Last month, the world imploded (for a little while anyway) when ESPN writer Anthony Frederico penned a headline about Asian-American basketball player Jeremy Lin with the phrase “chink in the armor.” He said he simply meant that Lin had screwed up his winning streak for the Knicks, but was promptly fired amid cries of racism. Federico said he didn’t realize “chink” was a racist slur, certainly didn’t intend to use it that way, and had used the phrase “chink in the armor” a bunch of other times when referring to non-Asian players messing up their game. If you missed the giant-ass kerfluffle in the media, you must have been in a coma.
This Tuesday, Jeremy Lin took Frederico out to lunch to chat. ”It went incredible,” Federico told Newsday. “The fact that he took the time to meet with me in his insanely busy schedule … He’s just a wonderful, humble person. He didn’t have to do that, especially after everything had kind of died down for the most part.” Keep reading »
Jeremy Lin is not just the basketball player who has launched a thousand bad “Lin” puns — and prompted a refresher course on why the word “chink” is unacceptable for an ESPN headline.
His sudden emergence in pop culture has also underscored how strangely acceptable it is in America to make make racial comments about Asians, whether they are considered complimentary (like “all Asians are good at math” or “all Asian women are hot”) or insulting (like “Asian men are not sexy.”)
The thing is, if you’ve never seen an attractive, sexy Asian man, you probably ought to check either your eyes or your prejudices — like all hot men, they’ve been all around us all along.
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Earlier this week, xoJane’s sports blogger Daisy Barringer wrote a piece called “Do We Really Think That ESPN Headline Was Intentionally Racist?” In it, Daisy argued that the ESPN headline writer who penned the “Chink In The Armor” headline — after the Knicks lost on Saturday night — might have made an honest mistake when he used a racial slur for Asian-Americans in a story about the player Jeremy Lin. The writer, Anthony Frederico, has since been fired from ESPN; he maintains that he didn’t know “chink” was a racist slur and the incident was completely unintentional. He also has used the phrase “chink in the armor” in other headlines before when he wasn’t referring to Asian-Americans, suggesting that’s just a phrase he likes to use in headlines. So, Daisy gives him the benefit of the doubt because she claims she didn’t know until well into her 20s that “chink” was a racist slur, either.
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