Detroit Rep. Scott apologizes for calling Asian American opponent ‘ching-chong’

Rep. Bettie Scott, left, and Rep. Stephanie Chang, right.

State Rep. Bettie Cook Scott, under fire from more than a dozen progressive groups, has apologized for using a series of racial slurs to describe her Asian-American opponent for state Senate.

Scott, who is black and considers herself a civil rights advocate, referred to Rep. Stephanie Chang as “ching-chang” and the “ching-chong” while talking to voters outside polling precincts during the Aug. 7 primary, eyewitnesses told Metro Times.

She also is accused of referring to one of Chang’s campaign volunteers as an “immigrant,” saying “You don’t belong here” and “I want you out of my country.”

Scott and Chang, who is of Taiwanese descent, were vying for the Democratic nomination for state Senate District 1 in Detroit, which Chang won with 49% of the vote. Scott captured just 11%, coming in third.

The tirade prompted outcry among numerous organizations and the Michigan Democratic Party.

In a statement issued by her attorney Bill Noakes, Scott said, “I deeply regret the comments I made that have proven hurtful to so many. Those are words I never should have said.”

Scott, a former school teacher and Detroit police officer, is serving her third term in the state House and was running for the Senate because of term limits.

Chang is an outspoken critic of racism and has spent a bulk of her time in the Legislature focusing on racial and income disparities.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.