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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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Texas politician Shelley Luther’s remarks are ‘evidently racist,’ UH CALCO says


racist remarks

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Shelley Luther, a Republican candidate running for a position in the Texas House of Representatives, has attracted controversy over a racist remark in a tweet calling for Chinese students to be banned from Texas universities. 

Luther is known by some as a major figure in the anti-lockdown movement protesting measures put in place to protect against COVID-19. She went on to clarify her position on the matter in a later tweet

“Texas Taxpayers should not be subsidizing the next generation of Chinese Communist Party leaders,” Luther said in the tweet. “CCP members should not have access to our schools.” 

Luther’s statements have received broad criticism, including from on-campus organizations such as the Chinese American Language and Culture Organization.

“Luther’s statement is extremely and evidently racist,” said CALCO officer Thalia Sevajanes. “Condemning Chinese students because of their government undermines what diversity is all about – learning about each other’s culture and respecting the differences.”

Several professors on campus also condemned Luther’s comments, with some worrying that her comments would add to anti-Asian sentiment in the United States.

“These comments reflect the intolerance seen since the outbreak of COVID,” said political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus. “If these statements aren’t repudiated by other Republicans, animosity will fester.”

Luther has previously run for state senate during a special election in 2020, where she was defeated by the sitting candidate. She is currently facing the previously unchallenged incumbent candidate Reggie Smith for his seat in the Texas House of Representatives. 

Political science professor J. Bryan Cole expressed doubts that Luther is capable of winning the election, noting the advantages incumbent candidates usually have.

“My guess is that Reggie Smith is in a much stronger position to win,” Cole said. “Incumbents have numerous advantages over challengers, including name recognition and better funding.”

Cole also made sure to caution against simply dismissing Luther’s comments as harmless.

“Instances of hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen sharply since the pandemic’s start,” Cole said. “Even if no one acts on Mrs. Luther’s rhetoric directly, such comments still generate fear.”

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