BY JAY BODAS & PATRICIA A. MILLER
Edison Democratic mayoral candidate Jun Choi didn’t think much of New Jersey 101.5 FM’s April 25 broadcast, where he heard himself and other Asian-Americans referred to as “damn Orientals and Indians.”
Hosts Craig Carton and Ray Rossi blasted Edison’s growing Asian population and derided Choi, who is challenging Mayor George A. Spadoro in the June primary.
“I don’t care if the Chinese population in Edison has quadrupled in the last year, Chinese should never dictate the outcome of an election, Americans should,” Carton said during the broadcast. “In Edison, this is just another example of us losing our own country. Ray and I represent the average guy in New Jersey, blue-collar white people.”
Choi listened to the end of the program live, after supporters called him during the program’s broadcast.
“It was very sad,” he said. “Unfortunately, despite all the progress we’ve made in this country on civil rights issues, comments like that can still be made on the air.”
Station manager Eric Johnson defended Carton and said that when he made the statements, he meant those running for mayor in Edison were targeting the Asian community.
“The comments were meant to be inclusionary, not exclusionary,” Johnson said. “Carton is not a racist. The statements were taken out of context. They did play on certain stereotypes. Craig said it all in a mocking, humorous manner. It was not said in a serious way.”
Carton and Rossi could not be reached for comment.
The comments angered community leaders and legislators who attended a press conference in Bergen County held by the Green American Association of New Jersey to protest the broadcast remarks.
The group is a social organization concerned with issues that affect Asian Americans.
“Hate is very contagious, and I hope it does not create chaos in our community,” said Christine Bae, president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York.
Bae sent a letter to the radio station calling for Carton, Rossi and the show’s producer to be fired. She also plans to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.
Comments made during the broadcast “create an atmosphere that allows discrimination to exist,” said Bergen County Assemblyman Robert Gordon, who attended the press conference.
“I found the comments to be repugnant, and all New Jerseyans should be offended by these remarks,” he said. “They have no place in civil discourse. The parties involved have a long history in doing this. They are equal-opportunity bullies, and the disc jockeys should apologize to the state.
Edison Mayor George Spadoro condemned the remarks made on the broadcast.
“The comments are derogatory to Asians,” the mayor said. “We are proud of our diverse population. Edison was built by immigrants, and the recent wave of immigrants is just a continuation of a long wave of immigration into the area.”
In another part of the broadcast, Carton exclaimed “damn Orientals and Indians” and asked a caller, “It’s like you’re a foreigner in your own country, isn’t it?”
State Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson (D-37th District) called the broadcast the “latest version” in the history of racism.
“This broadcast is stupidity at its best,” Johnson said. “I am speaking as an African-American, and I have seen firsthand what happened to African Americans when television and radio in the 1950s and 1960s depicted people of color as being lazy and unable to articulate the English language. This stigma then stuck for a generation, and it leads to an attitude that we are inferior and bolsters those who believe they are superior,” he said.
“I see the same thing reoccurring here today,” Johnson said.
“The comments were un-Jerseyan and un-American, Jun Choi said.