brown has now apologized for her remarks. In The Dallas Morning News:

Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell, said that she "apologizes for her remark in the Elections Committee on Tuesday, April 7," in a statement issued late Thursday.

She said she appreciates testimony that made legislators aware of problems faced by Asian-Americans when acquiring identification and that she understands the "diversity of Texas" and the "enrichment" that Asian-Americans have brought to the state.


Brown, in the statement, said the controversial quote was one sentence from a conversation dealing with the difficulty in translating names. She pointed out that she was talking about the issue of transliteration and told Ko that she wasn't asking him to change his name.

John C. Liu, a New York City Councilman who had called on Brown to apologize, said Brown's statement is "a fair first step," but doesn't go far enough, in his statement. Liu noted that Brown's comments during the exchange with Ko went well beyond the concept of transliteration.

1 comment:

Ronin said...

and another award from me!