HCC board member under fire for comments about United passenger

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Houston Community College board member is under fire after controversial comments about the United passenger who was dragged off a plane.

The post by Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz is being called offensive.

"The fact that she says we never stand up for anyone else is so wrong. We have in the past. We will continue in the future," said Rogene Calvert, who is a board member for the Organization of Community Advocates.

OCA, formerly the Organization of Chinese Americans, is a social justice group with chapters across the country.

Calvert called Evans-Shabaaz's use of the term "oriental" dated and reflective of a lack of basic knowledge of today's Asian-American community.

"It's a term that we regard as being very negative," said Calvert.

Dr. Evans-Shabazz insisted she never meant any offense.

"If it's being interpreted to mean something negative, it's certainly being misinterpreted," she said.

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She added that anyone who knows her knows she is an activist looking to be inclusive of other ethnicities and faiths, not the opposite.

Evans-Shabazz insisted she didn't know some might be offended by the term "oriental."

But, she stuck to this point about rallying on behalf of victims: "I have yet to see Asian-Americans participate."

She hopes her statement will be taken as a plea - one encouraging participation not just of Asian-Americans, but of all ethnicities and religions to come together no matter what the heritage of someone being wronged.

"I know that we must be inclusive in order to address what's pervasively getting worse in the society. We all need to stand together," she said.

Evans-Shabazz noted that the final line of her post contained the hashtags "love and support all victims" and "love all people."

For its part, a HCC spokesperson said only that the institution values every member of the community.

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