Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Japanese American Woman, 58, Beaten While Canvassing in WI

This past weekend, WISN News in Wisconsin reported that Nancy Takehara, 58, was assaulted by a homeowner while canvassing for Barack Obama in the town of Caledonia, WI.

Takehara, a Japanese American from Chicago who had volunteered to canvass in the neighboring state, told WISN that the homeowner first became verbally abusive before the incident escalated to physical violence.

“The next thing I know he’s telling us we’re not his people, we’re probably with ACORN, and he started screaming and raving,” Takehara said. “He grabbed me by the back of the neck. I thought he was going to rip my hair out of my head. He was pounding on my head and screaming. The man terrified me.”

Takehara refused medical treatment, but the police were called in and have reported they are investigating the incident.

The attack comes at a time when the McCain/Palin campaign was been facing increasing criticism for using rhetoric that some see as coded race-baiting, inspiring xenophobic sentiments in its base. The repetition of phrases such as "Real Americans" and attempts to associate Obama with "terrorists" in the waning days of the campaign have recalled for many Asian Americans the 2006 midterms, when VA Senator George Allen similarly hailed "Real Virginians" in the "Real America" before losing his re-election bid after referring to an man of South Asian descent as "macaca" at a campaign rally.

“This negative stuff has to stop,” Takehara told WISN. “We’re all Americans. This is all about protecting our democracy, not about attacking each other.”

Takehara said she was comforted to have received a personal phone call from Barack Obama after the incident. “Senator Obama understood…," WISN quoted her as saying. "It was wonderful. It made me feel wonderful. It made me feel connected to this government again.”

On the Web

WISN Coverage of Assault

Google News Coverage: q=nancy+takehara