Fighting Racism in America. There’s a Better Way to Educate People.
Most have probably heard the story about the ESPN editor who was fired for using the term “chink in the armor” in a story about New York Nicks star Jeremy Lin. It’s your typical, ignorant person used a phrase one group finds offensive and is labeled a racist and is tarred and feathered as a result, type of story. In trying to look at both sides of the issue, I think there’s a better way for the offended group to get their point across.
Last night on MSNBC, Representative Judy Chu of California was on MSNBC blasting the “racial slur” saying:
“I think that the use of the term is appalling and offensive,” she said on MSNBC. “The ‘c’ word is for Asian Americans like the ‘n’ word is for African Americans.”
She made it clear she believes the editor used the term intentionally to demean Jeremy Lin (something the editor denies and I tend to believe him). She then went on to attack boxer Floyd Mayweather, saying he was the “heavyweight champion of insensitive remarks” for his tweet saying “Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.”
My first reaction was “PLEASE SHUT UP!”, but after doing a little research this morning I can halfway see Mrs Chu’s point of view. My problem is how she presents it, choosing to play victim rather than explaining why it is indeed offensive and attempting to educate people, while at the same time recognizing the FACT that not all people are aware that this term is offensive.
The truth is, Asian Americans has been picked on quite abit over the years. According to a report put out last October, they are the most bullied group in our nations schools. So, I definitely can see why she would want to raise awareness of this offensive term and work to educate people about its use and how Asian-Americans have been treated in this country.
However, I think there’s a better way to educate people without labeling everyone who’s ever used the phrase as racists (no, Mrs Chu, not all of us go around documenting every single offensive term for every single racial group. We don’t have large Asian-American populations in this part of the south. We are, for all intents and purposes, ignorant when it comes to what phrases offend Asian-Americans and which ones don’t).
Here’s kind of what I think Mrs Chu SHOULD have said:
“As harmless as the phrase used in this case sounds to many Americans, and I realize it’s a phrase many people have used for many generations and most people have probably never even dreamed it would be offensive, but to Asian-Americans, it’s not something we enjoy hearing. Since the 1800′s this word has been used to demean Asian-Americans, and specifically Chinese-Americans, and deprive them of their rights and it’s still used on America’s playgrounds today. So, we definitely want to raise awareness that this term definitely is offensive to many Asian-Americans.
However, I do want to point out that, in spite of the hard-ships our people have endured and the ignorance of some, and in many cases I think a touch of jealousy is involved, I am so proud of our people because they have persevered and will continue to persevere and thrive in America. Without Asian-Americans we would not enjoy the convenience of USB hard drives and accessories, our kids would never experience the joy of playing with play-doh and many Americans would have died without the invention of artifical livers. Asian-Americans continue to excel in the classroom and have the highest proportion of college graduates of any race or ethnic group in the country. Over 85% of Asian-American students graduate high school with over 50% going on and achieving at least a bachelor’s degree.
So, while I definitely encourage all Americans to think before they speak, or type out a headline as is the case here, and to try and be respectful of each other and to each others cultures, I realize there will always be a small percentage of people who refuse to give up their hatred and the rest of us cannot use that as an excuse not to succeed in life.”
My whole point in this is that I firmly believe if racism was battled more with love and a positive message, and not reverse hatred and using the victim card, the haters would find a rock to hide under at some point due to their own shame and some real progress might be made to severely limit racism in this country.