In the run-up to the final primary smackdown, much dissecting is going on of various demographic groups and their voting preferences. Asian-Americans, for example, are said to vote Democratic, and to prefer Hillary Clinton. New America Media reports on a poll conducted by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund that found, in New York,
86% of Asian American Democrats–women and men of all age groups–supported Clinton, with Obama receiving 14% of the Asian American vote.
In New Jersey,
Clinton won 73% of the Asian American vote, with 22% supporting Obama.
In California, TheHill.com reports that
Asian Americans, whose voting power has been much less scrutinized than of African-American and Hispanic voters, were a significant factor in Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) victory in Tuesday’s California Democratic primary.
Now, the question is: why? TheHill offers some analysis:
Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have longstanding ties to Asian American communities, which they have relied on at the polls and to raise campaign funds. Those relationships appeared to help Clinton in California, and could further boost her campaign going forward.
Obama also has ties to the Asian American community, some of which are more personal than Clinton’s. He lived in Indonesia when he was a child, he speaks Indonesian and his half-sister is half-Indonesian. He was born and attended high school in Hawaii, where his parents met while attending the University of Hawaii and where his grandparents lived.
So when Anderson Cooper 360 offered to tell me why Asian-Americans prefer Hillary, I watched. Gary Tuchman’s report on Friday night interviewed voters mainly in Washington state, where he said more Asian-Americans live than any other state except Hawaii and California. (In California, voters of that ethnic group went for Hillary three to one, he says.) Then, as promised, Tuchman gets to the reason when he interviews a youngish Japanese-American voter named Travis Suzaka at a coffee shop:
“Japanese don’t like change. We’d rather go with the Caucasian lady.”
And then he cuts to a young woman in a grocery store, who, Tuchman notes rather ominously, “even refers to Clinton’s skin color.”
She says, “I like the white lady.”
“What about Obama?” Tuchman asks.
“Not really,” she answers.
So there you have it, folks. Asians are racist. According to CNN, the reason we will vote for Hillary Clinton is that she is white, and the other dude…isn’t. Or, at least, not 100%.
Okay. Gary. The thing is, we Americans have a habit of identifying people by color. I’m not saying it’s good or sensitive. But you do it, too. You lumped us—a rainbow of Americans in varying shades of yellow from dozens of countries in the continent known as Asia—into one vote. When the young lady ID-ed Clinton as “the white lady,” she wasn’t saying she was voting for her because of those characteristics. To us, Clinton is the white lady. McCain is the white man. Obama is the black or multiracial man.
I’m not saying race doesn’t play into Asian-Americans’ choice at the voting booth. But to imply the whole swath of us are not voting for Obama because he’s black is just a little much. Don’t you think?
By the way, I’m not the only viewer who was ticked. Read the comment trail on Cooper’s blog, which he says he posts during commercial breaks on his show. Funny: the time of his post shows 2:36 p.m., and his show airs at night… Anyway, judge for yourself; watch Tuchman’s CNN clip below.