• Welcome to ZD Forums! You must create an account and log in to see and participate in the Shoutbox chat on this main index page.

"Chink in the Armor"

zeldahuman

The Missing Link
Joined
Feb 22, 2011
Location
Fighting Alongside Link
If you're a follower of basketball, you may or may not know of Jeremy Lin, one of the newest players on the Knicks team. Lin has risen to fame fairly quickly, literally scoring 28 points a game, getting 10 to 14 rebounds a game, etc. he has been leading the Knicks to victory. But all is not well...

The Friday before President's Day, the Knicks lost to the Hornets. Most people blamed Jeremy Lin, whom lost the ball 9 times during the game. From there, ESPN reporter Anthony Federico posted an article to ESPN.com, with the headline "Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin's 9 Turnovers Costs Knicks In Streak-Snapping Loss To Hornets." Also, a guy on-air during a live game said, "Well, looks like Jeremy Lin has a chink in his armor."

So, the use of the idiom "Chink in the armor" was considered racist, and ESPN fired the guy and they suspending the on-air reporter for a month. All this happened because of an idiom that was considered a terrible racist pun.

So the first point I want to make is: "Chink in the armor" is NOT racist. It's an idiom, as I mentioned above, (an idiom is a word or phrase with a figurative meaning). The idiom literally means, "a special weakness that provides a means for attacking or impressing someone otherwise invulerable (an opening in a suit of armor that allows a weapon to penetrate.)" it has nothing to do with the slang word referring to Chinese people.
So, let's plug some points in. For 7 or so games, Lin seemed invulnerable, until there was a noticeable "chink in the armor," Lin turning over the ball 9 times in one game, making the Knicks lose.

Also, a thing to point out is that Anthony Federico, the reporter that was fired, used this idiom many a time in his articles. But because he used it in an article about a Chinese man, he's considered racist? It wasn't racist then, and it's not racist now. Also worth nothing, Lin himself said "I don't think he meant anything negative by it."

So, main point, what do you think of this? Was the guy being racist? What are your views on this? Was Anthony Federico rightly fired or not? Comment below and I'll see you guys around.

~Joey
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 16, 2010
That's ridiculous and not racist at all. I mean, we can't be sure of his true intention by saying it, but come on; sports commentators and analysts say silly puns and whatnot like this all the time. It was almost clearly referring to the fact that Lin finally had a bad game after a long string of outstanding ones. I don't think he should have been fired, at all. Don't get me wrong, it's good to see that they're looking out for racist comments, but this is going too far.
 

Batman

Not all those who wander are lost...
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Location
40 lights off the Galactic Rim
Gender
Dan-kin
Well, I fully understand that "chink in the armor" is a common idiom with no relation to the the derrogatory "chink" that refers to a Chinese person. There is nothing racist about that phrase. However, Federico must have been aware of the irony behind that statement. Anyone fluent in the English langauge knows that the word "chink" is a racist term and using it to describe a Chinese-american's bad performance in a game was not a good idea. He may have not meant it racially, but then again, he may have thought it a cleaver headline given the meaning behind the phrase and the race of the player. Regardless, it was a very dumb idea. I could understand if someone unaware of the double-meaning of the word chink did this (aka, someone not fluent with English), but Federico is clearly a fluent english speaker. He was aware of what he did. imo. But maybe I'm wrong.
 

All Might

Honor before death
Forum Volunteer
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Location
Tsushima
Though you've already provided an impeccable definition...

Chink in One's Armor - "A vulnerable area, as in Putting things off to the last minute is the chink in Pat's armor and is bound to get her in trouble one day. This term relies on chink in the sense of "a crack or gap," a meaning dating from about 1400 and used figuratively since the mid-1600s."

