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'Racist' flyers targeting Asian American voters are appearing in North Carolina, other states

 The front of a "Racist" mailer sent to Asian American voters in North Carolina and other states.
North Carolina Asian Americans Together
/
The front of a "Racist" mailer sent to Asian American voters in North Carolina and other states.

One flyer showing up in mailboxes across North Carolina has a picture of President Biden and says the government wants to replace white and Asian workers with Black and Latinx workers.

Sonya Patel is a physician who was raised and educated in the Triangle. Patel says she could not believe the flyer she got in the mail last week.

“I kept it for a minute just to share it in shock with some other people,” Patel said. “But I think it’s in the garbage now.”

A non-partisan organization focusing on Asian American voters is asking voters who received these flyers to throw them away and vote.

 The back of a "racist" mailer sent to Asian American voters in North Carolina and other states.
North Carolina Asian Americans Together
/
The back of a "racist" mailer sent to Asian American voters in North Carolina and other states.

Chavi Khanna Koneru is executive director of North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT). She calls the flyers that have shown up in mailboxes in almost all 100 counties “racist propaganda” that is attempting to make Asian Americans a wedge, pitting them against other communities of color.

“I just think this is an attempt to scare our community, to suppress our voice, to suppress our vote,” Khanna Koneru said. “We want to make sure that Asian Americans know that this is inaccurate information.”

Khanna Koneru says it does not seem coincidental the flyers came out when controversial cases on Affirmative Action were being heard before the U.S. Supreme Court. The two cases challenge race-based admissions policies at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and Harvard University, claiming they discriminate against Asian applicants.

“We do see these mail pieces as evidence that bad actors are fearing our growing political power,” Khanna Koneru said. “We will not let this propaganda divide us.”

Democratic leaders in New Jersey held a news conference last Thursday, “denouncing hate” after some residents receive similar flyers there, according to Philadelphia's WHYY.

Numbers from NCAAT show most of the more than 200,000 Asian American voters in North Carolina are “unaffiliated.” Khanna Koneru says during early voting, the percentage of Asian American youths voting almost doubled the statewide youth vote.

Asian American voters registered as Democrat, Republican and Unaffiliated have received the “racist” mailers. Patel says relatives in New York got one, too. She says the flyer reminded her to vote last week.

“There’s an early-voting place near my job and so I just kind of walked there in 10 minutes, voted and walked back to work,” said Patel. “I need to check this off my list."

Copyright 2022 North Carolina Public Radio. To see more, visit North Carolina Public Radio.

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She explores modern and historical constructs to tell stories of poverty and wealth, health and food culture, education and racial identity. Leoneda is also co-host of the podcast Tested, allowing for even more in-depth storytelling on those topics.