Cherry Creek schools, Asian partnership chief criticize Greenwood Village newspaper’s ‘racist’ April Fools satire

2796
A picture of a Page One article in the Greenwood Villager newspaper, apparently an April Fools Day parody. Cherry Creek schools and Aurora regional Asian Pacific Partnership officials say the piece is racist and hurtful in how it refers to Chinese people and inferences to Wuhan City.

GREENWOOD VILLAGE | Cherry Creek School District officials were harshly critical of a satirical article published in the Greenwood Villager newspaper that name-dropped the district, which tabbed the jest as racist and xenophobic.

The Villager is a weekly community paper based in Greenwood Village that serves parts of the south metro Denver area.

In its edition published on April 1, a fictional article on the front page designed to look like a news brief headlined “America’s Largest Amusement Park Heads to Greenwood Village” by “Loof Lipra” discusses plans for an amusement park to be built next to the Landmark Towers.

A representative from the Villager newspaper could not be reached for comment.

The article says the park development was kept under wraps because it is being built by a Chinese firm, and that the planning commission met secretly with Chinese developers “because of the recent Asian alleged hate crimes.”

The article says that because the project will import Chinese workers and their families, the Cherry Creek School District is expecting 1,000 students from China and is looking into introducing Mandarin into the curriculum.

It also said that area hotels are “adding more rice, vegetables and chopsticks to their morning breakfasts.”

The article said in apparent April Fool’s parody that the amusement park will sell marijuana-laced candy and popcorn and will feature a firing range where people can shoot AK-47s. It ended with “if you made it this far, examine who wrote the article,” and a winking emoji.

The April Fool’s joke hit the wrong tone with some readers. Harry Budisidharta, executive director of the Asian Pacific Development Center in Aurora, posted a photo of the article on Twitter with the caption “shame on Villager Denver for writing and publishing this racist article.”

In a message to the Cherry Creek community on Friday, current and incoming superintendent Scott Siegfried and Chris Smith criticized the article for being intolerant toward Asian Americans. Full text of the letter is below. 

“This week, The Villager newspaper published a satirical story on its front page that included rhetoric about Chinese Americans that is racist, xenophobic, and extremely insensitive to the current anxiety and pain plaguing much of our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities,” Siegfried wrote. 

“The article specifically mentions the Cherry Creek Schools Board of Education and incoming Superintendent Christopher Smith, and we want to be clear to our community that we renounce the racist rhetoric used in this article and it does not align with our values of respect and inclusivity.”

In a statement, Smith said that he is “committed to continuing and expanding our racial equity work and ensuring that our schools are places where all students feel valued, respected and safe.”

Smith called on the Villager to “reflect on its article and issue an apology to the community for printing it,” and Siegfried said that he and the school board would also like an apology and a retraction.


Text of the letter sent Friday from Cherry Creek School District Superintendent Scott Siegfried to district parents:

Dear Cherry Creek Schools Community,

Two weeks ago, I expressed that Cherry Creek Schools stands with our Asian American community in the face of increased acts of hate and incidents of racism since the start of the pandemic. We are less than four weeks out from the shooting in Atlanta last month that killed eight people, including six Asian Americans.

Today I write again to say we do not tolerate acts that harm Asian Americans, or any member of our community.

This week, The Villager newspaper published a satirical story on its front page that included rhetoric about Chinese Americans that is racist, xenophobic, and extremely insensitive to the current anxiety and pain plaguing much of our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

The article specifically mentions the Cherry Creek Schools Board of Education and incoming Superintendent Christopher Smith, and we want to be clear to our community that we renounce the racist rhetoric used in this article and it does not align with our values of respect and inclusivity.

Incoming Superintendent Smith released the following statement regarding The Villager article: “The racist and xenophobic language used in this article is harmful to the Asian American community and it is offensive to all of us. In Cherry Creek Schools, I am committed to continuing and expanding our racial equity work and ensuring that our schools are places where all students feel valued, respected and safe,” Smith said.

“It is incumbent on all of us to stand up and say something when we see discrimination or racism in our community. I call on The Villager to reflect on its article and issue an apology to the community for printing it.

”The Cherry Creek Schools Board of Education and I join Chris Smith in condemning this article and seeking an apology and a retraction from The Villager.Today’s communication also serves as my “Friday update” this week.

I am grateful to have all our In-Person learners back full time this week. Let’s come together as a community to live our values of respect and inclusivity and teach our children to stand up for what is right.

Sincerely, Scott Siegfried
Superintendent

 

1 1 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
P. Lore
P. Lore
22 days ago

Is this poorly done April Fool’s piece a reflection of the true philosophy of The Villager?” The insensitivity displayed at this time is inexcusable.