Patterico's Pontifications


Asian American Journalists Release Guide on How Not to Offend Asians re Jeremy Lin

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:59 pm

When people talk about so-called “code words,” it is sometimes tempting to ask if we can get a list of the things we are not supposed to say. In the wake of the Anthony Federico/Jeremy Lin “chink in the armor” debacle, a group of Asian American journalists has been kind enough to do just that (h/t Dana). Dylan Stableford at Yahoo News’s “The Cutline” writes:

Following (justified) outrage over several examples of racially-insensitive coverage of Lin–including a headline published by which resulted in the firing of one staffer and suspension of another–the Asian American Journalists Association has issued a set of guidelines for media outlets salivating over the NBA’s Asian-American sensation.

“As NBA player Jeremy Lin’s prowess on the court continues to attract international attention and grab headlines, AAJA would like to remind media outlets about relevance and context regarding coverage of race,” the group wrote in an advisory. “In the past weeks, as more news outlets report on Lin, his game and his story, AAJA has noticed factual inaccuracies about Lin’s background as well as an alarming number of references that rely on stereotypes about Asians or Asian Americans.”

You have to love how he rushes to include the word “justified” to describe the pretend outrage of Asian groups. Don’t fire me too! I would never buck the P.C. line!

The article sets forth the guidelines in full, and as you peruse them you start to wonder whether you’re really reading the “Onion.” I’ll just pick one:

DRIVING: This is part of the sport of basketball, but resist the temptation to refer to an “Asian who knows how to drive.”

Thank God for this manual. You can picture a sportcaster who is ready to scream, after Lin drives to the hoop: “NOW THAT’S ONE ASIAN WHO KNOWS HOW TO DRIVE!!!!!” but then consults the manual and realizes that it might be offensive. Truly, journalists everywhere owe this group a debt of thanks.

P.S. No direct reference is made to the “two inches of pain” thing, so I guess that one’s still OK.

47 Responses to “Asian American Journalists Release Guide on How Not to Offend Asians re Jeremy Lin”

  1. Everybody knows Asians can drive. Just badly! Stay out of their way !

    Mike K (9ebddd)

  2. Are we, or are we not, allowed to say, “Now there’s a white guy that can jump!” “dance”?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  3. Post #170 on the “Chink in the Armor” thread…


    Asian American Journalists Association releases ‘guidelines’ on Jeremy Lin media coverage…

    Comment by Colonel Haiku — 2/23/2012 @ 4:17 pm

    Colonel Haiku (447f50)

  4. Whitlock cannot be racist, Patterico.

    JD (ec7f41)

  5. “what’s the last thing a (ethnic group here) sees when they are getting off the freeway?”

    “I don’t know, what?”

    /hold up middle finger

    no minorities were oppressed in the typing of this poast, except middle aged straight white males, because they are still acceptable targets for insults and scorn from all sides.

    redc1c4 (403dff)


    One thing that is annoying is the suggestion this is anything like the “chink in the armor” comment, which had no racist meaning. No one would say ‘that’s one asian who can actually drive’ without intending the offense.

    It’s like they have no idea what the argument in Federico’s defense is. It was innocent. And if it’s innocent, and we can see that if we are fair, then the error is on those who insist on taking offense anyway.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  7. I have spend a lifetime communting through Chinatown so don’t ask me about what I’ve seen.

    AZ Bob (7d2a2c)

  8. What are the rules for avoiding unintentional slurs against mixed race people and for handling what may be deeply conflicting historical stereotypes resident in such bi- or multi racial folks? In these enlightened times more and more open minded non-racist men and women from different natural cultures are falling in love and have produced children. Reporters, comedians, politicians and sportswriters beware!! (There may be a market for a new line of xxxxx for Dummies books, I think.)

    elissa (d1b74b)

  9. he’s very oppressed, this lin person

    persevere, my friend

    it gets better

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  10. So. . .all the Lin fans who were tweeting and holding up signs saying “Who says that Asians can’t drive?” were being racist? That style sheet is going to have journalists scratching their heads until they’re as bald as Mr. Clean.