That idiom has no association to racism. Mr. Federico was only making a statement, a faultless observation, by using it. Sports announcers endorse such phrases all the time, and always to observe specific attributes about the players. That's part of their job. Yeah, Jeremy Lin is a spectacular baller all around, one who stepped up his game when it was needed. Therefore, his fans can only be expected to be majorly disappointed; that's a natural reaction. Howbeit the situation became overinflated like a balloon about to burst, and however it played out that Federico was fired is an unfortunate reading toward this. Even Lin himself admitted that it was doubtful any harm was intended. That's how I absorb this as well. A player—albeit outstanding—simply had an off game, and a commentator offered his rightful view toward that particular game in response. Nothing racist or derogatory about it; purely him being truthful in my eyes.
 

Austin

Austin
Joined
Feb 24, 2010
Nah it's pretty clearly racist. I could believe that the on-air announcer slipped up, but it's impossible that the man writing the article had no idea of the implications of what he was saying. You can argue that people shouldn't be offended by such things, but the fact is that they are, and that must have gone through that man's head whilst writing his article, and he chose to ignore it.

One of the coolest people I know, Philip DeFranco, was on Twitter talking about this, and someone compared this to someone using the n-word in a similar manner. And he freaked out, saying (and I'm para-phrasing here, I don't know his actual tweet) "whoa, no it is not. In the Pyramid of Racism, the n-word is at the very top. Chink is more toward the bottom..."
Haha no. There is no "pyramid of racism".
 

Xinnamin

Mrs. Austin
Joined
Dec 6, 2009
Location
clustercereal
I'm Chinese. I take no offense to the term "chink". That being said, it is REALLY hard to argue that they were not aware of the racist interpretation of the phrase, and there are a million other ways of expressing the same sentiment without using a particular word. Firing the guy, that's an overreaction, but to say the phrase was used with complete innocent intentions is a pretty far-fetched claim in my opinion. If the reporter really meant to express an honest opinion without intent of offense, he would have used a different phrase. As I've said, it's not that hard. It's not worth it to make a pun to appear witty when said pun could come off as offensive and people get this ridiculously sensitive about racism. Personally, I think the writers and editors of the article were stupid to let that get through to publication.

One of the coolest people I know, Philip DeFranco, was on Twitter talking about this, and someone compared this to someone using the n-word in a similar manner. And he freaked out, saying (and I'm para-phrasing here, I don't know his actual tweet) "whoa, no it is not. In the Pyramid of Racism, the n-word is at the very top. Chink is more toward the bottom..."
...since when was it more okay to call an Asian "chink" than it was to call a black person "******"? That in itself is more racist than the terms themselves.
 

zeldahuman

The Missing Link
Joined
Feb 22, 2011
Location
Fighting Alongside Link
Haha no. There is no "pyramid of racism".
...since when was it more okay to call an Asian "chink" than it was to call a black person "******"? That in itself is more racist than the terms themselves.
I know there is no Pyramid of Racism, he was obviously trying to make a joke. And Xinn, I'm not agreeing with what he said, but that's what he said to defend that Anthony Federico wasn't trying to be racist. I have to agree with you on this one, because any form of racism is bad period, at least in my eyes.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2010
Location
Inverness/St Andrews , UK
This was clearly racist. I'm not saying the reporter was necessarily racist, and the phrase "chink in the armour" isn't racist by itself, but you'd have to be an idiot not to notice the connection between the headline and the subject of the story. It was clearly deliberate and was racist.
 

Djinn

and Tonic
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Location
The Flying Mobile Opression fortress
Much like how some people have an uncanny ability to dig out some sexual innuendo for just about every last possible thing you could ever say or do, there is another group that has the exact same ability when it comes to discovering offensive language in words or phrases. They are unmatched in their capability to bend and twist every word someone says into some form of radical insult to a people, language, culture, or ethnicity. The real issue is that they love to make a mountain of problems from what is most likely a small mistake on someone's part or possibly on part of someone on the team that has never really heard of chink being used as a derogatory term for Asians in general. I know that I have never seen anyone say it in public or at home. It is mostly a very antiquated word that I seriously doubt many people even think of using for any reason. However chink in the armor is a very standard term that I have seen many people use. And I like to think I can safely say it has never meant to mean Chinese guy in some way or form.

