Yellowworld.org, an online political Asian advocacy group, joins the Asian American community in denouncing Congressman Howard Coble’s endorsement of the Japanese American internment last week and call for the immediate removal from his subcommittee chairmanship.
Activists are circulating online petitions (http://removecoble.yellowworld.org) which have attracted a total of over 7,000 signatures to date.
The groups say the Republican's comments are a reminder of a dark chapter in American history, when 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry were forced into 10 U.S. internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor and argue that his comments will have political repercussions for Republicans, who were criticized after GOP Sen. Trent Lott made remarks deemed racially insensitive last year.
“First Trent Lott, now Howard Coble,” said Yellowworld.org president Elbert Oh. There seems to be a trend towards Republican insensitivity towards minorities, and in this case, the elected official has the capacity to act out upon his ignorance of the past.”
On Monday the Congressman issued a statement, saying the internment was “the wrong decision and an action that should never be repeated."
"I regret that many Japanese and Arab-Americans found my choice of words offensive because that was certainly not my intent," he said. The congressman has said he won't resign from the subcommittee post.
Activists found his comment inadequate.
“The justification of past racism was not found offensive by just Japanese and Arab Americans,” said Oh, who is a Korean American, “but were an affront to all law abiding Americans who see the internment as a blight on our nation’s proud history.”