The New York Times is being taken to the woodshed on social media for using the term “overrepresented” in an article on Asians in figure skating.
“The Asian American Pipeline in Figure Skating”article appeared before US-born Team USA athlete Nathan Chen won gold in men’s figure skating at the Beijing Winter Olympics. His parents immigrated from China and he grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Times article noted Chen and other Asian American skaters were starting to dominate in a sport once exclusively white.
Sportswriter Andrew Keh, who wrote the article, claimed that “overrepresented” was not intended to convey any sort of “judgment.”
“I used the word after hearing [it] in conversation with multiple Asian American sociologists,” Keh tweeted. “It literally just means that participation is clearly disproportionate to the population stat cited in the same sentence. There’s no judgment baked into it.”
However, the wording did not exactly convey that.
“Asians make up around 7% of the U.S. population but have become vividly overrepresented in ice rinks and competitions at every level, from coast to coast,” said the media outlet. “Gradually, they have transformed a sport that, until the 1990s, was almost uniformly white.”
At a time when hate crimes againt Asian Americans are rising, the wording touched a nerve.
“For 2 years, we’ve been feeling explicit racism against Asians,” tweeted Parents Defending Education vice president for strategy Asra Q. Nomani. “We’re ‘overrepresented’ at Stuyvesant HS. Thomas Jefferson HS for Science & Technology. Lowell HS. Now we’re ‘vividly overrepresented’ in ice-skating?! @deanbaquet, the anti-Asian bigotry at the NYT must stop.”
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