FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: KIMBERLY SHINTAKU, NATIONAL YOUTH CHAIR
BRANDON MITA, NATIONAL YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE
February 4, 2009
JACL NY/SC CONDEMNS MILEY CYRUS' RACIAL GESTURE
The Japanese American Citizens League's National Youth/Student Council (JACL NY/SC), the youth body of the largest Asian Pacific American civil and human rights organization in the nation, is greatly dismayed with the photograph of Miley Cyrus and friends slanting and narrowing their eyes in an effort to mock Asian Pacific Americans.
The JACL NY/SC is well-versed in the racial mockery displayed by Ms. Cyrus. As Asian Pacific American youth and students, we recall the instances of childhood ignorance where classmates would pull back their eyes in jest. The pain the gesture evokes is powerful. This gesture is a harsh and constant reminder that Asian Pacific Americans are treated differently and not accepted as equals. It is a bold statement that uses Asian Pacific Americans' immutable characteristics, characteristics we cannot alter, as a way to isolate and alienate us. As members of Ms. Cyrus' generation, we condemn this behavior as insensitive and inappropriate.
Ms. Cyrus' fan base is extensive and encompasses members of our organization. Many of us consider Ms. Cyrus as a role model who has now offended a portion of her fans. It is difficult to simply dismiss this as a prank when it is a source of anguish for so many Asian Pacific Americans. We hope that Ms. Cyrus recognizes the error of her conduct and offers an appropriate apology to deter future similar behavior.
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