Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Objects to Syndicated Cartoonist's Use of Racist Stereotypes of Asians

Apr 13, 2001, 01:00 ET from Asian American Journalists Association

    SAN FRANCISCO, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The 1,700-member Asian American
 Journalists Association (AAJA) today demanded that an editorial cartoonist
 practice responsible journalism by ending the use of racial stereotypes and
 ethnic caricatures in his work.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010212/AAJALOGO )
     Patrick Oliphant published Monday a cartoon on the subject of the American
 crew detained by China by portraying a confrontation between Uncle Sam and a
 bucktooth, bespectacled Chinese waiter.
     In a letter to John P. McMeel, chairman of the Andrews McMeel Universal,
 AAJA national president Victor Panichkul said that Oliphant's "editorial
 cartoon crossed the line from acerbic depiction to racial caricature and is
 absolutely unacceptable."
     Andrews McMeel Universal is the largest independent newspaper syndicate in
 the world, and the distributor of Oliphant's editorial cartoons.
     "Editorial cartoonists often have more editorial leeway in connection with
 vigorous political expression," said Panichkul, "but this in no way excuses
 base ethnic insult. Gross racial parodies cannot be explained away as merely
 tart 'opinion' that is not intended to be offensive."
     Panichkul pointed out specific offensive characterizations in the cartoon:
 
     -- The "Chinese" character has thick glasses and buckteeth reminiscent of
        the anti-Japanese propaganda of World War II.
     -- "Crispy fried cat gizzards" refers to the traditional racist allusion
         to Asians eating cats and dogs.
     -- "Apologize lotten Amellican!" is another traditional racist resort to
         pidgin English.
 
      Panichkul also referenced previous concerns expressed to Andrews McMeel
 Universal about previous Oliphant cartoons on April 30, 1999, asserting that
 Chinese eat dogs, and May 11, 1999, implying that all Chinese operate
 laundries.
     AAJA suggests news organizations refer to AAJA's stylebook, All-American:
 How to Cover Asian America, for examples on how to better cover Asian
 Americans and avoid negative stereotypes. The handbook order forms can be
 obtained online at the AAJA Web site:
 http://aaja.org/html/news_html/news_stylebook.html .
     AAJA is a non-profit educational association based in San Francisco,
 devoted to training and developing Asian American journalists and ensuring
 fair and accurate coverage of the Asian American community. It has
 1,700 members in 18 chapters across the United States and Asia. AAJA is
 celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
 
 

SOURCE Asian American Journalists Association
    SAN FRANCISCO, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The 1,700-member Asian American
 Journalists Association (AAJA) today demanded that an editorial cartoonist
 practice responsible journalism by ending the use of racial stereotypes and
 ethnic caricatures in his work.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010212/AAJALOGO )
     Patrick Oliphant published Monday a cartoon on the subject of the American
 crew detained by China by portraying a confrontation between Uncle Sam and a
 bucktooth, bespectacled Chinese waiter.
     In a letter to John P. McMeel, chairman of the Andrews McMeel Universal,
 AAJA national president Victor Panichkul said that Oliphant's "editorial
 cartoon crossed the line from acerbic depiction to racial caricature and is
 absolutely unacceptable."
     Andrews McMeel Universal is the largest independent newspaper syndicate in
 the world, and the distributor of Oliphant's editorial cartoons.
     "Editorial cartoonists often have more editorial leeway in connection with
 vigorous political expression," said Panichkul, "but this in no way excuses
 base ethnic insult. Gross racial parodies cannot be explained away as merely
 tart 'opinion' that is not intended to be offensive."
     Panichkul pointed out specific offensive characterizations in the cartoon:
 
     -- The "Chinese" character has thick glasses and buckteeth reminiscent of
        the anti-Japanese propaganda of World War II.
     -- "Crispy fried cat gizzards" refers to the traditional racist allusion
         to Asians eating cats and dogs.
     -- "Apologize lotten Amellican!" is another traditional racist resort to
         pidgin English.
 
      Panichkul also referenced previous concerns expressed to Andrews McMeel
 Universal about previous Oliphant cartoons on April 30, 1999, asserting that
 Chinese eat dogs, and May 11, 1999, implying that all Chinese operate
 laundries.
     AAJA suggests news organizations refer to AAJA's stylebook, All-American:
 How to Cover Asian America, for examples on how to better cover Asian
 Americans and avoid negative stereotypes. The handbook order forms can be
 obtained online at the AAJA Web site:
 http://aaja.org/html/news_html/news_stylebook.html .
     AAJA is a non-profit educational association based in San Francisco,
 devoted to training and developing Asian American journalists and ensuring
 fair and accurate coverage of the Asian American community. It has
 1,700 members in 18 chapters across the United States and Asia. AAJA is
 celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
 
 SOURCE  Asian American Journalists Association