Hawaii Lawmaker Made A Hurtful Letter Public To Expose How Racism Spreads

"You need to understand your words have consequences."


Hawaii State Rep. Beth Fukumoto shared hate-filled letter she says she received from a Californian sender on Twitter this month, with the express purpose of illustrating the consequences of turning a blind eye to instances of racism.

Fukumoto, who previously held a leadership role in Hawaii's Republican party but has since switched to the Democratic Party, tweeted a photo of the letter on August 16. It begins by calling Fukumoto a bitch, and subsequently reaches a crescendo of ignorance and intolerance. A choice excerpt: "Your poor grand parents got put into a camp in the USA? Boo hoo hoo ― you Japs murdered thousands of servicemen at Pearl Harbor ― did you forget that detail?" 

It appears the letter was written a few days before the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, but Fukumoto tells HuffPost that she received it in the days following. Though this is hardly the first time the 34-year-old has received a vulgar piece of mail, she tells the publication that this particular letter "was more upsetting than usual," and attributes its tenor to the apparent recent reluctance by some to condemn hate.

"I'm so moved by what's happening nationally and I feel so frustrated and sad," Fukumoto told Hawaii News Now last week.

What's more? Fukumoto's letter supports the Southern Poverty Law Center's findings that bias-related harassment and intimidation around the country have been on the rise since the election. The organization documented 1,094 bias-related incidents from November 9 to December 12. 

"To see what's going on nationally ― and really has been going on nationally for a long time ― minorities are being told, 'You're scared for no reason. You're making things up. You're the one inciting violence,'" Fukumoto told HuffPost of the ongoing debate by some in politics over whether discrimination since the election has been accurately reported. (Although there are certainly instances of fake news, many outlets, including Slate, have been meticulous in their documenting of hate crimes.)

"I did want to weigh into that a little bit and say this is what's actually happening, and it's happening to people you know," she said.


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