MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont newspaper defended itself Saturday against accusations of racism over a poster it published in support of a local sports team that read "fry Rice" in type associated with Chinese calligraphy, saying it meant no offense and simply wanted to play on words.

The back-page poster, printed in Thursday's editions, was intended to support St. Johnsbury Academy's basketball team in its game against Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington, the Caledonian Record wrote in an unsigned editorial (http://bit.ly/Yj75aB ).

"We sought a simple play on words in support of an extraordinary group of local student athletes. Indulging our critics for a moment, the outcry reminds us that racial and ethnic stereotypes can offend — regardless of intent," the editorial said.

The editorial acknowledged that the poster's wordplay, punctuated by the chosen font, "evoked a particular ethnic cuisine" but did not constitute racism.

"We don't concede, however, that the use of imagery with any racial, ethnic or religious inference is to inherently debase that race/ethnicity/religion," the paper said.

"A fair accusation of racism would at least pre-require the reference to actually be demeaning or degrading," the editorial said. "Simply invoking ethnic customs (food, dress, design) doesn't do that, nor does it suggest any kind of characteristic about the culture, its people or a history of oppression by the majority.

But the editorial missed the point, said the president of the Asian American Journalists Association, who had criticized the poster after it was published.

"I'm not criticizing the Caledonian Record for rooting for their home team," said Paul Cheung, the association's president. While Cheung does not believe the newspaper's intention was to be racist, it showed "a lapse of judgment and poor taste."

"It evoked a racial undertone and a negative stereotype," said Cheung, who is also interactive and graphics editor for The Associated Press.

St. Johnsbury Academy ended up losing the game to Rice Memorial.

A private school, St. Johnsbury Academy serves local students and also has boarding students from across the world, including Asia. Academy Headmaster Tom Lovett said Friday that none of the school's Asian students were offended by the poster.

"Overall, our students often see such things as a way to celebrate their culture, not demean it. And in this case, we chose to follow our students' lead and look at the Caledonian's intent, not taking offense where none was intended," Lovett said.

About News.net

Publishing Services International Limited (PSIL) is the publisher and operator of a worldwide network of online news sites dedicated to delivering fair, accurate and relevant reporting from a variety of the world’s most trusted sources – from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.

We deliver positive and powerful messages to our readers, providing up‑to‑the‑second news that matters to the individual.

Our promise is to serve communities and individuals worldwide, delivering information that hasn’t always been available to them. We will give them back a voice – a voice that’s empowering because it is theirs – and provide a platform to communicate between themselves and the world.

We believe people are not just generic demographics; they are individuals with their own preferences and curiosities. We are about understanding these individuals, listening to them, and serving them.

We are the new pioneering spirit of news – we’re not talking to everyone, we’re talking with every one.

If you want your news, your voice, your way, on your time – we’ve got news for you.

 

FAQs

Email

If you have any questions or concerns please email us on support@news.net

Phone

  • Australia, Toll Free 1-800-983-421
  • Hong Kong, Toll Free 800-906-187
  • Singapore, Toll Free 800-852-3871
  • USA/Canada, Toll Free 1-800-830-4132

Advertise With Us

Interested in being awesome?
Contact us by email or phone.

Cancel