Malden councilor criticized for racist Halloween costume in 2019

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“I can and will do better,” said counselor Jadeane Sica.

Malden councilor Jadeane Sica.

Asian-American activists and other community groups are calling a staunch adviser for a racist Halloween costume she wore in 2019, they say, appropriating and dehumanizing Asian identity out of laughter.

In a photo that appeared online, Ward 8 councilor Jadeane Sica is seen wearing a bamboo hat, holding what appears to be a bottle of lotion, and wearing a black shirt with “Orchids of Asia” written on it – a reference to the Florida spa where Patriots owner Robert Kraft was captured in prostitution sting.

A man standing next to her in the photo can be seen with a Patriots outfit, a fake Lombardi trophy, and the aviation-style sunglasses Kraft often wears.

The photo appears to have been posted to Sica’s Facebook with a caption that reads: “Happy Halloween with a Happy Ending!”

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“While we congratulate Malden Ward 8 City Council Sica-Bernbaum for her recent victory, in the same week, we were deeply annoyed and furious to receive a screenshot of a Facebook photo of Councilor Sica-Bernbaum’s Halloween costume,” reads a statement. published Wednesday by the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition and signed by 15 other local organizations. “This costume is harmful, racist and ignorant.”

The groups say they condemn the suit for several reasons, including the use of a “yellow face that has historically led to the dehumanization of Asian people.”

The statement also denounces the “hypersexuality of Asian women,” which can lead to incidents such as the massage shootings in Atlanta in March that left eight people dead, many of them Asian-American women. The killings have highlighted the racism that can fuel violence against Asian Americans and sparked a nationwide conversation about the problem.

Activists also note that workers at Orchids of Asia have received severe punishments, including arrest from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as a result of the investigation while Kraft has seen his allegations dismissed.

Twenty-four other men were also charged with prostitution offenses, with all of them offenses.

“Our culture, our people, and our pain are not a suit. Malden is a city that is just over 22 percent Asian American. Our youth, especially our young women, should not be represented and ridiculed in this way by an elected official of our city, ”the statement said. “This is racial violence: the appropriation of an Asian identity for someone’s amusement.”

In addition, the state Legislative Delegation of Malden published an article statement on Wednesday, who noted in recent years “our society has engaged in a long-awaited reckoning with the detrimental effects of ethnic stereotypes and racist caricatures.”

“All people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity; we strongly condemn any actions that harm or eradicate any racial, religious or ethnic minority group, ”wrote the delegation, which includes state senator Jason Lewis and state representatives Paul Donato, Kate Lipper-Garabedian and Steven Ultrino.

Sica responded in her own statement and wrote that she attended a Halloween party two years ago “with costumes that lightened what was current news at the time.”

The statement, posted on Facebook, continued:

Since that time, many, including myself, have become much more aware of the fact that the women involved in such cases are too often vulnerable members of the Asian community who are victims of exploitation.

Those who know me know that I have love in my heart for people of all backgrounds, races and religions. I also recognize that bad intention is not a necessary ingredient for actions that hurt others. Looking back at the choice of costume through a brighter lens allows me to see now what I didn’t see then, which is that costumes that somehow portray another culture can be hurtful and in my case send a message inconsistent about it. I lived my public and private life. I can and will do better.

As a mother, daughter and public servant, I never stop learning. I appreciate every member of our community, regardless of background, race or religion, and remain committed to making Malden a welcoming home for all. I do thank those who took the time to express their concerns in a constructive manner. Wanting to talk about things respectfully is the core of who we are as Maldonians.

The organizations behind the statement condemning Sica’s costume sought her apology in addition to having her throw “her support behind policies and plans that support her immigrant, People of Colored items right here in Malden.”

The statement emphasized advertising the city’s “Language Access Plan” to increase the number of languages ​​the city uses to communicate with residents, as one example of an action Sica could take.

“We are writing this letter not to pound councilor Sica-Bernbaum, but to encourage her to reflect on the impact her actions have had, to learn about racism and the pain it causes, and to find ways to repair the public harm she has caused her. neighbors, as well as her own items, “the statement said.

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