Community Action Against Racism
Community Action Against Racism (CAAR) is a grassroots, community-led organization comprised of Hmong American and Pan-Asian community members as well as white allies who are committed to dismantling racism, particularly in broadcast media. Founded in 1998 shortly after a 92 KQRS radio show host declared on air that "the Hmong either need to assimilate or hit the goddamn road" as a commentary to a string of recent violent crimes in the Hmong American community, CAAR led a successful campaign resulting in an apology from KQRS. Shortly after, the organization dissipated as the controversy subsided. It left no permanent members or structures upon which other anti-racism efforts could be organized.
In March 2011, KDWB aired a song called "30 Hmongs in a House" on its "Dave Ryan in the Morning Show," a morning program popular among many teenagers and young adults. The parody perpetuated classic and toxic stereotypes that Hmong/Southeast Asians get pregnant early, have overcrowded families living in chronic poverty, and leech off welfare. Amid the ensuing public outcry, CAAR was resurrected in April 2011 and came to the forefront of the KDWB campaign after laying dormat for over a decade. Through grassroots organizing, coalition building, and the use of social media (YouTube video received more than 3,000 views within 3 days), CAAR organized a public rally at the studio's building (200+ people in attendance) and succeeded in getting major advertisers (AT&T, HealthPartners,Blue Cross Blue Shields) to pull their support from the radio station. As a result, the KDWB management issued several public apologies and eventually came to the table on the terms of the community. As part of their agreement with the community, KDWD has since aired pro-Hmong PSAs, appointed a Hmong American educator to its Local Advisory Board and attended a comprehensive educational tour (organized by CAAR) of the Hmong New Year celebration in St. Paul.
On March 22, 2011, Clear Channel owned radio station 101.3 KDWB aired a racist parody called “30 Hmongs in a House.” It was a blatantly offensive, inaccurate and racist song about Hmong families, women and teenagers. CAAR and its partner, the Hmong 18 Council, worked for two months to broker a meeting with KDWB about the incident and find a way to address and correct the airing.