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.
Tim’s first experience into journalism was at East Los Angeles College. Then Tim was a stringer for a local Japanese American Newspaper in Los Angeles. He then completed his Bachelors in Business and RECEIVED his MBA, but his desire to seek the truth has not been assuaged by fear of the 1% or their followers. When Tim isn’t doing his liberal thing, he enjoys sitting back, relaxing and listening to Rush…the band folks!