During late June, 2021, Delaware Representative Gerald Brady sent an email containing an anti-Asian slur in response to an advocate of decriminalizing sex work. Despite the Delaware State Senate passing a resolution condemning hateful rhetoric and hate crimes against Asian Americans, there has been little action taken to hold Representative Gerald Brady accountable for his use of anti-Asian and misogynist language. Citing the First Amendment, the Delaware House of Ethics Committee concluded that, although his language was reprehensible, no laws were broken and thus, no punitive measures would be taken.
Marginalized communities know far too well the direct impact of racist and sexist language directed towards them — fuels violence, regardless of intent. The Delaware House Ethics Committee’s decision signals that there will be no accountability or repercussions when Asian American communities are the object of bigotry. To pass a resolution condemning anti-Asian violence and xenophobic rhetoric, and then do nothing to hold those in power accountable provides no tangible change at a time when it is desperately needed. The integrity of the First Amendment is important, but so too is the integrity of the democratic institutions of government. How strong is a commitment to denounce racism if, when tested, that commitment fades? It’s not enough to hear words of support; there needs to be true investment in Asian American communities to end anti-Asian violence.
Months have passed since the initial calls to #StopAsianHate, and although some of the commotion has settled, the issue of anti-Asian violence continues. Accountability is essential to show that anti-Asian Racism and harmful rhetoric will not be tolerated, and that the safety and belonging of the Asian American community will be valued and protected.
NCAPA urges the Delaware House of Representatives to hear the calls of the Delaware Asian American community, including organizations such as Delaware Asian American Voices, and lead by example to show what it looks like to protect our communities from harm.