Andrew Yang Should Not Be Mayor

A personal perspective on the mayoral candidate.

Ever+since+Andrew+Yang+ran+for+president%2C+he+has+expanded+his+recognition+with+voters+through+several+podcasts+and+various+media+outlets.

Carissa Wu

Ever since Andrew Yang ran for president, he has expanded his recognition with voters through several podcasts and various media outlets.

In early March 2021, Andrew Yang, a leading contender for New York City’s 2021 Mayoral race and former Democratic presidential candidate, spoke out about the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, stating, “Asian-Americans are human beings, Asian-Americans are just as American as anyone else.” He tweeted the hashtag #StopAsianHate and positioned himself as a candidate for successfully representing the Asian American community, saying he would support us in the face of acts that have left many distraught and hurt.

I remember when I used to look up towards Yang during the Democratic primary. It was unusual to see myself, someone from an East-Asian background, be represented in politics, and even more unusual to ponder the idea that such a person could potentially become president of the United States.

However, it would be wrong to ignore Yang’s complicity in anti-Asian discrimination simply because of his ethnic background. The truth is, despite Yang’s message that he represents the interests of Asian American people, he has done his own share of neglecting our voices. Electing him as mayor would not only be irresponsible and wrong, but would prove that identity politics are an effective way for politicians to campaign, rather than having values and beliefs that correspond to that of the American people.

Andrew Yang’s history of minimizing Asian American voices is not hard to uncover. In 2018, he responded to a lawsuit alleging Harvard’s discrimination against Asian applicants by defending Harvard admissions. In the tweet, he called the lawsuit “misplaced,” saying,“schools should be able to consider different factors to achieve various goals.” This comment came at a time when reporters at The Wall Street Journal were already uncovering discrimination, such as Harvard admissions officers giving lower personal ratings to Asian American applicants. Defending Harvard’s consideration of “different factors” does nothing to acknowledge the fact that many of these “different factors” are either things that applicants cannot control such as legacy status and race, or they are subjective, such as personality ratings, which can be used to discriminate against Asians, as noted in The Wall Street Journal.

One may find the things that I disagree with minor and insignificant, but in my opinion, they do more to showcase the anti-Asian bias of the Democratic party and American politics in general. To people like Yang, it is Asian Americans who have the responsibility to “embrace and show our American-ness in ways we never have before” such as wearing “red, white, and blue” to avoid being the victims of hate crimes, rather than the responsibility of racists to not blame an entire group of people for a virus. Politicians like Yang may point to Trump, and rightfully so, for exacerbating racism against Asian Americans, but we shouldn’t forget who is also to blame. 

I remember when I used to look up towards Yang during the Democratic primary. It was unusual to see myself, someone from an East-Asian background, be represented in politics, and even more unusual to ponder the idea that such a person could potentially become president of the United States.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email