Radio host Jesse Lee Peterson attacked Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang with bigoted comments last week.
“There is this little Asian guy or Chinese guy or whatever he is, he should go back to China or wherever he came from,” Peterson said. “You allow these people to come into our country and they come in with their socialist, communist ideas. … Can we send this guy back to wherever he came from? Let him go over there and give away free stuff. Why is he coming here to turn America into the place that he left?”
He began his Aug. 4 show criticizing Yang’s proposal that would grant all U.S. citizens over the age of 18 $1000 a month from the federal government, labeling it as “communist” and then mocking Yang for his Asian heritage.
He then hearkened back to common xenophobic rhetoric, telling Yang to “go back” to “wherever he came from.”
Yang was born in Schenectady, New York to Taiwanese immigrants.
He then called into question Yang’s masculinity, a common hateful jab against Asian men used to put them at the bottom of the hegemonic masculinity hierarchy.
“What a sick person,” Peterson said. “Beta male.”
Historically, this trope has been used to shame Asian immigrants for the “feminized” roles they commonly played in the workforce throughout much of U.S. history, according to a paper on bigoted myths against the Asian-American community by Yingda Guo.
Yang did not “come from” Taiwan, because he was born in the U.S. Not to mention the Government of the Republic of China, commonly known as the Government of Taiwan, is democratic and capitalist, not communist.
Guo’s paper further explains this othering of Asian-American men, saying, “Asian American males are not only portrayed as socially awkward people without any masculinity, they are also portrayed as “forever foreigners” who do not fit in the mainstream American norm. Many films and TV shows perpetrate and reinforce the “forever foreigner” stereotypes of Asian American men: The media tends to make fun of Asian American men.”
Peterson, a Black minister who once thanked God for slavery, hosted an anti- NAACP rally and said African-Americans “lack moral character,” has also mocked Yang before. When Yang broke down in tears at an August campaign event when speaking about how gun violence took the life of a four-year-old, Peterson called it “a bunch of crap.”
“Poor baby,” Peterson said. “I think that’s a stunt, too. I don’t think it’s real.”
Last year, CNN’s Piers Morgan cut Peterson’s mic off after he denounced Black Lives Matter for being founded by “lesbians and homosexuals.” He also took to Twitter last year to call President Trump the “great white hope.”
Yang’s seemingly-outlandish $1000-a-month universal basic income idea he calls “the Freedom Dividend” has certainly pushed him to the margins of the presidential race. His supporters have complained of a #YangMediaBlackout. Yang is number six in the polling average, the fourth tweeted about during debates, but the 14th most written about in news articles and the 13th most mentioned on cable news as of last month, according to Axios.
However, though Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Gov. John Hickenlooper and many others have dropped out of the 2019 Democratic presidential race, Yang is still in the running.