Archive for November 2009
For the first official state dinner at the White House, the first lady Michelle Obama looked stunning in a strapless, floor-length gown of warm, pale gold paired with a diaphanous shawl in a matching hue. She wore long, dangling earrings and piles of gold bangles on her left arm. (Nobody noticed what President Obama wore, other than to note it was a black tuxedo and perfect foil for showing off the first lady’s gown.)
Mrs. Obama’s golden gown was designed by Indian-American designer Naeem Khan — a nod, perhaps, to the honored guests at the state dinner: India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur.
Mr. Khan launched his eponymous clothing line in 2003, according to his website. He has dressed stars such as Beyonce, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Lopez, as well as Queen Noor, but dressing the first lady of the United States — and one as stylish and statuesque as Michelle Obama, no less — is certainly a new level of distinction for the Indian-born Khan. No doubt, he will garner many more fans on his Facebook page.
Listen up, sportscasters. Stop referring to Chinese athletes as the “Chinaman.” It is a racial slur. It is not the same as calling someone a Frenchman or Englishman. Ohhh, you didn’t know that? Now you do.
As writer Tom Ziller points on the NBA Fanhouse website, the term “Chinaman” was “first used in a derogatory fashion in the American West beginning in the late 19th century. Anti-Chinese activists in California and throughout the West used the term to classify Chinese immigrants as subhuman.” So don’t use the term unless you want to sound racist or ig’nant.
As Ziller reports, NBA sportscaster Rick Kamla referred to New Jersey forward Yi Jianlian as a “Chinaman” during a live broadcast of a game between the Magic and Nets. Kamla apparently didn’t know the term was racist and offensive. He pleaded ignorance. Asianista is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt — just don’t let it happen again.
As Ziller points out, what’s more disturbing is that the video of the racist slur remained available for days on NBA.com until contacted by Fanhouse. As Ziller writes:
Kamla’s ignorant slip is far less troubling than the fact this video was broadcast on NBA TV and had been available on NBA.com for five days. The NBA has made serious strides to reach out to all corners of America and to expand the league’s presence worldwide, with particular emphasis on Asia. Given the league’s emphasis on marketing product to Chinese Americans, for this to go unnoticed within the NBA’s digital arm for so long is disheartening.
— Tom Ziller, writing on NBA Fanhouse.com
Well said. Don’t be trying to get our (that is Asian-Americans’) hard-earned dollars while dissing us. Educate yourself.