Some Clarification And Background Regarding Japadog and Racism

Photo Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times
Photo Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times


An article of mine titled: Japadog: A Disgusting Fusion of Corporate and Ethnic Racism recently received a lot of comments from folks who feel that I was too sensitive or going overboard on my P.C. after I found a story by The Los Angeles Times titled: If your hot dog is topped with seaweed or noodles, it must be a Japadog.

I was called too sensitive or many sought to tell me either on the comments at the end of the story or on Facebook that they thought Japadog was not a racial slur or that I was trying to besmirch the owners of Japadog, even though they themselves are Japanese therefore it’s not racism…the story was not about the entrepreneurs but The Times policy on words that are offensive or deemed offensive.

I wrote an addendum explaining how a white former aide of the D.C. mayor used the word niggardly and was asked to resign in 1999. The aide was not bitter, but spoke about how being colorblind to race is not ideal. Though an archaic term, not one newspaper editorial including The Los Angeles Times used the word niggardly…except in a quote from someone else. The Times’ policy is to not write something that may cause tension between the paper and the community. So niggardly was never written again…even though it means stingy or miserly.

My complaint was the word Japadog. When I read the story, I was surprised that The Times even did the story. Why? One of their policies is to not cause trouble when a story is written. Words such as the “N” word are not spelled fully but with asterisks…even if it’s from a direct quote. That is their policy. Niggardly has no racial connotation whatsoever but it is not used by either the editorial board or staff writers. Yet Japadog or Jap-a-dog had no asterisk and the policy for editing does not apply…so I asked why?

I contacted the editor for the food section and left a message asking why is niggardly, or a direct quote, censored or not put in the paper while Japadog was left untouched? No one returned my calls. According to a friend at The Los Angeles Times, the editorial board’s in fear of political repercussion as well as lost revenue, because what should be stingy, sounds so much like the “N” word.

This is what I was writing about, how The Los Angeles Times and many of the major newspapers who rely so much on advertising revenue are willing to censor themselves from certain racial groups, so that the same racial group would not lead a boycott of their major source of revenue. Look what happened to Rush Limbaugh after he called Sandra Fluke a slut. If you’re a racist, the power of the people will cost you millions. Yet the same phobia isn’t applied to Asian Americans…and that is why I asked.

One of our policies here at Politicus is to not use the seven dirty words…even in quotes. I cannot write f*** or bull*** or a**hole, even if it’s a direct quote, because it is Politicus’ policy. If I MUST use the offensive slang I should use asterisks and attribute it to the appropriate person. Is it censorship? Yes it is, but it’s the site’s policy and I must abide by it…that is our policy.

The Los Angeles Times also has a similar policy, but when a writer for The Times tells me that they would not use niggardly either in the headline, kicker, lead or body, because it SOUNDS racist but don’t give a second thought on using Japadog which sounds like Jap-a-dog, I am asking the question: why the different tiers of censorship?

My friend who works for The Times as a writer told me recently that The Times are frightened of losing their advertising, so they are intentionally being over-cautious when it comes to certain words that many can confuse as racist, yet have no qualms here because, “Asians don’t complain.” So I said paper is promoting institutionalized racism to protect their bottom line…my friend said “yup”.

I hope this clears this up my intentions after writing the story. As a journalist, we are to abide by the A.P. Style of writing, yet with corporations taking over the press, my friend said that the real press are the ones like Politicus or Daily Kos who answer not to shareholders or to the Koch Bros., but to the people.

4 Replies to “Some Clarification And Background Regarding Japadog and Racism”

  1. If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed. — Benjamin Franklin
    That is all

  2. That word IS a vile and completely racist epithet; regardless one’s race. There was no need for clarification, but good on you for addressing the critics. The appropriate response should have been two words; sod off!

    If we don’t call out racism in all it’s iterations, we’re the problem. Good catch Tim.

  3. Japanese sounds like Jap-a-knees, and shitake mushrooms sounds like shit-aki, am I supposed to asterisk that too?
    Besides LA Times never asterisks any racial slurs, just google them. What makes you so special? Anyway Japadog isn’t a slur it’s the simple name of the business, and LA Times is entitled to use it in their story and headline with no apologies.
    What a waste of hot air you spew.

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