HomeBlogsBlog: No Apology Yet From Wall Street Journal for Racial Slur Reference

Blog: No Apology Yet From Wall Street Journal for Racial Slur Reference

Xi Jingping
“Xi Jinping Mexico2013” by Angélica Rivera de Peña – Licensed via Wikimedia Commons

By Shirley N Lew
AsAmNews New York Correspondent

When a tweet from The Wall Street Journal late Sunday included a racial slur toward Asians and a photo of China’s General Secretary Xi Jinping, it looked pretty bad. WSJ later removed the tweet with an explanation that was not acceptable to many twitter followers.

As of now, still no apology from WSJ.

Although “chink in the armor” is considered a common idiom, it simply hasn’t been used in the original context in a very long time because the “c” word is derogatory.

Emil Guillermo, award winning journalist an activist tells AsAmNews: “I’m surprised that WSJ’s copy desk isn’t more sophisticated enough to stop that kind of slur. Is it really such a common idiom? When was the last time you saw anyone in a suit of armor with a blemish? Even if it were more common, the coincidence of using it to describe a situation involving an Asian person (let alone the Chinese General Secretary) compounds the problem. The writer was too clever by half. And now WSJ should suspend or fire the writer and go back and revise its “Style Book,” under cliches we can no longer use without care.”

He added that the paper should issue an apology.

Some tweeters supported WSJ:

This latest incident reminds us of the ESPN editor Anthony Federico.  Three years ago he used the same expression on Jeremy Lin. It caused a huge uproar even though Federico said it was an honest mistake, he was fired.

“I am appalled that a respectable publication like the Wall Street Journal would use the offensive term ‘chink in [the] armor’ to refer to Chinese President Xi Jinping, said Rep Judy Chu (D-CA), chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.  The ‘c’ word is to Asian Americans what the ‘n’ word is to African Americans, and the use of this racial slur is deeply troubling. This word was used in the 1880s to demean Chinese Americans and is still used today as a slur to degrade and humiliate Asian Americans.
“Although the WSJ has since removed the tweet, I still find it disturbing that the slur was used in the first place. I urge the WSJ and other publications to ensure that such racially insensitive sentiments are not tolerated within their organizations.”

Ron Wong, president of Imprenta Communications Group in CA gave his reaction to AsAmNews.

“This hurtful racial slur has no place in the American vernacular. A premier publication like the Wall Street Journal, which regularly covers both Asian Americans and Asian markets, should know better than to use such offensive language. ”

Another reaction came late today from Media Watch Committee of the Asian American Journalists Association.

“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,” Media Watch said in a statement.

“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.”

Whether WSJ apologizes or not remains to be unseen at this moment.

Share your thoughts with us here and with @shirleycnj.


(This post has been corrected to attribute the AAJA quote to its Media Watch Committee and to correct Federico’s former position with ESPN)




  1. RE: No apology yet from Wall Street Journal for racial tweet: So…….this would be interesting to have Jeff Yang comment on the tweet. As you know, Jeff Yang is at least a prominent contributor, if not staff writer of the WSJ.

    It puts him in a not so envious, yet powerful, yet awkward position to either make a public comment about his employer with potential negative consequences (no retaliation?) or at least speak up privately to the leadership of the WSJ of the offense taken by the Asian-American community.

    I don’t know if the tweeter needs to be fired, but an apology and removal of the term to be used AT ALL in the future would resolve this issue and also allow everyone to save some face.

  2. RE: No apology yet from Wall Street Journal for racial tweet: Its disappointing that this comes out in 2015… In WSJ…. To the general secretary…. This journalist should be fired or at least suspended. They talk badly about Asians yet they rely on Asians for so much. Look at the stock market this past week as just one of many examples. China is next big power in the world if it has not already and they know it…

  3. RE: No apology yet from Wall Street Journal for racial slur reference: The Wall Street Journal has paid staff who use words for a living. Any one working for such a business would pass their writing through at least one copy editor. and all of them are aware of all the meanings of words. And this word, in context is most definitely being used as a slur. Them pretending it isn’t is cowardly.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Worth the Time

Must Read

Regular Features


Discover more from AsAmNews

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading