Diversity on newspaper staffs and in advertising agencies is a real problem. Sometimes, respected publications like The New York Times, or big brands like Dove, miscalculate the message they're trying to send in offend a lot of people with their photos or commercials.
That's exactly what happened when The New York Times recently posted a photo of a spread from a new restaurant. Many Asian Americans called them out for the placement of the chopsticks in the photo, which was culturally insensitive.
The article was about Jade Sixty, a new fusion restaurant that would feature both New York steaks and Asian items.
was that chopsticks placement also 'inspired by asia' 👀 https://t.co/xG4ixOsOd3— wilfred chan (@wilfred chan)1514404140.0
For those who aren't aware, there is proper chopstick etiquette, and that picture...well, it's not correct.
@wilfredchan @nytfood Food stylist doesn’t understand “chopstick placement”… proper do’s and don’t’s. Photo is “bad luck.”— IamLinda👩🏻💻 (@IamLinda👩🏻💻)1514427131.0
And so when you place chopsticks like The New York Times did in that photo, you get questions like this:
@wilfredchan @nytfood Who died— Scorpio Pats (@Scorpio Pats)1514404945.0
There's just so much about this photo that doesn't compute.The newspaper got so much backlash in such a short amount of time. It would really be as simple as asking an Asian-American person what the best practices are before posting that photo. Or better yet: Hiring them to write the article and take the photo.
Many pointed out that not only was the photo culturally insensitive, but it was also just super impractical:We're having trouble with the concept of eating a giant steak with chopsticks, which means maybe this isn't such a good idea for a restaurant. The jokes, well, they just kept on coming...
This is what you would call a "funny haha":Ah yes, the traditional Asian meat catapult. Wouldn't be able to eat steak any other way.
The New York Times stuck chopsticks willy-nilly all over this photo, but they didn't fully commit to the bit.
@wilfredchan @nytfood No chopsticks in the beer? Totally inauthentic.— Dark Laughter (@Dark Laughter)1514424496.0
It turns out that Chan's commentary actually had an effect. They changed the picture:
lmao they changed it https://t.co/cgwDztfgCT— wilfred chan (@wilfred chan)1514506203.0
Wilfred Chan has been a champion for months now, calling the Times out on their cultural insensitivity left and right.
this is not activism this is unpaid copyediting @nytimes where's my check https://t.co/3QRvCoF3PZ— wilfred chan (@wilfred chan)1514506586.0
Anyway, in conclusion:
hire goddamn journalists of color.— wilfred chan (@wilfred chan)1514506771.0