SAN FRANCISCO – An editor of a weekly newspaper calling itself "The Voice of Asian America" apologized and suspended a columnist after Asian-American and city leaders condemned an opinion piece titled "Why I Hate Blacks."
In the piece, which appeared in the Feb. 23 edition of San Francisco-based AsianWeek, contributor Kenneth Eng lists reasons why he supports discrimination against blacks — including because "they are the only race that has been enslaved for 300 years."
Leaders at the Asian American Justice Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Coalition for Asian Pacific Americans and other groups are circulating a petition denouncing the column as "irresponsible journalism, blatantly racist, replete with stereotypes, and deeply hurtful to African Americans."
Ted Fang, AsianWeek's editor-at-large, called the decision to publish Eng's piece a "mistake" and held a news conference with leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in San Francisco on Wednesday to discuss how the Asian and black communities "can be different and yet get along and work together."
Fang said he suspended Eng from writing for the paper.
"The newspaper is sorry that this got published, and I am personally sorry that this got published," Fang told The Associated Press. "The views in that opinion piece do not in any way reflect the views of AsianWeek."
The paper, with a circulation of 48,505, plans to review its policies to "understand how this happened and make sure it doesn't happen again," he added.
The president of the civil rights group the NAACP, Bruce S. Gordon, said in a statement that Eng's column exposed "the racial tension — often hidden, but still very much present — in communities across America. These types of remarks widen the racial divide and further promote negative stereotypes."
Fang's family publishes AsianWeek, along with a local newspaper called the Independent, and owned the San Francisco Examiner between 2000 and 2004.
The petition being circulated by Asian-American groups calls on AsianWeek to cut ties with Eng, issue an apology, print an editorial refuting the column, and fire or demote the editors who published it.
"It certainly does not speak for the vast majority of Asian Americans," Stewart Kwoh, who heads the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles, said Tuesday. "This kind of inflammatory (column) really can hurt and damage relations with the broader African-American community."
Kenneth Eng, who has described himself as an "Asian Supremacist," has written several columns for AsianWeek since November, including pieces titled "Proof That Whites Inherently Hate Us" and "Why I Hate Asians."
Eng is in his early 20s and a graduate of New York University, according to a biography on a Web site promoting his science fiction writing.
A telephone listing for Eng could not immediately be located.
Mayor Gavin Newsom said in a statement that the column had "no place in a city that is known around the world for civil rights and equality for all people. I am deeply concerned, both for the opinions expressed in the column and the fact that these opinions were published in a local newspaper."
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, one of the city's top black officials, has co-sponsored a city resolution condemning the article and AsianWeek's decision to publish it. But she doesn't believe Eng's column will hurt relations between blacks and Asians in San Francisco.
"This man clearly is very ignorant of African-American history and his own history, and he's very angry," said Maxwell, who represents a district with large black and Asian populations.