Sunday, February 19, 2012

No Filter

ESPN has fired the drooling moron who wrote the phrase “Chink in the armor” (see above) to describe a poor performance by NBA sensation Jeremy Lin, has suspended for a month the anchor who read the words on the air, and has apologized to Lin and Asian-Americans in general for using the term “Chink” when talking about a person of Asian origin.

Far as I’m concerned, they should have canned the anchor’s ass, too.

Some people just have no filter between their brain and their mouth, and those people should not have a job in the media.  I have worked with radio and TV anchors who blithely read scripts on-air, with seemingly no connection between their mind and the crap they’re reading.  Years ago, when I was making money coaching radio and TV anchors, I would preach the gospel of proofreading EVERY script and “owning” every word you utter.

In my prior rant (below), about the clueless dweeb who thought the Wisconsin state flag was some sort of union banner, I decried the lack of any semblance of “editing” in the instant-news, gotta-get-it-on-the-net-or-on-the-air-NOW world of today’s 24-hour news cycle.

If the writer of the script is so clueless as to be oblivious that using “Chink” when writing about a person of Asian origin is likely to be offensive, there used to be at least ONE level of oversight, particularly at the level of “national” media, that would catch the reference and re-write the item.  Not any more.

Admittedly, it’s sometimes hard for the older generation – or, to be honest, at age 62, MY generation – to understand that many of the things we said and terms we used as children are now considered offensive and racist.  Case in point: a few months ago a county supervisor (no, not Dane County, but nearby) talked about “Jewing down” one of the vendors the county was dealing with, and then when called on his slur, this dimbulb asserted that “to Jew down” is a common “business” term that has nothing to do with religion.  (Proving again, as if more proof were needed, that denial is one of the most powerful forces.)

And we don’t need to cite Reggie White’s notorious speech to the state Assembly in March of ’98, when the Minister of Defense used just about every racial stereotype imaginable.

When I was growing up in the early 50’s in a small Wisconsin village, I didn’t even know what a “mick” was the first time somebody called me one; you regularly heard “kraut”, “jerry”, “frog”, “guido”, “Jap”, “Chink”, and a variety of other similar ethnic slurs.  We did know, even back then, that the n-word was not acceptable when speaking of negroes, which was the then-correct term for black folks, like our childhood heroes who played for the Packers or Braves.

Sometimes – when you see stuff like this ESPN gaffe – you wonder how far we’ve really come.

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