More American Than Jay Chen?

Ignoring racist emails is all in a day's work for the Democratic congressional candidate

You can't get more American than Jay Chen. Though of Taiwanese ancestry, Chen was born in Michigan; grew up in Ohio, Indiana, Oregon and California; received a Marine Corps scholarship to attend Harvard University, from which he graduated with honors; became an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve; traveled the world; worked as a professional writer, and served as president of a school board in Los Angeles County. The 34-year-old commercial real-estate manager also has been featured on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, worked as a global business consultant for Mitt Romney's Bain & Co., and was an intern for Republican Congressman Ed Royce.

On Nov. 6, Chen is hoping his rookie Democratic Party campaign can unseat Royce, a 19-year veteran in the nation's capital, in California's newly drawn 39th Congressional District that spans portions of south LA County (Hacienda Heights, Walnut, Chino Hills and Diamond Bar) and cities in western and northern Orange County (Fullerton, La Habra, Brea, Placentia and Yorba Linda). It's a minority majority district, with Caucasians accounting for just 34 percent of residents. The area's increasing Latino and Asian population isn't always welcomed.

"Fuck off, chink," a controversial, disgraced Costa Mesa businessman recently told Chen in an email following a mass campaign blitz seeking support. "I'd never vote for a slant-eyed gook. Asians are trying to take over out [sic] country, so why would I want to vote for a slope. Fuck off and die. I hope you get cancer of the eyes and testicles. Leave me alone. Thank you, Anthony Kassas. Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse any typos."

Late last year, the State Bar of California disbarred Kassas from his legal practice after Attorney General Kamala Harris' investigators raided his Costa Mesa offices (in a building shared by the Weekly near John Wayne Airport) and determined he had been operating a brazen mortgage-debt scam on unsuspecting consumers. Contacted at the same email address that originated the racist communication, Kassas first agreed to field questions, but when repeatedly asked to explain the anti-Asian rant, he did not respond.

Kassas may not be alone in his temper tantrum. Chen campaign manager Sam Liu reports Chen has received "two or three other anti-Asian emails with messages like 'Go back to China.'" Signs have been torn down at the campaign's Fullerton headquarters, and xenophobic posters have popped up. "Vote for the American," says one. Another reads, "Is Jay Chen a Closet Commie?"

While the brutal tone of Kassas' email shocked Chen and his aides, such ignorant sentiment is a recurring theme in the candidate's life. In a 2010 episode of The Daily Show, Chen—then vice president of the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District—was asked to defend a Cederland Middle School program to teach kids Mandarin and Chinese culture because the Chinese government helped to fund the effort. The Comedy Central show aired a clip of a Hacienda Heights town meeting at which a spiky-haired, middle-aged Kate Goslin doppelgänger lamented the red menace penetrating Southern California. "If it comes from communist China, it is tainted with communism," declared the livid woman whose house is likely filled with products from China. "You can't lie to us!"

Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi expertly diced the hysteria. After that woman claimed the cultural studies were tantamount to "brainwashing" and would create little commies, Mandvi observed, "It's simple. In the same way that anyone learning German becomes a Nazi or anyone learning French becomes an asshole, learning Chinese has only one outcome." A red hammer-and-sickle image then ominously appeared onscreen over video of kids sitting in a Southern California classroom.

"It was hilarious how these people attacked anything that came from China as communist," says Liu, who thinks a majority of voters is ready for a change in representation from Royce, a GOP heavyweight who's conservative on financial and international affairs. "There's an anti-incumbency sentiment right now. Generally, people are tired of the same old thing. That motivated Jay to run."

Royce enjoys a substantial fund-raising lead. With the loyal support of corporate banking and insurance lobbyists, the incumbent entered the final five weeks of this election with $1.5 million in his campaign coffers, according to disclosure reports filed at the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C. Chen—who has the support of the Asian American Action Fund, National Education Association and the United Auto Workers—reported less than $280,000 in cash on hand.

