PDF Version

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Demands Apology from Secretary Zinke for Ignorant Remark Directed at Congresswoman Hanabusa

Zinke Remark Proves Cultural Insensitivity Remains Prevalent in Politics and the U.S.


Atlanta, Georgia, March 16, 2018 — Today, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) called for U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, to issue a formal public apology to Representative Colleen Hanabusa for his inappropriate use of the Japanese language in response to her question about preserving funding for memorials recognizing the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans.

Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five Asian American civil rights organizations, releases the following statement in calling for Zinke’s apology:

“Secretary Zinke’s remark was both inappropriate for the occasion and insensitive to Congresswoman Hanabusa, who had just imparted a deeply personal story of her grandfathers both being held in internment camps. Instead of showing sensitivity toward the subject and Representative Hanabusa, Secretary Zinke chose that inopportune time to share his lack of Japanese cultural knowledge when he responded flippantly, ‘Oh, Konnichiwa’ rather than offer a serious reply to the Congresswoman’s question. His remark also demonstrates the “perpetual foreigner” problem faced by Asian Pacific Americans. Although she is a fourth-generation American-born member of Congress, Secretary Zinke somehow thought it appropriate to greet the Congresswoman in Japanese.

The most appropriate remark Secretary Zinke could and should have made would have been to acknowledge Rep. Hanabusa’s tragic story and respect our shared history of the incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans as a shameful, dark moment in U.S. history that should be remembered as such by this administration. Secretary Zinke’s gaffe demonstrates how little we have learned from our history and why the administration must continue to fund these memorials.”

July 19, 2018: Voting Rights Advocates Demand that Georgia Secretary of State Cease Discriminatory ‘No Match, No Vote’ Registration Protocol

July 19, 2018: Advocacy Groups and Immigrant Rights Organizations to host press conference against 287(g) program in Georgia

July 2, 2018: Americans Must Protect Its 50 Year Legacy of Reuniting Immigrant Families in the U.S. Who’ve Made This Country Strong

June 29, 2018: New #ValueOurFamilies Coalition Unite to Defend Family Immigration and Protect Family Unity

June 28, 2018: IMMIGRANT RIGHTS GROUPS URGE THE RELEASE OF SOUTH ASIAN ASYLUM SEEKERS AND BRING ATTENTION TO SECOND HUNGER STRIKE IN GEORGIA DETENTION CENTERS

June 26, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice Condemns Supreme Court Decision on Muslim Ban

June 22, 2018: INDIAN ASYLUM SEEKERS IN ICE CUSTODY BEGIN SECOND HUNGER STRIKE AT FOLKSTON ICE PROCESSING FACILITY

June 22, 2018: Despite 193-231 Failed Floor Vote, Rep. Woodall and Rep. Handel Votes YES for Goodlatte’s Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Family Bill, Goes On Record As A Soldier for Trump’s Mass Deportation Force

June 20, 2018: Immigrant Rights Groups Mourn the Death of Vietnamese Detainee

June 20, 2018: Immigrant Rights Groups Mourn the Death of Vietnamese Detainee_in Vietnamese

June 20, 2018: Trump’s Executive Order STILL Jails Children and Their Parents

June 13, 2018: Goodlatte’s Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Family Bill Exposes How Out of Touch House Republicans Are with America

May 31, 2018: PRESS ADVISORY: FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION RALLY

May 7, 2018: Advancing Justice Condemns Termination of TPS for Honduras

May 1, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta presents first ever Halal Korean BBQ Night in Georgia

April 26, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice Urges Congress to Intervene for Nepali TPS Holders

April 25, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice Calls for Permanent Solution to Protect Immigrant Communities

April 25, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice Stands With Impacted Communities As Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Muslim Ban Case, Trump v. Hawaii

April 6, 2018: Advancing Justice Mourns Loss of Senator Daniel Akaka

March 27, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice Will Fight Addition of Citizenship Question in 2020 Census

March 26, 2018: Advocacy Groups and Immigrant Rights Organizations to host press conference against Senate Bill 452

March 22, 2018: Advancing Justice-Atlanta Organizes 5th Annual Non-Partisan Candidate Training on March 24-25

March 16, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice Demands Apology from Secretary Zinke for Ignorant Remark Directed at Congresswoman Hanabusa

February 28, 2018: Immigrant Rights Advocates Sue ICE to Stop Illegal Incarceration of Vietnamese Refugees

February 28, 2018: Religious leaders and Immigrant Rights Advocates to host a press conference against anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia

February 26, 2018: Advancing Justice-Atlanta and immigrant rights organizations to host a rally to stop anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia

February 14, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta to host our Legislative Breakfast and Lobby Day with Legislators, communities, and organizations

January 24, 2018: Immigrant Advocates Oppose “Adios Amazon” Bills

January 22, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice Deeply Saddened By Senate Failure to Defend Undocumented Youth

January 20, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice to Congress: DO YOUR JOB!

January 11, 2018: Advancing Justice - Atlanta to continue its effort to Naturalize underserved communities in 2018

January 11, 2018: Asian Americans Advancing Justice Voices Opposition to House Sponsored Anti-Immigrant Legislation

January 11, 2018: ADVANCING JUSTICE CONDEMNS PRESIDENT'S RACIST AND WHITE SUPREMACIST COMMENTS

January 10, 2018: Advancing Justice Applauds Federal Court Ruling to Halt Termination of DACA

January 8, 2018: Advancing Justice Condemns Termination of TPS for Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans