Emil Guillermo: Asian Americans No. 1 by 2065, but let's celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of racist quotas and "immigration interruptus" now
September 29, 2015 12:48 PM

With the help of the Pew Research Center's new data analysis, I have seen the future and indeed, it is all about us.

When I'm 100 or so, I fully expect my Filipino nurse/caretaker to cheer me up with the salutation: "We're No. 1, Mr. G!"


That would be the year 2055, when Pew says Asian Americans will be the largest immigrant group in America, if current trends and policies continue.

But I hope it won't be time for me to kick the bucket just yet. If I hang in ten more years until 2065, the Asian American population is expected to make up 38 percent of all foreign-born immigrants in the U.S., surpassing Hispanics at 31 percent. 
Pew.jpgBy then, we should expect everyone to come kissing our collective Asian political butts. We may even have the legislative clout to make Lunar New Year a national holiday, signed into law by the first Asian American president.

If I'm still around, by virtue of my vegan diet and not cryogenics, I'd definitely say it's a good time to go amok.

Once again, these aren't pie-in-the-sky numbers. This is the trend predicted by Pew that shows our dramatic rise as a community, from less than one percent in 1965, to six percent in 2015, to more than double again--14 percent of the total U.S. population by 2065. But you don't have to wait 40 years to celebrate. You can start celebrating now.

On Oct. 3, it will be 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson went to the Statue of Liberty to sign the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Celler Act. 

LBJsigning.jpgQuite simply, it was the immigration reform that redefined America, eliminating the racist quotas based on national origin that allowed immigration from all parts of Europe but put a strict cap from Asia and Africa.

It was our "Come on in" moment. Why should only white immigrants be allowed to have all the fun?

And just think about how relatively easy it was to pass this immigration bill. The House vote was 320-70; the Senate vote 76-18. In all, 74 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of Republicans voted for the bill.

When do you get that kind of partisanship for anything these days? The naming of a post office?

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, society was opening up. And America was ready to change its racist immigration laws.

America was always good at race control through immigration. The hand was always tight on the spigot. Chinese immigrants, mostly male laborers, had been the largest foreign-born group in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada in 1880. But the Chinese Exclusion Act changed all that in 1882.

When Filipinos, as colonized U.S. nationals, flooded the fields in California during the Depression, it was the same thing. Brought over as a male labor force, they took jobs from whites, and because there were few Filipinas, they married white women. It started an anti-Filipino fervor that led to the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which rebranded the Filipinos as aliens and subjected them to repatriation.

Racist laws are nothing new in America.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was the way to make up for all that, ending the artificially repressed generations of Asian Americans.

And no one seems to have expected what would happen.

President Johnson was telling folks when he signed the bill that it would not alter America. Sen. Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor downplayed it: "[T]he ethnic mix of this country will not be upset."

They had no idea.

When you put an end to "immigration interruptus," we exploded.

Just look at America's population if the 1965 law had not passed:

Whites: 75 percent 
Blacks: 4 percent 
Hispanics: 8 percent 
Asians: Less than 1 percent 

That sounds like an America for the people who talk about a not-so-great wall and use the term "illegal immigrant" as an act of defiance.

If that's you, note that there are seven states where pre-1965 conditions exist at 1 percent or less Asian, according to the 2010 Census.

There's Maine and North Dakota at 1 percent; Mississippi and South Dakota at .9 percent; Wyoming, .8 percent; West Virginia at .7 percent; and Montana at the bottom with .6 percent.

Imagine the visitor bureau slogans: Go to the Dakotas, where it's still 1965 for Asian Americans!

You can probably get real MSG in your egg foo young.

But there's no model minority and no Tiger Mom, and "Fresh off the Boat" is really about bass fishing.

So you see how very important the Hart-Celler Act, the 1965 immigration reform law, really was for Asian Americans.

Go ahead. Start celebrating now that law signed on Oct. 3.

It's the day that ended Asian "immigration interruptus," and allowed us to fulfill our destinies in this Boomland called America.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator. 
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.

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Emil Guillermo: All the anti-Muslim talk in the presidential campaign, and Pope Francis' Asian American numbers
September 20, 2015 6:27 PM

As I child, I remember hearing the news about the presidential campaign of 1960.

People made a big deal of the fact that John F. Kennedy--the Democrat running against Richard Nixon--was Catholic.

Like there was something wrong with that?

Apparently back then, yes. It didn't even occur to me that bigotry of that sort could even exist.
White on white bigotry? Didn't make sense. 

But then I was a poor Filipino kid in San Francisco with a rudimentary understanding of politics at age 5, my kindergarten year. All I knew by baptism I was Catholic. And so was Kennedy. He may have been white, but he was just like me where it counted--deep inside.

And if he could be president, I figured then I could too.

Someday. Maybe.

I just found it odd that before Kennedy, there had never been a Catholic president ever.

Just the pope.

Fast forward to the present, as we approach the week of Pope Francis' visit to the U.S., religious bigotry has become a hot topic in the presidential campaign.

If you wondered when all the birther stuff that Trump had trumpeted in the past would surface like a dormant cancer, all it took was a question at a New Hampshire town hall.

You've heard it by now. But it's worth exposing ugly sentiments so they don't sneak up on us, and we're caught later saying, "Did he really say what I think he said?"

Yes, that man in the Trump audience really did say "We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims."

Then he repeated a lie that Trump helped promote in the past. "We know our current president is one," the man said of the president, who is Christian. "You know he's not even an American."

We could tell by Trump's reaction that he heard the question.

But he let the man continue.

"We have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That's my question," the man in the audience continued. "When can we get rid of it?"

Trump said he'd look into it. But he did not offer a rebuttal on the anti-Muslim comments. Neither did he stand up for the truth, nor try to correct the questioner.

Later, Trump tweeted he was under no "moral obligation" to defend the president.
How would a President Trump defend your freedoms?

Later on NBC's "Meet the Press," Trump was asked how he'd feel if a Muslim were elected president, a possibility given Muslim Americans are one of the fastest growing groups in the U.S., expected to grow to more than 6 million by 2030.

"Would I be comfortable? I don't know if we have to address it right now," Trump reportedly said. "But I think it is certainly something that could happen....I mean, some people have said it already happened, frankly," Trump said, presumably referring to Obama. "But ,of course, you wouldn't agree with that."

Now there's a lesson in how to mask a bigoted remark with a slightly less bigoted remark, in an attempt to make your bigotry acceptable.

It's not. 
Then there was GOP candidate Ben Carson, who had his own Trump cards to play this morning when asked about the possibility of a Muslim president.

"I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that," Carson said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Hmm. But should a president's religion matter?

"I guess it depends on what that faith is," Carson said. "If it's inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem."

When asked if he believed Islam is consistent with the Constitution, Carson said he didn't. But Congress was "a different story," he added.

Naturally, that brought a strong rebuke from one of the country's two Muslim members of Congress--Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).
It's a shame that we're talking about these issues that for some may seem tangential to the real issues of the economy, jobs, and all that wonky stuff.

But you must agree, at this stage in the game, these are real issues.

It's useful to weed out the bigots from the group of hopefuls who want to lead America.

We need people to agree that all good Americans can grow up to be president. 

Even someone like a John F. Kennedy in 1960.

All this religious freedom talk should prepare you for Pope Francis' descent on America. 

He sure won't be sounding like what passes for religious leadership in America---the sound of right-wing religious zealotry. But we already know this pope is different.

First, some numbers about the Asian Americans in his flock.

By demographics (from the June 2014 Cultural Diversity survey from Georgetown University), whites are 54 percent of U.S. Catholics, at 42.5 million.

Hispanics are next at 38 percent or 29.7 million.

Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders are at 4 percent or 3 million.

African Americans are at 3 percent, or 2 million.

American Indians and Alaskans number 536,601 or 1 percent.

At four percent, Asian Americans are a tiny number among total Catholics.

But the number is nearly 20 percent of all Asian Americans, from diverse ethnic groups:

Filipino - 2.2 million
Vietnamese - 483,000
Chinese - 340,860
Korean - 199,698
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander - 147,424         
Indian - 146,421     
Japanese - 56,084
Right now, on any given Sunday, there are masses said in more than 30 Asian languages, from Tagalog and Vietnamese to Chuukese and Hawaiian.

Pope Francis is leader of the largest Christian church that numbers more than 1.2 billion worldwide. And I think the surprise will be how much he will talk about the world as our "common home" and the need to protect it.

In his encyclical in June, Francis took on climate change and the environment in a way you'll never see from conservative Christian persons of faith in America. 

They usually ignore science in the name of faith.
Francis isn't like that, and his message should be an eye-opener to those who play the climate change game in the same old political way.

It's pope as politician and world leader, not just as galvanizing religious figure.

As he speaks to the president, to Congress, and to the U.N. this week, I fully expect him to gather a few converts to his vision: a "new universal solidarity" on "the future of our planet," this place he calls, "our common home."

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator. 
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.

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Emil Guillermo: A whole lot of racial profiling going on--ask James Blake, Jeremy Lin, Xiaoxing Xi, Sherry Chen
September 16, 2015 7:53 AM

There's a reason why you won't see an Asian American on the main tier of CNN's GOP debate. Or any presidential debate in the near or distant future. 

Republican or Democratic, it doesn't matter. Most people who see an Asian American simply don't see "president."

Even with Donald Trump lowering the bar for presidential behavior, it's not low enough to put Asian Americans on a candidates list. 

We have a serious profile issue. 

We live in an age where Asian Americans are still hampered by preconceived stereotypes.

This week, there's been a rash of reminders to let us know all the ways people don't see us.

POTUS?  Us?  Uh, no. 

NBA pro? No.

Loyal American government or university scientist? Oh, heck no.

It's 2015, and Asian Americans are still limited by the take-out box people automatically put us in.

As far as the debates go, I don't like Bobby Jindal because of his politics, but the way he's being treated makes me feel sorry for the guy. I'm sure others don't like him because they simply don't see him as president.  

As Donald Trump might say, using the Carly Fiorina scale, "Look at that face." 

Does Jindal look presidential?
You mean like the guys on Mt. Rushmore--all white? Like Trump?

In fact, here's an idea. South Dakota--home of Mt. Rushmore--is nearly 90 percent white. It's just 1.2 percent Asian. And 3.4 percent Latino. That's almost SIX TIMES lower than the national average for Latinos (17.1 percent). So you want to cut down that minority immigration? Try the Rushmore effect. Maybe instead of a wall at the border, conservatives should just erect the stone faces of white guys like Trump at the border. That would really keep people away. It's worked wonders in South Dakota. But I digress.

An Asian American president? I suppose Gary Locke, the former governor of Washington, might think of a run someday. Or maybe California's comptroller John Chiang or Congressman Ted Lieu. Filipinos helped elect Ben Cayetano governor of Hawaii. I have no problem imagining an Asian American face in the White House. I just don't see it happening in my lifetime, and I'm half done.

So much for the post-racial world that we started hearing about in President Obama's first term. That's a dead phrase now.

Just in the last week, we saw examples of how un-post-racial things are. 

There was James Blake, the former Harvard tennis star, now a retired pro, waiting for his car service at the Grand Hyatt when he was unceremoniously tackled by a plainclothes cop. Did you see the video? 

Blake's Harvard past, status, wealth, didn't matter. See a black man, see a suspect. Still. In 2015.

That is, unless you're in the NBA. Then you're most likely a millionaire, black, and definitely not Asian.

Just ask Jeremy Lin to share a bit of the anti-Linsanity he experienced over the weekend at his new home base in Charlotte. 

He tweeted:

It happens. Even if you're a successful reigning Asian American hoopster. 

You don't fit the profile. 

Maybe restaurant owner. Something math-y. A scientist.

Lin can be thankful that the security guard didn't panic and think Lin was what some would consider the top profile for Asian Americans. 

Because then Lin might have been handcuffed, paraded in front of his family, and shamed as he was carted off as a spy.

That's what happened in May with Temple physicist Dr. Xiaoxing Xi, when a dozen FBI agents stormed his home in Pennsylvania.

It happened last October with National Weather Service hydrologist Sherry Chen at her home in Ohio. 

These days, it's see a Chinese American, see a spy.

No need to find out more. Make the arrest. Wreck an innocent person's life. 

It happened in the '90s with Wen Ho Lee. It happened with the campaign donation scandal during the Clinton Administration. 

It's hard not to mix politics and science, because we live in a time when the politics concerning China affect Chinese Americans here, whose loyalty is then put under a microscope. 

And then they are discarded. No harm, no foul? Hardly. 

In Xi's case, the feds charged him in June, put him through the wringer, then dropped charges against him last week when they realized they were wrong about the schematics he was accused of passing to China.

"Oops" needs no translation.

Xi was somber at his lawyer's office in Washington, DC on Tuesday. 

The pictures on Twitter show Chen sobbing. 

But her situation is more immediately dire than Xi's. As I first reported on Sept. 9, Chen received a letter from her employers at the National Weather Service and may lose her job.

Even though the feds dropped the charges against her in the spring, she was still placed on leave until they could figure out what to do with her. 

What was it that she did exactly? The hydrologist was given a password from a colleague to access a secure database on U.S. dams, and she shared information with a top official in China. Her white colleague wasn't given the Chen treatment, and the data wasn't considered sensitive. But the official reason given for dropping the charges against Chen: "prosecutorial discretion."

Months later, the NWS is now exercising its employer discretion. Despite Chen having no prior discipline, seven years of federal service and satisfactory performance, Laura Furgione, the Deputy Director of the National Weather Service, informed Chen last week of the proposal to remove her from her job "in order to promote the efficiency of the service." 

Her efficient firing maybe.

The Xi and Chen cases are just the latest, but we should expect more on the horizon. There's currently a fear in the U.S. of Chinese cyberspying in both the private and public sectors, and it's promoting a new kind of hysteria we haven't seen since the Cold War. 

Wen Ho Lee's life was wrecked by a full-speed ahead government prosecution, and now we see it happening again.

See an Asian American scientist, see a spy. 

It's Asian American racial profiling at its most elemental. The only way to fight it is to break through and create new original profiles at every chance that show the full breadth of our community's talents. We need to keep speaking out loudly when some would rather trap us in a box of their making.

But do speak up. Or, as I like to say metaphorically, go amok.

Being quiet only plays to the stereotype.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator. 
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.

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Emil Guillermo: America's profound ignorance about the Delano Grape Strike, Filipino Americans, and Larry Itliong
September 7, 2015 8:08 AM

If you're an American Filipino, an Asian American foodie, or anyone who relishes fresh, local food---before you take another bite, take the time to remember who picked it. 

Then look up to the skies and thank the Filipinos in the fields of California who brought about fairness, civil rights, and social justice to the farm labor movement with the strike that changed everything.

Fifty years ago, on Sept. 8, 1965, the Delano Grape Strike began. 

Wasn't that the strike that turned Cesar Chavez into an American saint? 

Yeah, sort of. Let's take nothing away from the non-violent protest acumen of Chavez.  

But it all came at the expense of the veteran labor strategist who made the strike happen, Larry Itliong.

My Labor Day weekend celebration was spent driving more than six hours round trip to Delano, California, deep in the Central Valley, to a place called Filipino Community Hall.
That's where the Filipino American National Historical Society celebrated the 50th anniversary of that bold first step of Filipinos in the fields. 

You don't have to be Filipino to make a mecca-like journey to 1457 Glenwood St. in Delano. It's an ordinary looking multi-purpose building where Itliong and members of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee made history.

I've driven through Delano, but have never been to the hall. 

Still, I knew enough about the Delano story and felt the gravitational pull to make the pilgrimage this week.

It's a seminal Asian American/Filipino American story.

Like many of the strikers, my father was one of the original Filipinos to arrive in America in the '20s. He came to San Francisco from a farm province in the Philippines, but he chose to stay in the city to work in restaurants and hotels, eschewing the fields. 

He didn't escape the racism and discrimination his fellow Filipinos faced in Delano. There was plenty of that in San Francisco. And the anti-intermarriage laws fueled by angry white male nativism applied throughout the state.

But the Grape Strike gave those in the fields a real way to stand up and fight back. 

In a struggle that would last more than five years, the fight for fair wages and better conditions through the cry to boycott table grapes would attract iconic newsmakers like Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. to Delano. 

It would also make an international labor hero of Cesar Chavez.

The media made Chavez the face of the strike, but the heart and soul of the union from the very beginning was always Asian American. 

Filipinos were the vast majority of the workers who walked off the job when their demand for a $1.40 hourly wage was not met. 

Their leader wasn't Chavez. 

It was Larry Itliong.

I've written about
Itliong in this space before, but his story can't be told and re-told enough. For the most part, he remains forgotten and missing from the history books. If he's included, it's written in shorthand or dismissed as a mere footnote. 

