Hensen’s comments: insulting and insensitive

Te-Yee Jonathan Eng

In regards to Justice Diane Hensen’s remarks toward Grant Rostig at “Meet the Candidates: Austin’s Town Hall Meeting,” telling an immigrant to go back where he or she came from is not just insensitive but insulting. Like Mr. Rostig, I emigrated to America as a child, albeit from Malaysia in my case. It’s not easy for a family to move to a completely different country, and it’s a lifelong struggle for an immigrant child to fit into American society. Like Mr. Rostig, I am also a naturalized citizen, and I further showed my loyalty to this country by serving in the military in Afghanistan as a  member of the Marine Corps Reserves last year.

Justice Hensen said her remark was made to highlight how “silly” Rostig’s view that there was too much government control in Texas and how socialism has “crept” into the state. That’s understandable; the term “socialism” has been tossed around too easily the last few years and made into a boogeyman. But she also claimed her comments were made as a “citizen, not a judge.” I take issue with that as well. She is a citizen, but she is still an elected official and whatever she says will always reflect her office. Also, if you have an issue about a person’s remarks, focus on the remarks and not the person.

And as much as I hate to drag race into this, I wonder if it was easy for the crowd to cheer Justice Hensen’s remarks because Mr. Rostig is white and from Canada. I’m certain Justice Hensen would not have said what she said and the crowd would not have cheered if Mr. Rostig were a person of color or had emigrated from a Third-World country.

-Te-Yee Jonathan Eng is a government alumnus of the class of 2010.