What racist thing is this congressman trying to say?

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Mike Bost is a Republican congressman representing Illinois' 12th District. His constituents have been pushing him to hold a town hall meeting—y'know, just to hold him accountable and stuff.

Mike Bost does not want to hold a town hall meeting, and he chose a very strange—and by strange I mean "both racist and confusing"—way to let people know this.

Here's how he put it, according to The Southern Illinoisan newspaper (emphasis added):

“The amount of time that I have at home is minimal, I need to make sure that it’s productive,” Bost said Friday. “You know the cleansing that the Orientals used to do where you’d put one person out in front and 900 people yell at them? That’s not what we need. We need to have meetings with people that are productive.”


Hmmmmm. Hmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

So, yes, right off the top: super-racist. But the real question I have is: Mike Bost, what the hell are you talking about?


What is this "Oriental cleansing" you speak of? What is this ritual that you randomly made up? Is there a revered Asian yelling ceremony I was unaware of? Are you an expert in the obscure mass shouting rituals of the East?  Were you just playing racism Mad Libs and sticking random words you know together?

One of our staffers guessed that Bost might have been referring to the "struggle sessions" that took place during the Cultural Revolution in China, but without some clarification, how are we to know for sure? This is why it's important to utter your wildly racist comments in as clean and straightforward a manner as possible.


The Southern Illinoisan—perhaps knowing something the rest of us do not—apparently declined to have Bost elaborate on his comments. Google was equally unhelpful in helping solve this mystery. Here are some of the things we googled to try and figure this whole thing out.


As you can see, there were very few answers to be found. We reached out to Rep. Bost to ask him to clarify; we'll update if we hear back.

So, Mike Bost, I'm begging you: Please tell everyone exactly what racist thing you were trying to say in your recent comments! The people deserve to hear your racism in its clearest context. Why let your bigotry be heard through such a garbled filter?


Additional reporting by Aleksander Chan and Anne Branigin