With the slut-shaming, front-page New York Post pic of Greg Kelly’s rape accuser — which we’re not linking to because the tab’s treatment of sexual violence has been plain. fucking. wrong. — it seemed like there might not be enough room in today’s news cycle for more cringe-inducing coverage. Of anything.
But Runnin’ Scared has just been surprised by this recent gem from Gothamist: “Video: Chinese Dad Makes Nearly-Naked Son Exercise On Snowy NYC Street.”
The “Eagle dad” responsible for this fatherly fuck-up is trying to make his son man up, but what being Chinese has to do with this — and why making specific mention of being Chinese in a headline is appropriate — remains unclear.
The Post also has a seemingly sinophobic headline: “Chinese father forces nearly-naked son to run around freezing NYC” as does the Daily News “Chinese dad made his 4-year-old son exercise in the snow while dressed only in undies — to make the child man up.”
The subhed then reads: “Video goes viral and ignites a fresh debate over China’s tough parenting style.” Sigh.
Props to Business Insider for playing this right: “‘Eagle Dad’ Trains His 4-Year-Old Son Running Naked In The Snow.”
This comes as no shock, really, since American culture has an undying love of Chinese-parenting stereotypes, as demonstrated by the interest and outcry over Amy Chua’s Wall Street Journal op-ed (and the comments).
But that’s no excuse for media outlets to buy into them — and play off of racism-rooted beliefs for clicks. This might be different if the stories thoughtfully explored cultural differences in parenting techniques, but they don’t, so making ‘being Chinese’ the main focus adds nothing to the story. Mention his nationality at some point later in the story if it’s relevant, sure, but the headline — that’s beyond iffy.
Imagine: if the vid featured a white/black/latino/Jewish/Muslim/etc. parent fucking up — and the parental misbehavior had nothing to do with the parent’s race or ethnicity or religion, or nationality or whatever — we wouldn’t think twice about calling out these outlets on soft bigotry. And we shouldn’t: bad parents can come from all walks of life.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.