The Edison School Board racist mailer: Taking cues from Trump-style hate-mongering

UPDATE: Statement from South Asian American Caucus of the NJ Democratic State Committee. Below, in Comments.

Make Edison Great Again
“DEPORT”  – plastered over photos of candidates Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel.
The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town! Chinese school! Indian school! Cricket fields!
Stop the outsiders!

This piece of crap arrived yesterday in the mailboxes of Edison-area residents, apparently a mass mailing. Notably, it lacks the required political identification statement – the “paid for” requirement required by state election law. The people who funded this, wrote it, assembled it, and got it into the mail to hit last before election day, are too chickenshit to take responsibility for it. The anonymous mailer was quickly denounced by Mayor Thomas Lankey, and the Republican running to replace him, Keith Hahn. I hope they both mean it.

This is Edison. You can’t mistake the implications of a racist hit piece in a town where nearly half of residents are Asian (2010 census), especially one that mimics Donald Trump’s #MAGA dog-whistle, which many of his voters hear as ‘cleansing’ America of non-whites and immigrant families. If there are real issues that those who oppose Shi and Patel have, this mailer does nothing to focus conversation, or illuminate voters or make any good-faith argument against them. If I lived in Edison and got this, I’d probably conclude that those venal enough to hate-monger probably have nothing to add to civic discourse but their own hate. This would make me more likely to vote for both Shi and Patel. And this is national news now, just like the story of GOP Assemblyman Parker Space posing with the Confederate flag. What a damn shame. We are better than this.

Four of the nine seats on the Edison Township school board are up in this Tuesday’s election. Shi and Patel are not the only Asians running, but they are the only ones targeted in this mailer. School board election is non-partisan but Patel is a Democratic committeewoman in Edison. Jerry Shi is an incumbent on the Edison school board, having served since 2014.

Comments (8)

  1. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Cricket fields? There’s no hope for our country.

    1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

      Right? Cricket is awesome.

      1. Bill Orr

        LOL I find cricket bland, boring and often elitist, but at least it requires a smaller space than soccer or football. Hopefully Shi and Patel will get strong support.

  2. Tom Gardner

    On the upside, this mailer managed to make Dotard J’s MAGA dog whistling seem subtle by comparison. So much winning!

    1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

      There is that.

  3. Tom O'Neill

    Awful, of course. But I had to laugh at the order of the items in the complaint: “Chinese school. . .Indian School. . .Cricket fields.”

    1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

      Right. It’s utterly ridiculous, stoking racial resentment over cricket fields, when it’s likely our little mailer-writing anonymous elves probably want those outdoor spaces for their Klan rallies.

  4. Rosi Efthim (Post author)


      We have this statement from Khyati Joshi co-Chair (with Satish Poondi) of the state Dems’ South Asian American Caucus, which had its 2013 inaugural event in Edison.

      “The South Asian American Caucus of the N.J. Democratic State Committee (SAAC) condemns the overt and covert racist language in a recent flyer/mailer sent out in connection with the Board of Education race in Edison. The flyer, which plays on racial and religious prejudice against Asian Americans, is part of an unfortunate pattern in American political discourse where voters are consistently fed anger, vitriol, and racist sentiments, creating a toxic and divisive political climate from the national level to the local level. SAAC has been working together for years to promote civic engagement and increased political participation in our communities. We look forward to continuing this work in Edison, in Middlesex County, and across New Jersey.”


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