President Biden plans to nominate former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel as U.S. Ambassador to Japan, despite his controversial past. Emanuel attempted to cover up a racially motivated police shooting in Chicago in 2014 and used racist anti-Asian stereotypes while speaking at a Chicago Council event in 2019.
Emanuel was introduced by an Asian American student when he proceeded to inappropriately pat her on the buttocks, and told the audience “I just asked her if she was up for adoption”. “You’re quiet, right? You do a lot of studying, so we don’t have to worry about it,” Emanuel stated in a degrading manner. It appears the former mayor was making use of the harmful “model minority” stereotype in Asian Americans, referring to them as quiet nerds.
The Democratic controlled Senate must confirm Emanuel’s nomination, and it is still unclear whether his past of racial stereotyping will be a disqualifying offense. If confirmed, many believe his racist notions towards Asian Americans could be problematic for his efforts in Japan.