In a bizarre op-ed published Thursday, a writer for CNN suggested that certain fonts can perpetuate racism.
The piece by Anne Quito, titled “Karate, Wonton, Chow Fun: The End of ‘Chop Suey’ Fonts,” ridiculously asserts that fonts used to communicate “Asaianness” perpetuate negative stereotypes.
“Type designers in the West have since cooked up many of their own versions of chop suey. Variations on the font are commercially distributed as Wonton, Peking, Buddha, Ginko, Jing Jing, Kanban, Shanghai, China Doll, Fantan, Martial Arts, Rice Bowl, Sunamy, Karate, Chow Fun, Chu Ching San JNL, Ching Chang and Chang Chang,” the report said. “It’s hard not to cringe at the Chinese stereotypes bundled up with each font package — especially when seen through the lens of today’s heightened vigilance toward discrimination and systemic racism. Critics believe that using chop suey typefaces is downright racist, particularly when deployed by non-Asian creators.”
Quito’s argument continues for several paragraphs. She then later asserted that these fonts have been used by politicians to perpetuate racism but, as Fox News rightly noted, she cited just “two examples from the past 144 years.”
Later, Quito admits that Chinese immigrants themselves have regularly employed the font on their own businesses.
“It’s worth noting that, in 1930s America, some Chinese immigrants themselves used chop suey fonts on their restaurant signs, menus, and advertisements, as a way to heighten the exotic appeal of their establishments,” Quito wrote.
For years, the West has relied on so-called "chop suey" fonts to communicate "Asianness" in food packaging, posters and ad campaigns. But such fonts perpetuate problematic stereotypes. https://t.co/w85xSXp0iN
— CNN (@CNN) April 7, 2021
It should be noted that Gothic fonts have regularly been deployed to portray European cultures since settlers first came to American shores.
“CNN has reached the epitome of ‘we’re out of stuff to pretend to be outraged by this week for clicks’ if they’re surmising which fonts are racist,” political satirist Tim Young told Fox News.
“This piece leaves me with more questions than virtue signals,” Young said. “Which fonts belong to which demographics? Does this mean Times New Roman is a Caucasian font? Is the old typewriter font for elderly people? Are there straight and gay fonts or fonts based on the 54 genders? I need to know. I’m so confused at this point.”
People on Twitter roasted CNN for asserting that a cultural font can somehow perpetuate racism.
“Oh my God. Do people not have better things to do than find things to cancel? How are people going to personify fonts like this?!?? WHO CARES” tweeted one user.
Oh my God. Do people not have better things to do than find things to cancel? How are people going to personify fonts like this?!?? WHO CARES https://t.co/qQXfF16FBt
— Shana Nokham Vick (@urshulashana) April 8, 2021
“This is dumb. Stop looking for ways to divide people. Typography is a communication tool, and in the vast majority of instances this is well-intentioned and informative,” tweeted another user.
This is dumb. Stop looking for ways to divide people. Typography is a communication tool, and in the vast majority of instances this is well-intentioned and informative. https://t.co/skrK1Z3VhB
— Matt Swaim (@mattswami) April 8, 2021
“Does racist even mean anything anymore? It used to be reserved for nasty people. Now it’s a marketing tool,” tweeted another.
Does racist even mean anything anymore? It used to be reserved for nasty people. Now it’s a marketing tool. https://t.co/T4XuLctkVS
— Joe Eisenmann (@thehumanashtray) April 7, 2021
“Just stop it! You all have absolutely zero problems stereotyping middle Americans as rednecks and hillbillies,” tweeted another.
Just stop it! You all have absolutely zero problems stereotyping middle Americans as rednecks and hillbillies. https://t.co/u2fTE8ljPB
— Liberty 🗽 Bella (@DreamWeaver61) April 8, 2021
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