Democratic Hawaii Congressman Ed Case made waves in Washington this past week, but not the picturesque kind found off his home island of Oahu.
Case was speaking at the “2019 Celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Members of the 116th Congress” last Tuesday, when the congressman, who is not Asian, tried to express his sentiments about representing a district that has a majority Asian population, the Washington Times reported.
“I’m an Asian trapped in a white body,” Case said, according to National Journal fellow Nicholas Wu, who tweeted Case’s comments.
Congressman Ed Case, who represents a majority Asian district in Honolulu – “I’m an Asian trapped in a white body” pic.twitter.com/Roro6Yk8CW
— Nicholas Wu (@nicholaswu12) January 16, 2019
Twitter expressed its outrage.
*this is how I stay relevant*: https://t.co/OFZfHvFWk5
— Yong Jung Cho (@YongJungC) January 16, 2019
WTF. As a haole who lived in Japan for 7 years and now lives in Hawaiʻi, I couldn’t imagine saying something like this. Check your privilege Ed Case. https://t.co/7kLkFFGOGx
— 808progressive (@808Progressive) January 16, 2019
Alexa, what’s the worst possible thing Ed Case could say?
— It is Happening Here (@jrrogersjr) January 16, 2019
I wonder if Tilda or Scarlett will play the Asian trapped in Ed Case’s body https://t.co/hoVLxbi41z
— Rekha PRANKar (@rekhalshankar) January 16, 2019
Same people who would applaud if he was trans can’t understand when I ‘white guy’ doesn’t inwardly connect with being white. I support Ed Case being whoever he feels like and if he wants to use the Asian bathroom, it’s okay with me. https://t.co/bQp3FdoqGd
— Vagobond🍍🏄🏽🤙 (@vagobond) January 16, 2019
Case tried to defuse the tsunami.
He emailed a statement to The Washington Post, saying he was “fiercely proud” to represent the ethnically diverse state of Hawaii.
“Like so many others from Hawaii who treasure our multicultural heritage, I have absorbed and live the values of our many cultures,” Case said.
“They and not my specific ethnicity are who I am, and I believe that this makes me an effective advocate on national issues affecting our API community,” he said.
“I regret if my specific remarks to the national API community on my full absorption of their concerns caused any offense,” he said.
Nestor Garcia, Case’s spokesman, said in the email that Case was talking about “what his Japanese-American wife sometimes says about him.”
Case had served in Congress from 2002 through 2007. He has run in Democratic primaries for the U.S. Senate but lost them, most recently to Sen. Mazie Hirono in 2012.
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