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Taiwanese-American faces racist insults in campaign for Michigan Senate seat

A week after losing the primary to Stephanie Chang, her opponent Bettie Cook apologized for calling her a 'Ching-Chong'

(Image from Stephanie Chang's Campaign website)

(Image from Stephanie Chang's Campaign website)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Taiwanese-American running for the Michigan State Senate has been the target of racist slurs from her opponent in the race, but has been ultimately successful in her campaign.

Stephanie Chang, a daughter of Taiwanese immigrants living in Detroit was insulted by her opponent Bettie Cook, who reportedly told voters on the campaign “Don’t vote for the ching-chong! I called them ching-chongs. That’s what they are!”

Cook also reportedly called all of Chang’s campaign volunteers “Immigrants” and said of them “You don’t belong here. I want you out of my country.” She reportedly told a voter that “these immigrants from China are coming over and taking our community from us,” also failing to distinguish Chang’s Taiwanese heritage.

Both Chang and Cook are already members of the Michigan State House of Representatives, and were competing in the Democratic primary for the State Senate’s 1st District.

In the primary held Aug. 7, Chang defeated Bettie Cook handily, with 49 percent of the vote, while Cook took 11 percent. Chang is expected to win the general election in November.

On Aug. 16, after pressure from civic groups and individuals on social media, Bettie Cook, who is a black woman, finally apologized to Chang, her campaign staff, and her husband for her racist language on the campaign. Cook reportedly called Chang’s husband, who is also black, a "fool" for marrying Chang.

"I have reached out to Representative Chang to meet with her so that I may apologize to her in person. I pray she and the Asian American community can find it in their hearts to forgive me," Cook said according to the report at Metro Times.