    MSE (afdf9c)

  11. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man”

    Ah, if all comments about our fellow man could only be this complimentary and well thought out.

    elissa (d1b74b)

  12. The obvious retort to Whitlock, of course, would be “that would be two more inches than your lard dripping self has seen of your own for decades.”

    MSE (afdf9c)

  13. Reporters, comedians, politicians and sportswriters beware!! (There may be a market for a new line of xxxxx for Dummies books, I think.)

    Comment by elissa

    It does resemble the creation of a new line of reeducation products. How simpler it would be if we just didn’t take offense unless it’s clearly intended, and then let offensive people show us what they are made of.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  14. With all the things that are truly wrong with American society today, and crap like this is what is driving the conversation?
    No wonder we’re in so much trouble!
    If we had any real leadership to remind us of what we are actually made of…
    but that might actually require a pull-back from that leader’s personal and family vacation schedule…
    or his demonstration that he actually cares about the country he has been chosen to lead.
    Can’t have an inconvenience like that intruding into his personal space, now can we?

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  15. Not craw, craw.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  16. My stock reply to the Mandarin going forward:

    Don’t beat me Uncle, I’m just a butt-dumb WASP.

    gary gulrud(MN#6, Anabaptist) (d88477)

  17. _______________________________________________

    It would be interesting to see the way many in the media would react if Jeremy Lin, notwithstanding their probably being queasy about his apparent devotion to Christianity, came out and strongly promoted conservative ideas, policies and politicians.

    I envision so many of those “progressives” saying or thinking: “Oh, shut the F up, you damn Chinaman! You truly are a chink in the armor!—of wonderful, beautiful, magnificent, compassionate, generous, tolerant liberalism.”

    BTW, three icons of the Democrat Party and the left side of the spectrum over the past 90 years, Bill Clinton (aka America’s “first black president”), Harry Truman (who desegregated the military and was a big fan of socialized healthcare), and Woodrow Wilson (a self-described progressive who promoted the idea of the League of Nations, or the predecessor to the UN) have all been documented as saying truly (and I mean truly) racist, bigoted things or supporting truly racist policies (eg, Wilson didn’t mind the implementation of Jim Crow laws) behind closed doors.

    Mark (31bbb6)

  18. The good news is that if the Knicks offense breaks down or they go to a full-court press on defense the phrase “fire drill” is allowed.

    Tom Maguire (c094f4)

  19. Maybe Asian Americans should investigate discriminatory college admissions?

    Amphipolis (e01538)

  20. The list is grossly incomprehensive. We must enter additional entries.

    “Jeremy Lin makes a smart play!” (Not all Asians are book worms)

    “Jeremy Lin passes the ball to the open man!” (dream deferred is dream denied)

    “Jeremy Lin is a darling of the Asian community!” (not all Asians are Taiwanese)

    “A dragon punch by Jeremy Lin!” (There are no Taiwanese characters in Street Fighter, and Ryu is Japanese)

    “Gung Hay Fat Choy!” (Lin is not fat)

    “Yes!” – Marv Albert (Yes….. what? “Yes, Asians are terrific”?)

    “Lin is denied!” (allusion to Affirmative action)

    lee (cae7a3)

  21. Well, look at Patterico, gettin’ all bloggy with it on a Friday…

    Karl (6f7ecd)

  22. Well, Karl, I’m tempted to say Friday is a day to celebrate if you’re Irish … but I won’t. Too ethnic.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  23. Wow, these guys really stormed over the 38th parallel. To give them some credit, if ESPN had a little red book for its staff, with what expressions to avoid, all this would have been avoided, with nobody shouting banzai and running amok.

    nk (3e8b77)

  24. Greetings:

    Yeah, but after an hour, you want to insult him again.

    11B40 (5c3874)

  25. Methinks these guys were doing some major leg pulling here.

    Roy Lofquist (e7f582)

  26. The Lin headline was just another example of yellow journalism.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  27. Which reminds me that “Colonel Haiku” is a particularly cruel tongue-twister for some.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  28. nk, pretty sure the Chinese weren’t yelling “Banzai!”