It's the curse of most notable Filipino Americans, indicative of the inability of American society to understand exactly who and what Filipino Americans are.

Our invisibility becomes us. 

But Itliong was hardly Chavez' sidekick in one of the most significant labor movements in the last 50 years. 

"My dad didn't do it himself, but he initiated [the strike]," Johnny Itliong, Larry's son, told me this past weekend. "How did Chavez become the founder of a union he was asked to join? That's on him for creating that fallacy. Doesn't mean he didn't do any good. Just a matter of setting the record straight."
Most K-12 history texts skip the actual beginning of the strike and take up the story from when Chavez was asked to join on Sept. 16.  

But for the record, Itliong, the leader of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AFL-CIO), called for the strike vote in Delano's Filipino Community Hall on Sept. 7, 1965.

John Armington, whose father, Bob, was a Filipino field laborer, was at the hall that night. His father made the motion.

"Larry Itliong yelled out to the packed hall, 'I want those in favor to stand up with your hand raised,'" John Armington said at a special Delano event this past weekend. "Everyone in that hall stood up with their hands in the air. it was a unanimous decision to call a strike against the grape growers in Delano and vicinity."

The strike began in earnest the next day on September 8, 1965.

Gil Padilla, a co-founder with Chavez of the National Farm Workers Assocation, remembered Chavez' reaction. "Cesar called me early in the morning," Padilla said at the 50th anniversary symposium in Delano. Padilla said NFWA didn't have much membership or money and was not prepared. Initially, Chavez offered to help with pickets and leafletting. 

Chavez' NFWA also wasn't a true union, but an association, and any talk of merging would take negotiation. 

"And that's where Larry Itliong came in," said Padilla. "I always thought and said Larry Itliong was a very strong man. He was the one who made the decision for the negotiations between NFWA and AWOC. Larry was the one who made sure we merged together...We became a family and we merged." 

That became the true hallmark of the strike--the bringing together of new immigrants --the combined might of the growing labor force coming from Mexico, with the aging and dwindling Filipino labor force that had first arrived to America in the '20s.

In many ways, the new United Farm Workers, the UFW, was a natural evolution of the changing work force in the fields. 

"It became clear to Larry that Mexicans were the key to the success of the strike," said Dawn Mabalon, a history professor at San Francisco State who is writing a book on Itliong. "The only way to win was with each other."

Mabalon said that without cooperation, Filipinos would be used as scabs if Mexicans went on strike, and Mexicans would be scab labor if the Filipinos were on strike. 

"The strike fused the community," Mabalon said. And in 1965, when people were thinking about civil rights in general, the farmworkers became part of a social justice movement and made America care.

That still doesn't explain why Chavez eclipsed Itliong so badly in terms of the historical recognition for the strike. 

Paul Chavez, Cesar Chavez' son and the president of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, admitted there were some hard feelings.

"Of course, there were," said Chavez, who recalled his childhood around Itliong, whom he called Uncle Larry. "Who would not be offended if they felt their contributions weren't recognized...I think there's a need to recognize the contributions of people in Delano, Latinos and Filipinos alike."

But how Itliong became invisible may be just a matter of timing.

"He left the UFW in 1971," said Mabalon. "And even though it wasn't publicly acrimonious, I think there were some hurt feelings and bitterness. He died five years after he resigned in 1977."

It meant that when America and the media finally were giving attention to the farm labor movement and to Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, Itliong had been dead for nearly 20 years. "He wasn't alive to speak for himself and to be someone that people in the '80s and '90s could connect to and recognize in the media."

Itliong's death in 1977 to Lou Gehrig's disease and ALS compounded the tragedy.

"Saddest day of my life," said Johnny Itliong, who was just 11 years old when his father died.

But the harvest may yet come for Itliong's father.  

California State Assemblyman Rob Bonta has passed a bill making it mandatory to include the story of Larry Itliong and the Filipinos in the fields in K-12 classrooms. Projects like Project Welga at UC Davis are working hard to provide some curriculum resources on the web for this year.