I think this entire event is the result of those same forces at work. Someone looking to be offended in a significant way goes searching and finds something they can exploit and an overly nervous executive who absolutely must remain 100% politically correct in every last way overreacts. So a double irrational overreaction is made on part of everyone involved again. Leaving us to sit here and wonder if anything actually offensive was actually made in the first place and then talking about how everyone else need to lighten up some.
 
The fact was, if not racist, it was downright STUPID for the editor to let this title through. For everyone screaming PC or race card, the fact is this IS an offensive term for Asians and if not fired the guy deserved to be reprimanded for this. It was plain dumb to let it through plain and simple when the article is clearly about an Asian guy. I can't say what the guy's intentions were, or if he deserved to be fired as I don't know his previous track record. Either way letting this slip was asking for trouble, my own feelings about the term and situation aside. (Honestly it didn't even occur to me until I thought about it a second, but it's the editors job to see these things and he failed his job).
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2010
Location
Inverness/St Andrews , UK
I find it impossible to believe that the writer didn't know that he was using an offensive term. In my opinion he was probably trying to see if he could get away with it, unfortunately for him he didn't. Reporters will always try to use puns in their headlines and "Chink in the Armour" would never be used on it's own. I'm normally against people using the race/sexism etc. card at any excuse but this is one case where the link between the headline and the subject of the story was definitely intended.
 

Djinn

and Tonic
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Location
The Flying Mobile Opression fortress
Generally this is the exact job of the network censors. They are the ones who are supposed to go over everything in the scripts first and be completely sure that there is no offensive material anywhere. When they find it then it is their duty to either demand a rewrite or rewrite it themselves to comply with regulations. Since this was not done then it should be completely upon them as the final editors of all scrips to be responsible for all language and offensive words that make it through to the final product. However I do not think I have ever heard of a censor being replaced or removed because of a failure to catch any material like this.
 

arkvoodle

Diabolical
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Location
Somewhere
Every journalist/news corporation has a book of guidelines. Words they should use and ones they shouldn't. This is clearly on the "shouldn't" list because of the possibility that someone will take it as a racist term. The journalist in question either

1- Did this because they thought they were funny.
2- Did this because it's a nice metaphor.
3- Did this and was perfectly aware of the racist conotations.

Personally, i'm thinking 1 and 3. To deny the knowledge that "Chink" is a racist term, especially as a journalist, is just...ugh. I liked the metaphor, and I didn't take it as being a racist slur at first until I looked at it and saw who the story was about. An Asian person. To deny the racist link there is just lying. Both to yourself and to the corporation you work for.

However, I could see through it if the person in question was not of the asian pursuasion. Chink in the armor is a wonderful term to use when decribing weakness. And I believe that the term would have fitted in quite nicely here. However, due to the heavy racist conotations, i'll have to say no.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2010
Location
Inverness/St Andrews , UK
Every journalist/news corporation has a book of guidelines. Words they should use and ones they shouldn't. This is clearly on the "shouldn't" list because of the possibility that someone will take it as a racist term. The journalist in question either

1- Did this because they thought they were funny.
2- Did this because it's a nice metaphor.
3- Did this and was perfectly aware of the racist conotations.

Personally, i'm thinking 1 and 3. To deny the knowledge that "Chink" is a racist term, especially as a journalist, is just...ugh. I liked the metaphor, and I didn't take it as being a racist slur at first until I looked at it and saw who the story was about. An Asian person. To deny the racist link there is just lying. Both to yourself and to the corporation you work for.

However, I could see through it if the person in question was not of the asian pursuasion. Chink in the armor is a wonderful term to use when decribing weakness. And I believe that the term would have fitted in quite nicely here. However, due to the heavy racist conotations, i'll have to say no.
Exactly, to not have seen the racist connotations the reporter would have to have been a complete idiot.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top Bottom