Nevertheless, the campaign is hoping Royce's active participation in an obstructionist House Republican strategy to sabotage President Barack Obama's economic agenda, plus the district's shifting demographics, makes voters more susceptible to Chen's "moderate" ideas. He supports making higher education more accessible, improving services for military veterans, sustaining legal protections for a woman's right to choose, reducing oil-company tax breaks to aid the creation of "green" industry jobs and increasing spending on the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

"We need to invest in America," Liu explains. "LA and Long Beach are two of the busiest ports in the world. Forty percent of our commerce comes into these ports, yet we have no infrastructure to get the interstate commerce out and to the rest of the nation."

Though more than 100 people have volunteered to help, the Chen campaign still understands it's facing an uphill battle in a district the political experts call a "safe" Republican seat.

"This area is so diverse, yet there are so many people who are stuck in old ways," Liu says. "Even among Jay's supporters, there are people who'll say things like, 'He'll definitely get the Oriental vote.'"

 

This article appeared in print as "Putting Race In the Race: It'll take more than a racist email to derail Democratic candidate Jay Chen's bid for Congress."

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20 comments
fithinblue
fithinblue

If you look like a white dude but speak spanish guess what you are white dude not brown eh. stupid's. lol nobody reading eh, I got a tan so I am brown pride baby. 

fithinblue
fithinblue

here is your sign if you are a Mexican most likely you are Viking 95% chance of it. You are not Brown pride buddy. Even the real indians make fun of you and call you diego's. 

fithinblue
fithinblue

that is like saying Russians are Yellow Pride not really. They are Vikings too. So are Mexican's and Spain. 

fithinblue
fithinblue

furthermore it makes me laugh when I see Mexican's wearing brown pride like they are some kind of deep Southern American Indian that ran from the Spanish genocide of all Aztec's for being an uncivilized paganistic slave culture. As the 95% of all Mexicans are actually Spanish as the Aztec's war against the Spanish genocidall all those in that area. And the majority of Native Americans there ran south from the white devils. Along with that I look at them and go you look like a Viking. You are Spanish buddy there is no different between you and me but your lingo. daaaaaa but is is ok because they are Viking what is school I have no clue give me a club and a girl some brew and something to do I am good. reading what?

fithinblue
fithinblue

then you midgets. They used to have a cool name like gnomes. Now they are just midgets In the old day they where magical creatures with little underground wholes everywhere popping up when you need them. Now they hit in the knees when you call them midgets. 

fithinblue
fithinblue

speaking of racism lets bring the Africano's in to this. They still can't build boats for nothing. It is the 22nd century and we still see them rolling around like 13th century pirates. So far behind. If it was not for their own kind going if we do not enslave you our people will go no where in this world. Sad but true. Why nobody knows Africans are never seen at the beach unless they are pirates. Why I do not know, they are camouflaged with their sun protection genomic evolution from the sharkies. yet no go. 

fithinblue
fithinblue

If you study ancient anglo tribe languages and Aztec and native American languages you get similar words for major trading issues and very similar neighborly words. 

fithinblue
fithinblue

Furthermore for this idea that illegal non natural immigration of 80% of all US migrants are Mexican is some heritage right. If you speak to Alaskan native tribes. They will tell you that Druids came around the same time they began creating religions. As a majority of Alaskan and Druid religions are based on similar stories of gods and powers. While Native American religions and symbols are very close to Icelandic and Canadian ancient anglo tribes or Druids. Who roamed all around Canada, Iceland, Greenland and the Current areas of the USA. Where there is even reports in anglo saxon lore and Icelandic history of major Viking battles before the Spanish conquered the Aztecs of raging battles. The Vikings where the first every civilization to mass invade the world and populate their people and colonies over every single piece of land in this earth. That is why today. You see the majority of the world's planets have some kind of Viking heritage to it. While other heritages are stuck to basic land masses. 

