New York Times faces pushback for calling Asian Americans ‘overrepresented’ in figure skating
The New York Times sparked a social media backlash for a tweet stating that Asian Americans are “grossly overrepresented” in figure skating.
“Asians make up approximately 7% of the US population but have become grossly overrepresented in rinks and competitions at all levels, coast to coast,” the newspaper’s tweet said on Wednesday. “Gradually they transformed a sport that until the 1990s was almost uniformly white.”
The description sparked outrage from those who accused the newspaper of using a ‘loaded term’ to suggest there are too many Asian Americans in the sport, citing the context of rising crime hatred and legal battles over alleged efforts to limit admissions of Asian-Americans to elite colleges and high schools.
“For 2 years we have felt explicit racism against Asians,” tweeted Asra Q. Nomani, Parents Defending Education vice president for strategy. “We are “overrepresented” at Stuyvesant HS. Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology. Lowell HS. Now we are “grossly overrepresented” in ice skating?! @deanbaquet the anti-Asian bigotry at the NYT needs to stop.
Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, tweeted: “Liberals embrace racism, especially against Asian Americans. The NYT complains that Asians are “overrepresented” in ice skating.”
Los Angeles comedian Jenny Yang tweeted, “Just because ‘overrepresentation’ is a statistical term doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for social media headlines. you should know that “overrepresented” is ALSO a very loaded term when used to describe a “minority” population, right @nytimes? »
“Overrepresented” Why do I hear this word of @New YorkTimes all the time referring to Asians? https://t.co/281D1OXbeH
— Kenny Xu (@kennymxu) February 11, 2022
The article, “The Asian American Figure Skating Pipeline,” appeared shortly before American-born athlete Nathan Chen won gold in men’s figure skating at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. His parents immigrated from China.
New York Times sportswriter Andrew Keh, who wrote the piece, responded that “overrepresented” was not intended to convey any sort of “judgement”.
“I used the word after hearing [it] in conversation with several Asian American sociologists,” Keh tweeted. “It literally just means that the turnout is clearly disproportionate to the demographic statistic quoted in the same sentence. There is no judgment built into this.
Disagreeing was author and attorney for sexual assault survivor Evelyn Yang, who is married to Democratic politician and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
“Judgment IS built in,” Ms. Yang tweeted. “I know it wasn’t ill-intentioned, but ‘over-represented’ is the wrong choice of words here and harmful as it suggests there should be a ceiling to our achievements (i.e. in universities ) and that any quota-defying presence is alarming or undesirable.”
Among the satirical takes that followed was a tweet from New York State School Superintendent Joel M. Petlin, who said, “Woke reporters *have become grossly overrepresented* at @nytimes.”
“Little by little, they transformed a profession that until recently was almost uniformly dominated by journalists who did not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion,” Petlin joked. .
Others questioned whether the NYT would ever make such a statement about other minority groups whose stake in a business exceeds their percentage of the population.
“Imagine if the @nytimes wrote an article saying ‘Black people make up about 14% of the US population but have become grossly overrepresented in the @NFL & @NBA coast to coast. Gradually they have…,” tweeted Curtis S. Chin, former US Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank. “And yet the #NYTimes tweets this.”
The Asian American Project tweeted: “WOW – just WOW. We challenge anyone to find a tweet or an article from the NY Times stating that black people are “overrepresented” in the @NBA or @NFL. NYT leadership must deepen the pervasive #AntiAsianRacism among its reporters and “progressive” thinkers.