Columnist Joel Brinkley is backing down from his characterization that Vietnam is an aggressive country because it eats a lot of meat–mainly he says rats, dogs and birds. Instead he said he would describe the country as “robust”. His remarks follow outrage by Vietnamese and many in the Asian American community to his column.
He says his remarks about the diet are based on observation and talking to people.
” I know this is not a universal habit nationwide, but I know what I saw with my own eyes from the people I spoke to. I was traveling with some others, and we all remarked on the dearth of wildlife, said Brinkley to Tuoi Tre News.
About his remarks that the diet makes the country aggressive he said, “That was badly phrased, and I am sorry for that. Meat does not make you aggressive all by itself. But Vietnam’s diet does make people more robust than their counterparts in neighboring states. I know because I’ve spent a great deal of time in Cambodia, and some in Laos. I just published a book about Cambodia and spent many months traveling around that country, meeting and interviewing people. I’ve also spent some time doing the same in Laos.”
A petition on change.org is calling for the firing of the Stanford professor. Tribune pulled the sydicated column and later said the piece “did not meet our journalistic standards”
The Asian American Journalists Association also joined the chorus of criticism and applauded Tribune for its response.