Community lashes out after slur: An e-mail about the Kauai police chief
has the mayor in hot water
LIHUE » Chinese-American Kauai residents are expressing anger at the racial slurs made by a Kauai County Police Commission member about Police Chief K.C. Lum.
They have also criticized the lack of response by Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste.
Baptiste did not release any statements yesterday about the racial slurs made by Kauai Police Commission member Leon Gonsalves Jr. about Lum and Deputy Chief Dan Venneman.
Outrage in the Chinese-American community was vocalized yesterday.
"If he (Gonsalves) were in a private corporation, he would be fired immediately," said Violet Hee, president of the Chinese Cultural Heritage Society of Kauai. "If I were him (Gonsalves), I would resign immediately."
Gonsalves is a retired Kauai police officer. He is Baptiste's only appointee on the Police Commission, and he was the only member to vote against the appointment of Lum as chief in September. Lum and Venneman were sworn in on Oct. 15.
On Oct. 14, Gonsalves sent an e-mail to a friend at the Kauai Police Department: "Tomorrow is the swearing-in for Hop Sing and Little Joe. I wouldn't be there, thank (God), I might throw up."
Copies of the e-mail were widely circulated, becoming an issue last weekend.
Hop Sing was the stereotyped Chinese cook for the Cartwright family on the long-running television series "Bonanza." Little Joe was the youngest of the Cartwright brothers.
On top of the obvious slur of comparing Lum to Hop Sing, numerous people were making the connection yesterday between the use of the Little Joe character and Venneman.
Michael Landon, who played Little Joe on the television series, was Jewish. His real name was Eugene Orowitz. Venneman is also Jewish.
Gonsalves has not responded to requests from the Star-Bulletin for an interview. He told the Garden Island, the local Kauai newspaper, "It was not meant to be derogatory. If anybody got hurt, I apologize."
Others in the Chinese-American community chimed in yesterday.
"The comments are very hurtful. They are ugly," said Mike Ching, a fourth-generation Kauai resident and vice chairman of the Police Commission. "We can't have this go un-addressed by the mayor."
Said Stanford Pa, another Police Commission member: "Very insulting. Very insulting."
As to Baptiste's lack of action, Pa, who is part-Chinese, said: "He can't keep dragging it on. It's going to affect his running for mayor again."
Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2004/10/28/news/story6.html
Cross-posted to hawaiians