Asian in America

Linsanity: Give ESPN Writer His Job Back for Chink in the Armor Fervor

Chink in the Armor, Anthony Federico, ex ESPN writer,

Chink in the Armor, Anthony Federico, ex ESPN writer, image from Obsessed With Sports

Thank you to Taylor Zhou for giving me this link about Jeremy Lin graciously lunching with ex-ESPN writer Anthony Federico, 28, who was terminated after writing the incendiary headline, “Chink in the Armor.” It speaks volumes.

  • Federico was amazed and touched that Lin would make time in his insanely busy schedule to have lunch with him as his request. I just love Jeremy Lin more and more!
  • It was an honest mistake. Chink in the Armor IS a common term, after all, and he did not realize Chink had a racial slur connotation.
  • They bonded. They talked about their shared Christian faith and Lin’s knee injury.
  • Lin forgave.

I suspected the ESPN writer’s derogatory headline was not intentional. Because, seriously, when was the last time you were called a Chink? I’m half Chinese and half Japanese and I got called a Jap once in Junior High School 35 years ago when we studied WWII history.

And in college 30 years ago while visiting Copley Plaza to research a paper on the architecture of McMead, Kim and White and H. H. Richardson, two black kids yelled out some remark to me and my then boyfriend that included Chink. He’s from Queens, NY, so it didn’t phase him at all. The boys were junior high school age, and I was, like, “WHAT did you call me?!!!”  Chink is like “Oriental”; it’s just not commonly used anymore. There is prejudice still, to be sure, but it’s more insidious and subtle.

In the case of young writer, Anthony Federico, though, Chink was an honest mistake. He had no idea. He’s too young to have Chink in his vernacular. Can’t we just forgive and forget? Please give him his job back. If you agree, please fill out this poll.

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4 Responses to “Linsanity: Give ESPN Writer His Job Back for Chink in the Armor Fervor”

  1. On April 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm admin responded with... #

    Yes, I agree with you John, ignorance is not an excuse to use racial slurs, however if we use the same tactics that other ethnicities have used, I don’t think it would lead to a solution. Whenever something like this persist after generations of Asians living in this country, we need to revisit why this is happening.

    I was involved in another discussion on how the Japanese American community is certain forums are shifting away from the euphemistic terms of “relocation and Internment” camps to “concentration” camps. I voiced my opinion that I would like to call it what it was by definition, concentration camps, but there was interesting comments from other viewpoints.

    In this particular case, the ESPN writer was the unfortunate fall guy for what happened. I’m sure there were other opportunities for other ESPN employees to stop what occurred. I believe he did take responsibility for his actions, and this did give us an opportunity to expose to the world the type of racism against Asians that are still experienced here in America.

    Posted by Susan Miyabe – Sugimoto

    From my LinkedIn Group Asian American Leadership Network

  2. On April 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm admin responded with... #

    Using race as an excuse whenever possible to create a distortion of reality and diversions from the truth.

    Posted by Susan Miyabe – Sugimoto

    From my LinkedIn Group Asian American Leadership Network

  3. On April 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm admin responded with... #

    Growing up in the post WWII 50’s and 60’s, I experienced a lot of racial slurs yelled toward me, mainly “Jap” and “Nip”…one time someone called me a “Chink”, I yelled back, hey, what does that mean!? Especially with the recent happenings in the news, America needs to wake up and get beyond racial slurs. We are a country made up of different ethnicities and we need to embrace that rather than make it a negative characteristics of being an American.
    I also been called many other names, but I look at the source and shake it off…we should all try to be as gracious as Mr. Jeremy Lin.

    Posted by Susan Miyabe – Sugimoto

    From my LinkedIn Group Asian American Leadership Network

  4. On April 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm admin responded with... #

    I agree with both of you. The WWII camps for Japanese Americans WERE Concentration Camps. Let’s not use euphemisms. Let’s call a spade a spade.

    On the other hand, I do think it was a honest mistake and I’m willing to give the ESPN writer the benefit of the doubt. Being made “An Example” is extreme here. I hope we can follow Jeremy Lin’s example.

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