In the Blog
which racial slurs are too slurry?
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…