A statement from the Michigan Student Power Network at the University of Michigan and the United Asian American Organizations Executive Board:
Several weeks ago, the Vice President of the College Republicans at UM-Ann Arbor, Kathy Zhu, began a series of racist attacks against a Black U-M student on Twitter in response to their posting a video of a Trump supporter’s MAGA hat being grabbed. She published hateful tweets and mobilized thousands of her online followers to harass the student. This is not the first time Kathy has made anti-Black remarks and earlier this year, statements led to her rightful dismissal from the Miss America Pageant and her sorority. At the time of this writing, she continues to release comments and statements on her social media accounts.
MSPN and UAAO executive board condemn Kathy and her followers' anti-Black attacks. We stand in opposition to her harmful remarks, as the statements on her Twitter not only espouse violent rhetoric against marginalized people but also galvanize those who condone her responses. Kathy’s statements hold no place in a university that presents itself as a pillar of diversity, equity, and inclusion and we affirm the position of those who will stand against her.
We do not support any rhetoric boosting white supremacy. Although Kathy is a member of this university’s A/PIA student body, we cannot have her voice bolstered as one that represents the A/PIA community’s views. We also stand in resistance to the racist and baseless responses she has made towards primarily Black students.
The UAAO Executive Board remains cognizant of how the model minority myth and anti-Blackness have operated in our community to negatively impact progress on affirmative action. Kathy’s weaponization of Asian American identity in this conversation uses a homogenous framing of our community as predominantly East Asian and of high socioeconomic status. As an organization, we refuse this erasure of marginalized groups that exist within our own marginalized community.
As students that organize for and in solidarity with racialized students, we recognize that the model minority myth places the A/PIA community in a unique position. This rhetoric is exclusionary and harms not only non-conforming A/PIAs, but also communities of color who we must stand with in order to combat white supremacy. We affirm that our liberation will not be found by positioning ourselves in proximity to whiteness.
MSPN and UAAO stands in support of Black communities and spaces harmed by Kathy and her affiliated organizations' statements and rhetoric. We urge the College Republicans to take accountability for their member’s actions and join us in condemning this behavior which has no place in our community.