Racist campaign fliers containing anti-Indian and anti-Chinese messages were recently sent out to residents of Edison, New Jersey in a brazen attack against two Asian American school board candidates.
The political ad, proclaiming “Make Edison Great Again”, came in the form of a postcard sent by a still unknown party on Wednesday calling for the deportation of the local board of education candidates Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel, reports the Associated Press.
Written next to their images were the words: “Stop Jerry Shi & Falguni Patel from taking over our school board”. Their photos were also made to look they were stamped with the word “deport”.
“The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town. Chinese school! Indian school! Cricket fields! Enough is enough,” read the additional text written right below the candidates’ photos.
The back of the postcard reads:
“Stop the overcrowding! Stop taking over our sports fields! Stop the McMansions! Stop the multiple families living in the same house! Stop wasting school holiday! Stop the outsiders!
“Let’s take back Edison and our schools!”
Authorities are reportedly investigating the racist ads as no group has so far taken credit for their delivery. Under state election laws, anonymously mailed political ads are illegal.
Shi, who was previously appointed to sit on the Edison township school board, is now running for re-election in the local election scheduled for next week.
Immigration lawyer Patel, on the other hand, holds an unelected committee position on the board with Shi. Both are running for one of Edison’s three open school board seats.
“I’m obviously disgusted by it, to say the least,” Patel told local radio station NJ101.5. “I didn’t expect anything like that. We live in such a diverse town, it’s very shocking somebody would put that in writing.”
“I was born and raised in New Jersey. To see the word ‘deport’ on my picture — where are you going to deport me to? Really, it’s just outrageous.”
According to Census data, the majority of Edison’s 100,000 residents are Asian, with a community predominantly consisting of Chinese and Indian immigrants.
Republican mayoral candidate Keith Hahn decried the ad in a Facebook post.
“Disgraceful and offensive campaign tactics cannot be tolerated,” Hahn wrote. “I will track down the anonymous cowards behind this piece.”
Democratic mayoral candidate Tom Lankey, also denounced the racist ad in a statement, saying:
“It has become a sad reality that in our polarized political atmosphere, some people suddenly feel empowered to publicly express these vile ideas. Make no mistake, we will do everything we can to expose the shameful people behind this.”