Recently, the ESPN company located in Bristol, Connecticut and owned by the Walt Disney Corporation suspended a reporter named Max Bretos for 30 days for stating the following phrase on the air "If there is a Wink in the armor, where can [New York Knicks basketball star Jeremy] Lin improve his game?" Another unnamed ESPN reporter has been dismissed for posting the following online blog headline "Wink In The Armor" on their mobile service devices. Reasons given for these swift moves stem from racial insensitivity toward people of Taiwanese decent. Is this abrupt move on the part of ESPN political correctness gone amok?
The phrase "Wink in the armor" goes all the way back to the Middle Ages & the Crusades historically speaking when knights wore armor to fight in battle on horseback like King Arther & the Knights of the Roundtable. Javelin contests were frequently held in towns & villages to show a knight's prowess, expertise, & strength. "Wink in the armor" as a phrase refers to your overall weaknesses as a knight or athlete not a derogatory statement of racial bias or inferiority in that reporter's context. Mr. Bretos did not say that Jeremy Lin plays pretty good for a _________________. That would be racially insensitive & worthy of a suspension or employee firing.
Yes, we all know red flag racist terms that cannot be used in public discourse in any situation i.e. the N word when referring to African Americans, the K word when referring to people of Jewish descent, & the word "NAZI" or "S.S. Officer"in a humorous context given the horrific nature of the Holocaust & mass genocide in Europe during the Second World War. A person must be weary of taking a statement out of context. Is that Taiwanese C term always a bigoted, racially insensitive term regardless of the way in which that term is used? If we start eliminating words & phrases based on any & all arrangements of them, sooner or later no open lines of communication will exist among all segments of society & malicious, unfounded stereotypes will continue to spread like wildfire. People from all walks of life will be afraid to express any emotions or beliefs for fear that somebody might get offended & you end up getting fired from your job as a result of it. I guess what I'm saying is all cultures must have a comfort zone with one another to discover & pinpoint what terms are off limits at any & all costs. Firing an ESPN employee & suspending another one does nothing to solve racial relations among cultures; it brushes the problem under the rug which helps no one.
How do people of Chinese heritage feel about this controversy? Korean heritage? Pilipino heritage? Taiwanese heritage? Japanese heritage? I don't know...I'm asking. Was firing 1 reporter & putting another one a 1 month leave without pay appropriate? How we use language in public is very crucial no doubt, but an overzealous reaction to a very racially charged perception of a statement is equally as dangerous as well.
I have no concrete answers here other than to promote the importance of equal comfort zones among all cultures. We must all strive for an open dialog to ask difficult questions in an attempt to build cultural bridges among people not burn them down to the ground for good.
Has society gotten to the point where every race & culture needs to pass out & exchange a book of words & phrases we can no longer say to one another anymore? What's considered offensive language in one culture may not be seen that way in another culture. Firing people outright does not seal, solve, or solidify this country's racial divide; it only exasperates it & makes it much much worse. Has racial sensitivity been taken a tad bit off the deep end here? Speak openly & honestly about race & find out why a specific culture may find a word or phrase harmful, dangerous, & offensive please. Take the time to learn, respect, & know about a people, place, & location different from your own. Never be afraid to step outside one's familiar comfort zone. You will be a better person for it.