Rep. Colleen Hanabusa responded Friday to remarks made on Jan. 3 by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on social conditions in Hawaii and his characterizations of Asian-Americans.
"The state is in enormous debt," said O'Reilly. "A lot of social problems. When you say it's the biggest homeless thing, it's because of the addiction. The addiction is rampant, all over the place, because they don't enforce the drug laws."
O'Reilly goes on to say, "You know what's shocking? Thirty-five percent of the Hawaiian population is Asian. And Asian people are not liberal by nature. They're usually more industrious and hard-working."
Hanabusa responded by saying, "Leave it to Bill O'Reilly to thoughtlessly insult 1.3 million people with one sweeping statement."
The congresswoman says in the fourth quarter of 2012, Hawaii's major economic indicators were all positive. Hanabusa says visitor numbers are up, unemployment is down and personal income is up.
"The state's debt is stable and reasonable," said Hanabusa.
The representative said that O'Reilly's attempt to characterize Hawaii's Asian-American population was the most insulting.
"Claiming that Asian-Americans are not liberal by nature because they are 'hard working and industrious' is the kind of one dimensional and paternalistic attitude that we should have gotten past decades ago," said Hanabusa. "Hawaii's -- and America's -- Asian-American communities are as rich and diverse as any in our nation. Attributing any broad set of characteristics to any large group only serves to encourage attitudes that 'they' are somehow different from 'us.'"
Hanabusa also said that there is no justification for O'Reilly's claim that being "hard working and industrious" is in any way incompatible with holding liberal political views.
"Hawaii is the 'bluest' state in America, and it has been built through the hard work of generations of people of all persuasions," said Hanabusa. "Those who have succeeded through their own efforts do not turn their backs on those who continue to find themselves in need. We maintain our commitments to our seniors. We focus on ensuring that our children have access to education opportunities. And we are industrious for the sake of our communities, not just for personal gain."
Hanabusa says O'Reilly owes Hawaii and Asian-Americans an apology.
"And the next time he visits our state, I encourage him to spend more time getting to know real people, and less time sitting next to the pool and grousing about what he thinks is going on 'out there,'" said Hanabusa.