'We won't stand for it': 'Extreme' political fliers anger Asian American voters in Durham

Akilah Davis Image
Thursday, November 3, 2022
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Asian American voters are up in arms after receiving political fliers in the mail that some say are extreme and "provoke fear."

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Tuesday trip to the mailbox in south Durham left Sonya Patel and her husband in shock. A mailer sent by the right-leaning America First Legal Foundation appeared in their stack of mail.

"We expect to have a lot of political mailers in our mail these days," said Sonya Patel. "This one, in particular, stood out to ... as being very extreme and trying to provoke fear it seems. To me, it felt like a very obvious attempt to pit Asian Americans against other communities of color and to align themselves with White supremacist views. That people of color are coming to take your jobs or lessen society."

The verbiage on the flier stated that equity was code for excluding people from jobs and college admissions based solely on the color of their skin among other things. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases regarding challenges to the use of race-based admission policies at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and Harvard that contend the schools' policy discriminates against White and Asian American applicants.

With races heating up as the midterm election draws near, The Raleigh-based group North Carolina Asian Americans Together is firing back on the mailers. Organizers said this is what final appeals look like targeting Asian American voters.

"We would encourage people to throw away this piece of garbage if they receive it," said Chavi Khanna Koneru, Executive Director of NCAAT. "It's not a coincidence that this is hitting our mailboxes at the same time as the affirmative action is being heard in the Supreme Court."

According to Koneru, many across the state have received these mailers including residents in Mecklenburg and Guilford counties. That's why her organization is educating the community as its a fast-growing voting bloc.

"We want to make sure this mail piece does not achieve its goal of suppressing our community's vote. We're addressing this so our community knows it's false and they need to get out and vote," she said.

Meanwhile, Patel plans to vote Thursday afternoon and she encourages others who receive this mailer to take their frustration to the polls.

"I want to make it clear that our community is smarter than this," said Patel. "We won't stand for this type of discrimination. This type of racism and this type of fearmongering."