By Laura Haefeli

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — During a meeting about systemic racism, Director of the Department of Health Services, Dr. Peter Beilenson, used a racist term to describe Asian Americans.

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors declared racism a public health crisis during the in-person meeting Tuesday. While supporting the unanimous vote, Dr. Beilenson referred to Asians as “yellow folks.”

“It’s a crucial thing we need to be doing to address the issues of the African American and brown and yellow folks in our country as well as the white folks,” Dr. Belienson said during the meeting.

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Belienson is now apologizing for what he says was a mistake.

“In my 30-year career in public health, I’ve never had an issue like this before,” Beilenson said. “I very much apologize for that and will certainly use Asian Pacific Islander in the future.”

We reached out to Timothy Fong, Professor of Ethnic Studies at Sacramento State, who says the term is racist.

“Historically the image of Asian Americans as yellow has been very derogatory,” Fong said. “It goes back to scientific racism and trying to define different people in different ways, whether it be skin color. It’s clearly an arbitrary and made-up term.”

Professor Fong says he expects Dr. Beilenson to learn from his mistake.

“There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. I think there’s a lot wrong with not admitting your mistakes or not even understanding you made a mistake,” Fong said.

CBS13 also reached out to APAPA, an Asian American Non Profit organization in Sacramento. The president of APAPA condemned the term and says more needs to be done to ensure cultural competency in the workforce.

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Comments (6)
  1. fiddlestix says:

    Oh come on, he was definitely talking about the Simpsons

  2. PeopleAreAweful says:

    I don’t ever want to hear “black, brown, or white” describing anyone else ever again. true equality is the sameness for all.

  3. BLM4Life says:

    Fire that racist white honky. He has got to go. He already wrecked the county with his racist covid hoax directed at black, brown, red and yellow people. Cancel him and replace him with someone Black or White, wearing a dishiki, with a bone in his nose and dredlocks. Someone who is a knuckle dragging, mouth breather, with an eye on social justice, a hankering for BLM and a check from soros. We need to teach him and all white people who dont support BLM a lesson about being woke. Let them know who runs the show.. Or maybe we can just forget about it and allow him and his kind to support Trump. He is a flag waving Trump supporter, I know it. He has to be, because thats the kind of stuff they say, isnt it? Besides yellow folks everywhere and they deserve special designations too. BLM fo life fool.

    1. BLM Flunky- says:

      Amen to that BLM….lets teach whitey about being racist. Lets have a peaceful protest and bring some wokeness to society. Lets give society some brown, black and yellow fever. Lets get Chic fil A’s CEO out here shining shoes and whitey appologizing for slavery on his knees. Lets get the po po on their knees too, bowing to the BLM flag at the police station. Yeah that’s it. Cant wait for Biden to get in and straighten whitey out. p.s. wear a mask to keep others safe.

  4. Ralph Salomon says:

    so white and brown folks is ok to say but not yellow? How about we don’t bring up color period.

  5. pigpen51 says:

    How about instead of worrying about color, we worry about character, like that one man said, a long time ago? He might not have been a hero to some, but to me, his message still is the same.

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