 

 

fithinblue
fithinblue

I think that if the man states he is from Taiwan that he is not a Chinese Communist. As he would just state he is Chinese. Obviously he agrees with Democracy as Taiwan is a genocided people. Also I do agree with the idea that European Democrats are literally voting their own heritage out of the Democrat party.  I also do not think it is ok for Orange County its own county to be mixed with LA county a different county so that race has something to do with it. I find that the majority of European heritages are not in some kind or racist organization. While many minority leaders are. Which then when Europeans speak of their own heritage the minorities attack them for racist. However, it is ok for them to be in racist groups. I think that is a problem too. However, the reality is here, that The young man before us was a Republican and then became a Democrat. That is an issue I would like to hear about. I do not understand that at all. I was a Democrat and became a Republican. As Democrats are more corrupt, more racist, more likely to have policies written by the folks that hate the US and literally state they want to destroy it. I also find it sad that the Democrats use Mexican slave labor to enrich their core of business and then build a sympathy vote based on allowing the implosion of US economics. It is one thing for somebody to have come from Taiwan as they where all being genocided out of China. It is another thing for Mexican's who have less than 4% unemployment, most Mexican's own a farm and a city house, very low foreign illegal labor competition in Mexico. It is non natural migration. In a land that was never Mexico's, as the supposed Gringo's Druids and Celtics where here around the same time the Native Americans began civilizating their cities. According to ancient Mayan writings and US Native American ancient stories and rock carvings. The Anglo Tribes and Native American tribes where helping each other become civlized in the USA. Now Mexico with the Aztec's is different. But Aztec lands never made it past the current day boarder of Mexico. As that is why General Santa Ana sold the lands to the USA. As per their history of their native people's. Was behind that line point. 

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

"D.C. Chen—who has the support of the Asian American Action Fund"

 

Did Royce get the backing of the Caucasian American Action Fund?

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

Uh, aside from the unfortunate racial slurts, isn't to say that the 'shifting demographics of the district' favor Chen an admission that the emailer had a point -- the Chinese (or 'Latinos', or Koreans, or generic 'Asians') are trying to take over. People vote for their own group -- that's why Janet Nguyen won the supervisor seat over the much more qualified Democratic journeyman Tom Umberg. That's why Joe Dunn lost his primary race for controller to John Chiang and has no future in politics. That's why Tom Daly was *once* considered a rising star in Democratic circles but no longer is.

 

White Democrats are whistling past the graveyard, with their continued support for massive immigration that doesn't reflect what America looks like. Republicans are even worse, bowing to the cheap labor lobby while hurting their own constituency. 

lsayler1977
lsayler1977

Ageof knowledge---more like ageofignorance. Spew your vile vitriol somewhere else. Isn't there a klan meeting you're late for?

ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

The Obummer wishes he had Chen's pedigree. All the Obummer did was smoke dope, snort Columbian snow, sip cocktails, screw whatever fell into his lap and go listen to the evil Reverend wrong spew some racist hate whitey black liberation "theology" in his down time when he wasn't organizing the community to suck more money away from hardworking taxpayers. 

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

 @fithinblue Rock on Brother. 

 

We come from the land of the ice and snow

from the midnight sun, where the hot winds blow

 

The hammer of the gods, will drive our ships to new lands...

 

One we sweep, with threshing oar, our only goal the Western Shore

ageofknowledge
ageofknowledge

I'll forgive your racist, ad hominem, and ignorant comment "lsayler" like I would if a mentally challenged person made it. 

 

Obviously, anyone with even an inkling of intelligence would have deduced that someone arguing against racism in another (as I did) isn't necessarily evidence that they themselves are a racist.

 

But you were too stupid to figure that out and blundered in exactly that manner.

 

Your anti-American "hero," the Obummer, chose to learn his own racism from the world's number one racist proponent of black liberation theology who he said was like a surogate daddy to him.

 

Pointing that out doesn't make me a racist you ignorant toad. And, while I'm correcting your nonsensical false assertions: the nick "ageofknowledge" is a nod to the fact that we live in an age of knowledge and not me asserting that I know everything there is to know.

 

So far, you've NEVER been right... about anything. I do hope you recover from the social malady of potheadedness and headupassitis that affects so many in your generation anymore and choose to begin developing some basic deduction and logical compentencies at some point in the NEAR future.

 

But, I know it's a long shot. 

skmind
skmind

 @ageofknowledge You forgot 57 states and birth certificate.

 

There, now that's about all you know.  Say goodnight

Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

 @jsawyer23 If only the Republican party would speak up clearly, and pursue policies that benefited, the vast majority of their voters. Instead they give us clowns like Rubio and Abel, who want to shove more 'Latinos' down our throats.

 
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