April 6, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C.(July 19, 2016) — OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is disappointed with the culturally insensitive ‘fortune cookie’ gimmick used on the Ohio campaign trail.

Earlier this week, fortune cookies were distributed on behalf of a candidate in the upcoming elections in Ohio. These fortune cookies contained a message targeting the candidate’s political opponent in the upcoming election. The message reads “Rob Portman: The Best Senator China’s Ever Had”.

“This election season we have seen politicians from across the political spectrum stoop incredibly low to grab political points,” said Leslie Moe-Kaiser, OCA National President. “This fortune cookie ad is an unfortunate example of this lowering of the political dialogue. As others have pointed out, the fortune cookie is actually an American invention, so using it as a means to draw a negative association with the Chinese government’s trade policy is extremely misguided at best. Using Chinese American customs to criticize a foreign government will result in a negative association between Chinese Americans and a foreign threat, an association that was used to justify the dehumanizing Chinese Exclusion Act.”

“We at the OCA – Greater Cleveland chapter are dismayed by the use of this gimmick in Ohio, home of a strong Asian American and Chinese American community,” said Lisa Wong, President of the OCA – Greater Cleveland Chapter. “Our Ohio elected officials fail to accurately represent our communities when they equate Chinese Americans and our contributions to American culture with foreign trade, highlighting their own blindness to the cultural relevancy of Chinese Americans. We must protest against this insensitive behavior no matter the candidate or their political affiliation.”

OCA Cleveland previously joined efforts to remove an offensive campaign mailer in 2012 that used typical Chinese American takeout boxes to target a political opponent on trade.

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).

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