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Yee retorts to Ted Turner’s “Chinaman” remark

By rgordon
Thursday, March 15th, 2007 at 1:04 pm in Uncategorized.

Ted TurnerAfter media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner apologized Tuesday for using the term “Chinaman” during a recent speech before the Bay Area Council, state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, weighed in Thursday condemning the remark. Yee is Chinese-American and came to the U.S. from China when he was a toddler.

“Mr. Turner’s comments are yet another example that racism is still prevalent, even within our media,” Yee said in a statement. “Mr. Turner’s comments show that Chinese-Americans are still often considered second-class citizens. As someone who has traveled the world, interacted with many Asian-Americans, and become one of the most successful media moguls, Mr. Turner should have been more conscious of the pain such derogatory comments cause.”

Turner was the keynote speaker on March 8 about “the rise of clean energy and technology” for the council’s Outlook Conference 2007 in San Francisco. The council describes itself as a “business-sponsored public-policy advocacy organization,” and has hosted the annual meeting for 35 years.

In the context of how to win cooperation from China in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Turner told the crowd of about 1,000: “The Chinese are very smart. Just think: Have you ever met a dumb Chinaman?”

Turner founded Turner Broadcasting System in 1970 and its flagship cable television news network CNN in 1980. He is also reportedly America’s largest private landowner and pledged $1 billion to assist the United Nations through his United Nations Foundation.

Council officials reportedly decried the remark; Turner’s apology was offered through a spokesman Tuesday.

“As many people know, I do not believe in any form of prejudice or discrimination and was unaware that the term ‘Chinaman’ was derogatory and hurtful to the Asian-Pacific-American community,” his statement said, according to the Chronicle.

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One Response to “Yee retorts to Ted Turner’s “Chinaman” remark”

  1. Rocking in Hakata » Asian Pacific Americans Says:

    […] yesterday, and I was so floored by John Derbyshire’s take on the Ted Turner whoopsie (and aftermath) that I decided to try and transcript it here. Addressing an audience of local notables in San […]

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