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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

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July 20, 2012 at 10:35 AM

A suggested better response to McKenna staffer’s tweets

This post is by Madeline Moy, a recent graduate of the UW Department of Communication’s digital media Master’s program.

SEATTLE — While scanning Facebook the other night, I took special notice of a post celebrating the departure of Kathlyn Ehl from the campaign staff of Washington state gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna.

The controversial tweets by Ehl have since been deleted.

These are screen captures of Kathlyn Ehl’s controversial tweets. Both tweets have since been deleted.

Ehl recently came under fire for authoring two offensive tweets that denigrated Asians and elderly people. The Stranger broke the story on Monday, The Seattle Times editorial board called for Ehl to be fired on Tuesday, and Ehl resigned on Wednesday.

I was especially disappointed and disgusted by Ehl’s tweet: “shut up and speak english #asians.” It unfortunately reminded me of the “Asians in the Library” rant that UCLA student Alexandra Wallace posted on YouTube last year.

I am a second-generation Filipino American who was born and raised in Washington state. It hurts when I’m reminded that many of my fellow Americans will always view me as a foreigner. It also makes me angry to know that recent and not-so-recent Asian immigrants have to deal with this kind of bigotry and ignorance.

As a communications professional, I find it appalling that Ehl apparently thought nothing of posting such a comment on Twitter, an international public platform.

However, while many of my friends—especially those who are Asian American like me—cheered and applauded when they heard that Ehl resigned, to me it felt like a hollow victory.

So we publicly shamed and cowed a junior staffer of the McKenna campaign. So what? Is this something that we really want to celebrate?

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: ageism, Asians, Kathlyn Ehl