SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A South Bay assembly member on Monday was trying to explain some questionable racial comments he allegedly made about Latinos and African Americans in a recent interview with a Chinese newspaper.
In a June 11th, article in the World Journal, District 25 State Assembly representative Kansen Chu was quoted as saying many Latino parents do not care about their children’s education or sending them to college.
He also said that many Latino and African Americans are “unable to compete” due to “unresolved structural economic and educational problems.”
On Monday, local Latino and African American civil rights leaders called the comments racist.
“We find his remarks to be outrageous and we are calling for his resignation,” said African American civil rights leader Walter Wilson.
The comments came after a discussion on Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, which would put a measure on the November ballot to repeal Prop. 209 and re-establish affirmative action in California.
Chu abstained from voting, but critics say the comments show his true colors.
“Mr. Chu’s comments left a big wound in the hearts of the Hispanic community, as well as the African American community and the Asian community,” said Victor Garza, Chairman of the La Raza Roundtable.
Chu was born in Taiwan and the comments were made in his first language, Mandarin.
But in a statement posted on his Assembly member website Monday, Chu blamed an error in the translation of his statement to an English version of the report.
“I unequivocally deny saying that Latinos do not value education. I did say that there are systemic barriers for Latinos and African American students,” Chu said in the statement.
Chu, who is a former San Jose City Council member, also said he has a strong and consistent record of supporting education and progressive policies for minority communities.
Chu is currently locked in a tight race for Santa Clara County Supervisor with former Sunnyvale Mayor Otto Lee.