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Another Voice: Paladino’s ‘damn Asians’ remark must be condemned

By Satish Mohan

I have known Carl Paladino for 10 years, and have always admired him as a successful and savvy businessman interested in the growth of the Buffalo region. His election to the Buffalo School Board showed his popularity in his district. But some incidents show his style and his heart, which need to change if Paladino aspires to be good in public service.

During his race for New York governor, Paladino used to swing a baseball bat in every debate to show his frustration with corrupt politicians. Also at that time, some racist emails from and to his friends were discovered. And now comes his remark about “damn Asians” receiving subsidized education at the University at Buffalo. Paladino should have known before making such remarks that all Asian students pay full nonresident tuition. The UB president is very cost conscious and always computes the benefit-cost of everything that he does.

Over time, our country has moved ahead on racial discrimination, but a few people are behind the times; they have to catch up. A predominantly white Town of Amherst elected me, an Asian, as its town supervisor to lead the second-largest town in New York. That election showed to all that democracy works in our society, and we have crossed the race barrier. Paladino met me and later invited me to a party; he should have understood the changing trend in our society.

Asians have accomplished many of the advancements in science and technology in our country, and some of them are now being recognized. Microsoft’s board elected Satya Nadella, an Asian, as its CEO. Quite a few Asians are presidents and deans of respected universities.

We have been talking, forever, about locating a UB campus downtown. While these talks were continuing, we spent $45 million building a new medical school on the South Campus in the early 1990s. We continued to wish for a campus downtown. This effort needed Satish Tripathi, an Asian, who took no time in understanding the need, organized resources and announced a $350 million campus in downtown Buffalo within a few months of his taking over as UB president.

This much-needed UB campus will completely change the City of Buffalo as we know it now, and the credit goes to the leadership of Tripathi. In fact, Asians are proud and loyal Americans ready to dedicate their all for the betterment of this society of their choice.

Paladino’s comment about “damn Asians” was wrong, and must be condemned by every citizen of this great country. I ask Paladino to write an open letter of apology to the UB president, with the request that it be published in the UB newspaper.

Satish Mohan is an associate professor of civil engineering at the University at Buffalo and a former Amherst town supervisor.