Outcry over Chicago Sun-Times headline is racial opportunism

Is the word Photo: Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO, July 9, 2013 — In a way, it serves the Chicago Sun-Times right: The City’s liberal newspaper received a smackdown of the politically correct kind after it ran a cover story about this weekend’s Asiana Airlines crash with the headline “Fright 214.”

Because two-thirds of the flight’s passengers were Asian, Asian American newspapers reacted quickly, charging that the Sun-Times’ headline sounded like a play on the stereotypical Asian accent.

“First, its pretty sick to use a play on words in a headline for a tragedy,” said AsAmNews. “Secondly, this one’s pretty racist.”

The blog, Kotaku, attempted to clarify further what all the racial fuss was all about:

There is, of course, a long tradition of mocking Asians—especially Chinese as well as Japanese—by not differentiating between “L” and “R” sounds in English. Case in point: the “fried rice” scene in Lethal Weapon 4.

So this is about the fried rice in “Lethal Weapon 4”?

The Chicago Sun-Times cover story was about a plane crash that killed two people — 180 were injured — and people are upset about a headline with the word “fright” in it?

Wouldn’t any survivor of that horrific plane crash have been frightened? Isn’t the word “fright” a natural normal word for any journalist or newspaper to use in connection with a plane crash?

Asiana Airlines crash site. Source: Kotaku

But now everything is viewed through race, gender, or sexual-orientation-colored bi-focals.

So long free speech; it was good while it lasted.

Chicago Sun-Times editor-in-chief Jim Kirk has apologized profusely over the incident.

“There was nothing intentional on our part to play off any stereotypes. … If anybody was offended by that, we are sorry,” Kirk told AAJA. “We were trying to convey the obviously frightening situation of that landing.”

Some are suggesting that a lack of diversity among newspaper staff is to blame for this “accidental racism.”

But how can racism be accidental? Isn’t racism about hatred and isn’t hatred an intentional act? Not so in the subtext of America’s evolving racial conversation. Now you can be a racist without knowing it.

A 2005 Wall Street Journal piece may have explained this theory best:

“Fifty years of survey research has shown a sharp decline in overt racial prejudice. Instead of being a cause for celebration, however, this trend has set off an ever more strident insistence in academia that whites are pervasively biased … Researchers and “diversity experts” purport to know what’s needed and do not hesitate to recommend more expensive and strenuous measures to purge pervasive racism. There is no more evidence that such efforts dispel supposed unconscious racism than that such racism affects decisions in the first place. But facts have nothing to do with it. What began as science has morphed into unassailable faith. However we think, feel or act, and however much apparent progress has been made, there is no hope for us. We are all racists at heart.”

But it isn’t just people that are inherently racist; words can be racist too, even words like “fright” under certain conditions.

The theory has been extended to theories of discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation.

So, for instance, the politically correct crowd has been hard-at-work purging the word “man” from college textbooks. Washington State has just completed its six-year gender-neutral odyssey to purge “fisherman,” “clergyman,” and “freshman” from its dictionaries.

In this Curious Case of the Punny Headline, the Chicago Sun-Times had every right to use “fright” in its headline about a plane crash. Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk should not have apologized to the Asian community; he should not have caved into this latest attack on free speech.

The Chicago Sun-Times story is about race: the human race. It’s about life and death. It’s about survival. It’s about the two 16-year-olds from China who died in the crash. It’s about whether the pilot had the experience to fly that plane.

Now we have a permanent class of victims who cry racism at the drop of a hat — or in this case, the drop of the plane. Instead of talking with each other, we yell. Instead of comforting each other, we accuse.

That some would use this tragedy as an excuse to cry racism is morally offensive. It dishonors the dead and that brings shame — to everyone.

Read more from Chicago with Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad

William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. He is a native from Chicago’s Southside.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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William Kelly


Conservative commentator, satirist, and radio talk show host William J. Kelly pens the “Kelly Truth Squad” and “The Tea Party Report” for the Washington Times Communities and is a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. Kelly is also a producer of Emmy award-winning TV and received an Emmy nomination himself for outstanding achievement on-camera. He was previously the Executive Director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, a taxpayer watchdog group. He is a native of Chicago’s South side. For more information, visit www.kellytruthsquad.com.

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