Democrat Bettie Cook Scott, a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, is under fire for making racist slurs and offensive comments about her Asian-American opponent, Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit).
Multiple witnesses, including Chang’s husband Sean Gray, told the Detroit Metro Times that they heard Scott, who is black, refer to Stephanie Chang as “ching-chang” and “the ching-chong” to voters outside polling stations during the August 7 primary election.
Chang and Scott were running in the Democratic primary for state Senate District 1. Chang easily won the primary race, garnering 49 percent of the vote; Scott came in third with 11 percent.
‘I Want You Out Of My Country’
Witnesses said Bettie Cook Scott allegedly called one of Chang’s campaign volunteers an “immigrant,” and said, “You don’t belong here” and “I want you out of my country.”
Stephanie Chang’s husband, who’s black, said Scott scolded him as a “fool” for marrying Chang.
“I asked her not to speak about my wife in that manner,” Gray said. “She said to the voter that ‘these immigrants from China are coming over and taking our community from us.’ Further, she said it ‘disgusts her seeing black people holding signs for these Asians and not supporting their own people.'”
At another polling station in a different district, witnesses said they heard Scott tell voters, “Thanks for voting for me, you don’t need to vote for that ching-chang.”
Stephanie Chang said she’s outraged by the racist attacks against her and her campaign staffers.
“These comments are offensive to all Asian-Americans,” Chang told the Detroit Metro Times. “It isn’t about me. It’s about an elected official disrespecting entire populations, whether they be Asian-American, immigrant, or residents of Senate District 1 or [Cook’s] own current house district.”
‘It’s Just Mind-Boggling’
Kalaya Long, a volunteer with Voices of Women to Win, said as an African-American, she’s disgusted that a minority would make such offensive racist slurs against a fellow minority.
“When you hear someone that’s a minority and a woman using slurs against another minority that’s a woman, it’s just mind-boggling and it just felt dirty,” Long said.
A group called the Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote – Michigan is calling on Bettie Cook Scott to apologize for her racist attacks.
Other groups have joined the demand for an apology, including the Association of Chinese-Americans, the African Bureau of Immigration & Social Affairs, American Citizens for Justice, the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, and Equality Michigan.
Bettie Cook Scott has not yet responded to the requests, but there is growing outrage online.
Dem. Rep Bettie Cook Scott proves there's blatant racism from every color, in each party. Embarrassing. https://t.co/rY6Ent9MKG— Kenneth Friedman (@KSFriedman) August 16, 2018
“With a real melting pot, it’s hard to have a racial politics.”— Andrew McFadden (@rbduval77) August 16, 2018
She used racial slurs against her Asian American opponent outside a polling precinct in a predominantly black neighborhood just to find out that her opponent’s husband was there & he’s black. https://t.co/8U5RiiOrMx
Update: Through a rep, Cook apologized for her racist slurs.
2/her husband, Mr. Gray, and to the broader Asian American community for those disparaging remarks. In the divisive age we find ourselves in, I should not contribute further to that divisiveness. 3/— Bill Noakes (@wnoakes) August 16, 2018
3/ I have reached out to Representative Chang to meet with her so that I may apologize to her in person. I pray she and the Asian American community can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”
— Bill Noakes (@wnoakes) August 16, 2018