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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Norm Mineta

Norm Mineta, the Transportation Secretary, resigned yesterday, giving no reason for his resignation. Mineta was one of two Asian Americans on Bush's cabinet; the other is Secretary of Labour Elaine Chao. Mineta was appointed by President Clinton, and was kept on by President Bush in a bipartisan effort and ended up being the longest serving Transportation Secretary. I remember when Mineta refused to institute standardized racial profiling in airports, instead implementing the protocol of random checks. Citing his experience in a Japanese internment camp, Mineta worked against institutionalized racism against Arab Americans reminiscent of that which he faced.

“It is very tempting to take false comfort in the belief that we can spot the bad guy based on appearance alone,” Mr. Mineta told an Arab-American group in Detroit recently. “Some are yielding to that temptation in their arguments for racial profiling, but false comfort is a luxury we cannot afford.”
Mineta is not just an Asian American politician, he showed that Asian Americans could be influential and wise politicians and don't have to sell-out their racial authenticity to do it. One article quotes Maeley Tom, president of the California Asian PacificIslander Legislative Caucus:
"He mentored us on what it took to make our mark on politics,'' she said, adding that Mineta told her: "Maeley, I was always taught never to be the nail that stuck out on a board. That's why Asians kept so silent. I urge you to be that nail that sticks out. Take a risk.''
Although Mineta has spent a long time being that nail and is certainly due for some time off, I worry more about the Bush Administration now that Mineta's tempered voice is gone. On that note, midterm elections are coming up and we, Asian Americans, are still sorely underrepresented. We need to get more involved in politics; one way to keep on top of that is at AsiansVote, a new site that documents the actions of Asian Americans in politics. As a community, we cannot continue to maintain our apathy towards American politics, we need more incredible voices like Norm Mineta in the government to protect the interests of those whose voices are not heard by other politicians.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Steven Lin said...

I agree that Asian Americans do need to be more politically active. Too bad most of us aren't even AWARE of any of the political going ons around us. I'm hard pressed to find an Asian American in my age group (teen to young adult) that even reads the newspaper. The AAs that are politicaly active are pretty much always very to the left, so that kinda leaves me out in the cold.

6/24/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Anonymous gatamala said...

“It is very tempting to take false comfort in the belief that we can spot the bad guy based on appearance alone,” Mr. Mineta told an Arab-American group in Detroit recently. “Some are yielding to that temptation in their arguments for racial profiling, but false comfort is a luxury we cannot afford.”

Truth to Power...I love it!

6/26/2006 11:54:00 AM  

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