This is something for the Angry Asian Man to get upset about.
Deadspin’s post “China Wants To Make Sure Its Citizens Know How To Cheer” features the above picture of former figure skater Michelle Kwan with a group of Chinese people. What’s the problem, you ask? Well, besides not mentioning her in the post, the photo implies Kwan is not an American but a Chinese national. Well, Kwan is an American who was born and raised in California. She’s as American as Harold and Kumar.
This brings to mind the controversy that surrounded her during the 1998 and 2002 Olympics. In 1998 msnbc.com published the headline “American Beats Out Kwan” and had to apologize after a hailstorm of criticism. Trust me, it still gnaws at them for making that kind of mistake. In 2002 the Seattle Times made a similar snafu (pretty ironic if you clicked on the previous link). In each case, Asian-American groups unleashed their dragon fury, demanding apologies. They got them.
So what about Deadspin? Should AAJA be sending a letter to Gawker’s gilded offices? Should Asian-Americans be foaming at the mouths at yet another injustice? Or is Deadspin exempt because, well, they’re a blog?
Honestly, I don’t have an answer. Am I upset? A little. But have I chuckled at inappropriate or sexist or bawdy jokes on Deadspin? Of course. Does that make me a hypocrite? Perhaps.
I think Deadspin is the gold standard among sports blogs. They’ve certifiably hit the mainstream. But if blogs want to be accepted by the mainstream and the broader public, should they be subject to any standards?
Again, I don’t have an answer. Credit Will Leitch and Deadspin, though. Their names are out there and they don’t hide from their work.
One thing I do know: if another major news outlet made a mistake like that again, the Blogosphere and Asian-American advocacy groups would be all over them.