Dem Rep Tackey Chan's Bill H.3361

In January of this year, Democratic House Representative Tackey Chan of Quincy, MA, proposed Bill H.3361.

The text states: “SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any General Law or Special Law to the contrary, all state agencies, quasi-state agencies, entities created by state statute and sub-divisions of state agencies shall identify Asian American and Pacific Islanders as defined by the United States Census Bureau in all data collected as part any and all types of data collection, reporting or verification; provided further that, the five largest Asian American and Pacific Islander ethnic groups residing in the Commonwealth shall have individually reported data as part of the total Asian American Pacific Islander reporting.”

What this means: census documents, job applications, passports and other personal ID documents will identify Asian Americans - which they already do - but break them down into one of the five largest groups, such as Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean and Pacific Islanders (Malaysian, Thai, etc). source:

Why Mr. Tackey Chan proposed this bill: the owners of Kam Man and other Asian businesses want to remain open during Thanksgiving and Christmas, because there is money to be earned. They can also then have overtime or holiday pay for their workers who choose to work that day. The bill is also an expression of freedom of celebration. Thanksgiving is to celebrate the survival of the Mayflower settlers, but their subsequent massacre of Native Americans is a bit of distasteful history. Many Asian Americans are also not Christian and would not celebrate Christmas. Mr. Chan probably also thought more data means more representation. source: 

Why protesters are against it: three main reasons. 1. Separating Asian Americans by ethnicity brings back terrible memories of Japanese internment camps and spheres of influence in China from WWII. 2. No other race is required to identify according to ethnicity. Forms usually say White, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, Mixed/Other. The idea is that, if Asian Americans are required to identify according to ethnicity, then other races may be too, and that is divisive. It goes back to ideas of nativism, when even Irish people weren’t considered white. The protesters think it’s a step back. 3. This is hard to implement, and will require the re-printing of many forms. There are also mixed ethnicity relationships, like if a person is both Chinese and Vietnamese, do they check Mixed/Other? source: 

The Boston Forward Foundation even had a Facebook event for it.

If you ask my opinion, I would probably vote against this bill. I am Chinese, and while we are minority compared to white people, there are more of us than the people who would be classified as Pacific Islanders. Just because China is a more powerful country than the Pacific Islands, it doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that Chinese people are more important. While I agree with people’s choice not to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, closing for 2 American holidays can’t possibly hurt business that much. Oh yea, and disclaimer, my opinion is mine, and is not representative of this blog. Please let us know what you think in the comments section.