Asian American Knicks basketball player Jeremy Lin brings back the old reminder that we are not a post racial society yet. Minorities do not need the reminder. Most minorities know the world we are living in and it’s not post racial. The ESPN editor fired Sunday for using “chink in the armor” in a headline about Knicks basketball player Jeremy Lin said the racial slur never crossed his mind — and he was devastated when he realized his mistake. The only thing he was devastated about was losing his job. “This had nothing to do with me being cute or funny,” Anthony Federico told the Daily News. “I’m so sorry that I offended people. I’m so sorry if I offended Jeremy.”
ESPN also suspended anchor Max Bretos for 30 days after he used the same phrase on-air Wednesday while speaking with Knicks legend Walt Frazier. Bretos apologized on Twitter Saturday, posting, “Wanted 2 apologize 2 all those I have upset. Not done with any racial reference. Despite intention, phrase was inappropriate in this context.” He followed that up with, “My wife is Asian, would never intentionally say anything to disrespect her and that community. Although he apologized and tweeted that his wife is Asian, he felt that he did nothing disrespectful. It’s amazing that Bretos could state that the phrase was not done with any racial reference. That’s like calling African Americans the “N” word and saying it was not meant with any racial reference.
Bretos and Federico are but two examples of how racially insensitive and disrespectful the media is when it comes to covering diversity. And the media is fueled by how the public’s perception of minorities is viewed. The media would think before speaking disrespectful of minorities if they felt there would be a public backlash for their disrespectful comments.
And for all those who felt the punishment of firing was too severe, let me remind you to look and read the post racial memo again. For those who still don’t get it, just refrain from calling any minorities a racial name that is not the one used by them.
Debbie Hines is a lawyer, former prosecutor and legal /political commentator appearing in national and local media including CNN, the Michael Eric Dyson Show, XM Sirius radio, NBC , ABC and CBS -Washington, DC affiliates, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She founded LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. She also writes for the Huffington Post.