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  29. Meanwhile, regarding an actual conservative, as opposed to those that play one in government, any vile, detestable lie about them or their family is ‘patriotic’ criticism:

    Well, Ok, save for the few honest brokers about.

    gary gulrud(MN#6, Anabaptist) (d88477)

  30. True, it’s Japanese, and amok is Malay. I am willing to learn from any culture.

    nk (3e8b77)

  31. “nk, pretty sure the Chinese weren’t yelling “Banzai!””

    Kevin M – I liked those old, “Hi, Karate?” commercials, but the racism was off the charts, so I condemn myself. Same with the Pink Panther movies. Just terrible bigotry and racism.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  32. That old Doris Day and Brian Keith movie, With Six You Get Egg Roll, I left the theater in tears.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  33. Whatever happened to Charlie Chan movies?

    JD- I condemn myself, saved you the trouble.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  34. colonel sensitive
    to concerns that’s why sons named
    Lincoln, Cadillac

    Colonel Haiku (53a725)

  35. Hey, I think “Miss Scarlet” in the board game “Clue” may be an offensive stereotype.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  36. how embarrassing to have to have special guidelines I hope I never require special guidelines

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  37. It would be delicious irony if Jeremy Lin was offended at being stereotyped by the Asian American Journalist Association and its guidelines, and publicly scolded them.

    Mostly, I don’t think Lin has given any of this a second thought. He’s just a young guy who wants to play basketball.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  38. “No one would say ‘that’s one asian who can actually drive’…”

    Comment by Dustin — 2/24/2012 @ 3:52 pm

    Am I the only one who heard Dennis Miller’s voice when reading that?

    Matador (9c34e8)

  39. A Chinese restaurant opened in our neighborhood and we got a rash of burglaries. The mondus operandi was always the same: Only the household’s pets were missing, the kids’ homework was done, and it took the burglars half an hour to pull out of the driveway.

    nk (3e8b77)

  40. oh, nk!

    Dana (4eca6e)

  41. — He’s schooling them on the finer points of the game.
    — One of Olbermann’s faves from when he was at ESPN: “He hits from way down Chinatown!”
    — Eye of the tiger
    — Lin takes one on the chin
    — He’s making chop suey out of that defense!

    Icy (76598a)

  42. oh, nk!

    Comment by Dana — 2/24/2012 @ 9:02 pm

    I know it’s an old joke but, then, a joke is old only if you’ve heard it before.

    I am thinking of writing to Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Ukrania and Romania to change the name of the Black Sea back to the classical Euxine Sea. Just because some cartographers could not spell, let alone pronounce Euxine [ef-ksee-nee], we should not continue to slur black people.

    (Still not sure about Melanesia.)

    nk (3e8b77)

  43. Woe be to the first organist that plays “Chopsticks” during a road game.

    Icy (76598a)

  44. Comment by Mark — 2/24/2012 @ 4:37 pm

    HST might have, like most Dems (and Progs) thinking that saying is actually doing,
    proclaimed that he was going to do something
    (in this case, desegregation of the military),
    but it took a Neanderthal Right-Winger (in this case Ike) to actually accomplish the task (see George Will’s column over last week-end).

    AD-RtR/OS! (ec4e7d)

  45. Probably the worst stereotype movie still available: “Charlie Chan in Egypt“. Chan is reasonably protrayed, but watching Stepin Fetchit is difficult.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  46. Asian American Journalists Release Guide on How Not to Offend Asians re Jeremy Lin

    As an American of partly Asian blood, just not from the area known as “The Orient”, I am completely offended by this usurpation of the entire continent to refer to people from a single region which already has its own name, to wit, “The Orient”.

    Now, to whom do I complain…?


    I Got Bupkis, Fomenter of "small-l" libertarianism (8e2a3d)

  47. LOL, I sent the AAJA idiots a nastygram suggesting the above and that they needed to rename themselves appropriately, and to issue a public apology.

    I suggest others do similarly:

    EMA Here

    And, as mongrel as Americans are, MOST of you can probably claim descent through someone from Asia outside of The Orient.

    Time to Get Your Dudgeon Up and fight back.


    I Got Bupkis, Fomenter of "small-l" libertarianism (8e2a3d)

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