Lotus Chau

BRIC-TV

Lotus Chau, reporter at Sing Tao New York.

Tuesday, March 10, was not quite two months ago, but it seems like years have passed since City Limits and BRIC-TV sat down with Lotus Chau, a veteran reporter at Sing Tao, one of the mainstays of Chinese-language journalism in New York City for decades, to talk about how she was reporting on the presidential race.

Back then, there was still an active race for the Democratic nomination. No one in New York City had died from COVID-19. And President Trump had not yet labeled the disease “the Chinese virus.”

A different world, a changed city and a much evolved 2020 campaign exist today.

Chau’s insights, however, still resonate. She talked about how voters in New York’s Chinese enclaves break down between Democrats and Republicans, how different factions view the president and the issues that drive sentiment among the growing Chinese electorate in the city (hint: The city’s specialized high-school admissions test, or SHSAT, is a dominant concern).

Like the earlier installments in the series, where we spoke with journalists who serve Irish and Spanish-speaking New York, Chau reinforces the truths—which we all know on some level, but sometimes forget—that no ethnic group is a monolith and that common sentiments link people of all backgrounds.

Yet Chau and her counterparts at the Irish Voice and El Diario also make clear that ethnic lenses do matter.

Yes, it’s the very nature of democracy for people of vastly different backgrounds to cast their ballots for the same candidates. But identity, the strength of connections to ancestral places and the unique immigrant experiences of different groups can help to explain why—what drives those political sentiments and how they change over time. They are elements in the collective political DNA that will chart our future.

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