Texas Rep. Chip Roy clearly doesn’t understand what it means to speak out against anti-Asian hate.
During a Thursday House Judiciary Committee hearing on discrimination and violence against Asian-Americans, Roy made inflammatory opening remarks which resulted in calls for him to step down.
“We believe in justice … There’s old sayings in Texas about… ‘find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree’,” Roy, a Republican and former prosecutor, casually said. “You know, we take justice very seriously, and we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys.”
The comments deflected from the tragedy in Georgia, as well as the repeated attacks against members of the AAPI community.
In response Roy’s Democrat colleague Rep. Grace Meng from New York had no problem letting him know that hijacking the House Judiciary Committee hearing was unacceptable.
“Your president, and your party, and your colleagues can talk about issues with any other country that you want,” Meng, First vice chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, forcefully said in response to Roy’s remarks. “But you don’t have to do it by putting a bullseye on the back of Asian Americans across this country. On our grandparents, on our kids.”
Representing New York’s 6th congressional district, Meng has led the charge against anti-Asian hate. She has received hateful messages on her voicemail as a result of her leadership in passing legislation last year that condemned anti-Asian hate.
Roy also made other false equivalences between the eight people killed in Georgia, the “victims of cartels” at the border, and “victims of rioting and looting” last summer.
Roy seemed more outraged and protective of the right to use inflammatory rhetoric than the eight lives violent taken Tuesday night. Roy’s reference of China and the Chinese Communist party proves the point of those demanding an end to anti-Asian hate.
“Who decides what is hate?” he continued.
Newsflash for Roy: Not all Asian people are Chinese. Four of the women killed on Tuesday were Korean.
Roy also delved into the key conservative talking point of unrestricted speech. Roy said policing rhetoric, goes against “free society, free speech.”
The remarks harken back to heightened violence towards AAPI community members. A recent study showed the former president’s tweet calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” led to a spike in anti-Asian hashtags. That same rhetoric has been connected to the spike in anti-Asian violence over the past year.
Meng did not mince words in re-centering the purpose of the hearing on attacks on Asian communities across the country. “This hearing was to address the hurt and pain of our community, to find solutions and we will not let you take our voice away from us.”
Not surprisingly Roy is doubling down on his comments.
“Apparently some folks are freaking out that I used an old expression about finding all the rope in Texas and a tall oak tree about carrying out justice against bad guys. I meant it,” Roy said in a statement released following the hearing. “We need more justice and less thought policing. We need to stop evil doers, such as those who carried out the attack in Atlanta this week, or cartels abusing little children. … We should restore order by tamping out evil actors, not turn America into an authoritarian state like the Chinese communists who seek to destroy us.”
“No apologies,” he continued.
Anoa Changa is a movement journalist and retired attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow Anoa on Instagram and Twitter @thewaywithanoa.
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