Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang recently took to Twitter to address the past racist comments made by Shane Gillis, a new addition to the Saturday Night Live cast. CNN reports that Yang spoke about his experiences in the face of anti-Asian racism and suggested that he still believes Gillis should keep his job, pointing to a pattern he sees in the United States of people becoming “excessively punitive and vindictive” over offensive or racist comments.
Yang’s approach was controversial, with some suggesting that Gillis’ comments were unacceptable and letting them go unpunished is doing more harm than good. Others, such as American journalist and author David French, responded positively to Yang’s comments.
“This Yang thread is gold,” he tweeted.
In response to French’s comment, former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush took it a step further.
“Platinum,” he tweeted, which drew a very positive response from Yang’s supporters on Twitter.
During his appearance on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Yang addressed the jokes he makes about Asian Americans, including one at the debate that drew some criticism for suggesting that all Asians know lots of doctors. The 44-year-old entrepreneur claimed that he was “poking fun” of stereotypes in an attempt to push Americans to reflect on them.
“I would never claim that my individual experience would speak to the depth and breadth of our community. At the same time, I think Americans are very smart. And that they can actually see right through that kind of myth and, if anything, by poking fun at it I’m making Americans reflect a little bit more on them.”
Yang’s comments to Tapper echoed the ones made in his Twitter thread, in which he acknowledged the difference of opinions surrounding his approach.
“I understand those who have another point of view on this,” he said, adding that he hopes people can forgive Gillis as he has and that Gillis is “open to learning.”
“We are all human, we’re all fallible,” he said.
As The Inquisitr reported, Yang also used his conversation with Tapper to address the criticism of his “Freedom Dividend” giveaway that he announced at Thursday’s debate. Much like his campaign’s identically titled campaign proposal, which is how he has branded his universal basic income (UBI) of $1,000 per month for every American adult, the giveaway will provide 10 American families with $1,000 monthly to promote his vision.
While critics suggested the giveaway may violate Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations and accused him of buying votes, Yang said that if he took the same money and put it toward a media company or consultants, nobody would have said anything. He suggests that this difference in reaction is a reflection of a problem within the current political system.