In the Blog

which racial slurs are too slurry?

October 18th, 2007     by Thea Lim     Comments

Since we like talking about language here at Shameless, let me share something that bothered me today:

Bizarre assaults hit quiet town (from the Toronto Star) “Asian-Canadians report being shoved into water while fishing near Sutton; police deny racial link … Since April there have been three cases of assault, mischief and theft against the mostly Asian-Canadian fishermen in the area. … Local youth call it “nippertipping.” … “Nip” is a derogatory word for Japanese, apparently used in this context for anyone of Asian descent. “Tipping” refers to a rural prank known as cow tipping. Some townspeople say it’s been happening for decades, occasionally triggering gossip but nothing more…”

I don’t think I need to comment on how horrifying the content of this newspiece is - what aggravated me about it was the use of the word “nippertipping.” I have to say I was a little shocked to see that phrase reprinted, and I wonder what value there is to be had in repeating it.

I feel that simply stating “Local youth use racial slurs to cheerfully describe the assaults” would be enough to convey the going-ons. After all, you’d never see the N-word reprinted in a mainstream North American newspaper, even if the word was central to a newspiece. [And yes, I recognise I just re-reprinted the term, and perhaps that’s problematic…]

It reminds me very distantly of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, when newspapers across the world escalated an already sticky situation to the max by reprinting racist cartoon representations of the Prophet Mohammed.

Tell me, am I being too politically correct in objecting to this? You wouldn’t be the first to say it

Tags: media savvy, race and racism

« Finding Dawn at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore

Dove - AGAIN »