People Are Very Unhappy With This Headline About Yao Ming That Uses a Racial Slur


There's a story up on the Washington Post right now called, "How Yao Ming subverted stereotypes and brought basketball to millions." 

This was not its original headline. Before a wave of Twitter backlash prompted a revision, the original title looked like this:

Angry Asian Man

To quote Walter Sobchak:


As likely could have been predicted, use of the racial slur "Chinaman" in a major newspaper headline rubbed some folks the wrong way.

America wanted answers.

For what it's worth, the piece that followed was a thoughtful and notably nonracist look at the influence Ming had on the NBA and his home country of China.

On the eve of the former Houston Rockets center's Basketball Hall of Fame selection, a survey of Ming's career and the challenges he faced — including a 2004 incident where then-announcer and current Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr referred to him as a "Chinaman" during a broadcast — were certainly in order.

But critics argued the term's use in the headline was in poor taste. "Chinaman" derives from the mid-1800s in the U.S., when fear of Chinese immigrant influence on the labor force sparked a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment, policy and propaganda, according to Jenn Fang at the Asian American culture site Reappropriate.

Context is key, and it's apparent the Post meant to highlight the various ways Ming countered this derogatory term. But its necessity in the headline remained suspect for many — with the takeaway being something along the lines of, "Please, just don't. Thanks."

h/t Angry Asian Man