Sunday, February 19, 2012

And We're Supposed to Be in a "Post-Racial" Time....

For those who say that racism or racist tendencies is no longer a big issue, or that we're "post-racial", check this out and get back at me afterwards....

From the The Huffington Post:
The unexpected emergence of Jeremy Lin from the depths of the New York Knicks' bench has been a dream for headline writers and just about everyone who loves puns. The "Linsanity" has spawned some Lincredible wordplay as well as some really unLinteresting phrases.
And, now, we may have found our most offensive headline from a mainstream media outlet.
Several hours after the Knicks' Lin-spired winning streak was snapped by the New Orleans Hornets, ESPN ran the headline "Chink In The Armor" to accompany the game story on mobile devices. ESPN's choice of words was extremely insensitive and offensive considering Lin's Asian-American heritage. According to Brian Floyd at SB Nation, the headline appeared on the Scorecenter app. The offensive headline was quickly noticed, screen grabs, Twit pics and Instagrams were shared and it began circulating widely on Twitter.
The use of the word "chink" is especially galling as Lin has revealed that this racial slur was used to taunt him during his college playing career at Harvard. After a brief run, the headline was changed to "All Good Things.."

Perhaps most shocking is the fact that this headline has been used before. In August 2008, Deadspin called out ESPN for using nearly the same racially insensitive headline with a story about the U.S. men's basketball team during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
While this may be the most egregious misstep by a major media outlet during Linsanity, ESPN's racially offensive headline is hardly the first to draw negative attention. Earlier in the week, the New York Post splashed "AMASIAN" across its backpage after Lin's game-winning shot in Toronto. In an attempt to riff on the Amazin' Mets, the Post came under fire. After the Knicks' comfortable victory of the Sacramento Kings, MSG Network showed a graphic with a cutout of Lin's smiling face hovering over a cracked open fortune cookie. The accompanying text read "The Knicks Good Fortune."

The statement issued by Kevin Ota, ESPN's Director of Communications, Digital Media ESPN Communications, on the ESPN Media Zone website (Saturday 2/18):
Last night,'s mobile web site posted an offensive headline referencing Jeremy Lin at 2:30 am ET. The headline was removed at 3:05 am ET. We are conducting a complete review of our cross-platform editorial procedures and are determining appropriate disciplinary action to ensure this does not happen again. We regret and apologize for this mistake. 

It doesn't end there.  Apparently ESPN anchor Max Bretos asked this question Wednesday night:  "If there is a chink in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?", and there was a third reference made on ESPN Radio New York on Friday.  On Sunday today, it was announced that the employee responsible for writing an offensive headline was fired and Bretos has been suspended for 30 days.

Yes the word "chink" has different meanings: 
  1. narrow opening: a small narrow crack or slit
    "Sunlight was coming in through a chink in the curtains." 
    • [ Early 16th century. Origin ? ]
      a chink in somebody's armor - a slight weakness that makes somebody vulnerable to attack or exploitation, e.g. an aspect of their character or a point in their argument
  2. From Wiki: an English slang term referring mainly to a person of Chinese ethnicity but sometimes generalized to refer to any person of East Asian descent
But you would think that these people, especially being in the public eye and all, would have some sense and logic.  There's a little word called CONTEXT.  I mean, the word "chink" was used not once or twice, but THREE TIMES in reference to Lin!

Now let me say that I'm sure the anchor did not mean any malice towards Lin, or that he's a racist.  However we should remember that you don't have to be a racist to say things considered racist, just unaware, or perhaps completely ignorant.

And for those who say that minorities are too sensitive and jump to conclusions, I don't deny that this is true.  But at the same time, in instances such as this where the ignorance and unawareness is so blatant, minorities should call that crap out and not allow it to be swept under the rug.  Anyway, what's wrong with a little consideration. 

Other sources and links: 1, 2, 3

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