Alameda County Fire Department
CBS SF BayArea

Alameda County Fire Department called out for racist photos

An Alameda County Fire Department is under fire for racist photos mocking Chinese people. The photos show firefighters from Station 22 in San Lorenzo depicting ugly Chinese racial stereotypes, according to CBS SF BayArea. It shows the firefighters pretending to be bad drivers, setting off fireworks, and being too short to reach a ladder, while wearing bamboo hats. The station created the card for Chinese Lunar New Year. The photos are believed to be taken inside the station while the firefighters were on duty.

CBS SF BayArea

Carl Chan, vice president of Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, was disgusted when he first saw the card several weeks ago. “In many ways, it is quite offensive,” he told CBS. “When I received it I thought it was a joke. It is quite racially offensive.”

Chan could not believe that this card was real. He held off going to the media for several weeks before turning to the media. He sent a letter to the Alameda County Fire Department on April 3 to notify them of the card.

‘These racially offensive “Happy New Year” postcards were created by on-duty Alameda County Fire Department crews, using Alameda County Fire Department resources and were sent out to all the Alameda County Fire Department stations for all to enjoy,’ Chan wrote in the letter. He went onto note the racial stereotypes in the pictures including the “rice paddy hats,” “incompetent driving abilities,” and “driving a rickshaw and blowing up fireworks.”

He concluded his letter by stating that this, “is a disgusting example that this is not a fire house but instead a frat house.”

CBS SF BayArea

Carl Chan hopes there will be disciplinary action against the firefighters who participated in taking the pictures. “If they are picking on the Asian community they also could be picking on the Hispanic community or African community so something’s got to be done,” he said.

The Alameda Fire Department Chief, David Rocha, told CBS that the matter is under investigation. “It is inconsistent with our values and the respect we demand our employees demonstrate toward the communities we serve,” he said. “The matter is under investigation as a personnel matter; as such, we have no further comment.”

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