Also, Gov. Jerry Brown in July declared Itliong's birthday, Oct. 25, as Larry Itliong Day. Union City, Calif., has named a school for both Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz; in San Diego, a bridge was named for the pair. And in Stockton, a move is on to honor Itliong, a native son, by renaming a street in the heart of that city's Little Manila. The effort is being led by Dillon Delvo, whose father was an AWOC organizer who worked with Itliong.

"It's the responsibility of the community to do this," said Delvo. "Larry Itliong is actually from Stockton, and hardly anyone knows that."

Slowly, a little recognition is finally coming to Larry Itliong, fifty years after he sparked a movement.

It could be a real turning point for Filipinos in America, now the largest and fastest growing Asian American group in California.

Itliong's moment is coming, and it's about time.

Top photo by Emil Guillermo; other photos courtesy of Filipino American National Historical Society-Delano Chapter.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator. 
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies. 

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Emil Guillermo: Wall Street Journal's "chink in its armor" absolutely requires an apology
August 31, 2015 4:58 PM

I read the Wall Street Journal's tweet on Sunday night about China's president, seen by Asians and Asian Americans around the world. 

Is there any question the Wall Street Journal must apologize? 

And yet by Monday, nothing.

Just this non-apology.
No offense intended?  But ignorance of audience sensitivities doesn't excuse the offense.  And hiding the evidence by getting rid of the tweet doesn't make the offense go away either.  

Just ask all the guys in prison who thought all they had to do was dump a body in the East River. 

Once you've used a silly cliche and crapped on all Chinese people around the world, you can do just one thing.


Of course, all bets are off if the story indeed was about Xi Jinping wearing a suit of armor with a funny blemish on his breast plate. 

A diplomatic faux pas! Especially in August.

Or if Xi Jinping were on his way to a joust with Lancelot and Galahad.

Then sure, talk about his not-so-shining armor.

But that's not what's going on here. That literal defense is out. 

There's also a literal defense that suggests "chink" refers not to a person, but to some quality or a "weakness" in the character of that person. 

But where does that leave you when, coincidentally, the subject is an Asian of Chinese descent? It's the overall weakness of the literal defense. When you take it literally, you end up with a slur, and no one's laughing.
Some will insist we must look only at meaning, otherwise we succumb to censorship.


The unfortunate double entendre of the word that rhymes with "fink," makes it both a blemish and a slur. And the somewhat innocent history of the phrase doesn't matter. It might pass muster for the Round Table. But in 2015, the "C word" is our "N word." 

Those who still wish to argue for its use may point to the word "niggardly," which refers to one's frugality or cheap nature.  

It has everything to do with Jack Benny and nothing to do with Jackie Robinson.

But the homonym of the base word is usually enough to set off plenty of misunderstanding. 

Better not to use the word and simply call someone "cheap," if that's your intent.

Back to journalism. If the purpose is truth and clarity, any word or phrase that might bring about confusion should simply be edited out.

And the writer who was trying to have some clever fun must be dealt with appropriately.

I thought the modern precedent had been set with ESPN and Jeremy Lin.

That caused such an uproar that I truly believed the cliche (referred here in "N" word style as "C.I.T.A.") was retired for good, at least as a reference to people of Chinese descent. (Once again, for you medieval fashionistas actually referring to blocky, ill-fitting metal suits, go for it. Everyone else, hold your jousting poles.)

In the Lin situation, ESPN, the outfit known as the "Worldwide Leader in Sports," knew exactly what to do, and quickly.

It withdrew the copy, fired the writer, and apologized to all concerned.

The Wall Street Journal? It's withdrawn the copy, but that's all.

Or maybe the editors there think, like Donald Trump or Jeb Bush, offending a few Asian and Asian Americans when talking about "anchor babies" and immigration policy is just a matter of political correctness? 

It's not about political correctness at all.

It's simply common courtesy and respect for a sense of diversity. 

The paper wouldn't use the "N word," or the word "honky," "wop," or  "kike." 

Where was the copy editor with the updated diversity style book?

People used to get away with saying anything they want about Asians and Asian Americans--even the most offensive things---because we didn't speak out, or we didn't care. 

And then again, there just weren't enough of us to matter.

Well, times have changed. People can't talk about us like we're not in the room, because we're in the audience. We're subscribers, employees, readers. 

We're here. We care. And we matter.

And these days, we'll definitely let you know when you've crossed the line.

Wall Street Journal, take a note from ESPN. 


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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator. 
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.    

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