(The video is an online response to the KDWB morning show incident with a song about the Hmong community with racist or defamatory lyrics from TakeAction MN and not produced by Asian American Press)
St. Paul, Minn. (March 31, 2011) –On the heels of an offensive song aimed at the Hmong community, TakeAction Minnesota sent a letter to KDWB 101.3’s Program Director, Rob Morris, taking the popular Twin Cities radio station to task for its racist on-air display.
The full content of the letter is as follows:
Recently KDWB’s Morning Show laughed about a parody song of the Hmong people, sung to the tune of Eric Clapton’s ‘Tears in Heaven.’ Yesterday, the station issued a weak apology that does nothing to accept real responsibility for its actions and offers no indication that it will stop using racism as a way to entertain its audience. The station needs to take sincere accountability for its actions and commit to change its ways.
Dave Ryan and his sidekick Steve LaTart (Steve-O) think it’s funny to mock the Hmong people and culture. In doing so, they reinforce the racism that divides Minnesotans from each other while making it harder for people of color to prosper. The song that was performed on last week’s program was not the first time that these two morning personalities used racism to entertain. It was simply the most offensive effort to date.
The apology posted on KDWB’s Facebook page notes the positive feedback they have received from Hmong listeners. Clearly the station isn’t paying attention to the real harm its actions have caused. The apology also states that “it was never its intention to offend anyone.” This is absurd as that is exactly the kind of humor the Morning Show practices – that’s why this song was performed in the first place.
KDWB has tremendous power to reach people and influence their thinking. Their recent actions demonstrate that the station is ok with promoting racist attitudes as a way to entertain.
If KDWB wishes to be a positive member of the Twin Cities community, then it must accept sincere accountability for its actions and change its behavior.
We call on the management of KDWB to:
• Fire Steve LaTart – the author and performer of the offensive song
• Hold an on air conversation with Hmong community leaders during the Morning Show to discuss racial stereotypes, racial disparities, and the harm caused by Morning Show personalities
• Meet with leaders of the Hmong community leaders to discuss these demands within the next two weeks
We look forward to KDWB’s positive response to our request.”
TakeAction Minnesota and its Hmong Organizing Program have been working for over 10 years to develop strong community leaders to make positive changes that improve the lives of the Hmong and all people. TakeAction Minnesota is an organization of 11,000 individual members and 23 organizations who are committed to furthering racial, social, and economic justice.