Once again, we at the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) find ourselves confronting an episode of a major U.S. news organization using a variation of “chink in the armor” in a way that could be taken with offense.
The Wall Street Journal, referencing the potential vulnerability of Chinese President Xi Jinping, paired his name and photo in a tweet with the common idiom. As AAJA has repeatedly cautioned, this is a phrase that should be retired. Despite the words’ original non-racial connotation, when used in conjunction with topics involving Asia and/or Asian Americans, it can call to mind a hurtful slur.
The tweet, since deleted from @WSJ’s stream, was explained with: “No offense was intended.” We acknowledge that the Journal recognized its error.
We urge all news media to reference AAJA’s “Handbook to Covering Asian America” as a guide to accurate and fair reporting on our communities.
AAJA MediaWatch committee