Whoa.

Short summary:  Christian publisher Zondervan released a book full of Asian stereotypes.  You know, the “Asian font,” the ninjas, the bamboo, Japanese gardens, kimono, random Chinese characters, etc.  Plus the website promoting the book used an old martial arts movie in which the speech was dubbed in the white people’s racist conception of how Asians talk.

You can read more about the book here.  It’s also still available on Amazon, bonus points for those of you who can read all the characters.

Now Zondervan has agreed to pull the book.  You can read its statement on Prof. Soong-Chan Rah’s blog.  Zondervan notes that Stan Gundry has been named editor-in-chief, and “will be responsible for making the necessary changes at Zondervan to prevent editorial mistakes like this going forward.”

So that  begs two questions:

Who was responsible for making this mistake?  How many people were supposed to have editorial input and never questioned the material? Who was previously responsible for issues of race and racism?

Why is Stan Gundry (who appears to be an old white guy) now given this responsibility?

Okay, that’s more than two questions.  But Zondervan has been through this before with its “Herro, Dis is Wok’s Up Restaurant” skit.  And then there is the ongoing disgust-a-rama written by Camy Tang.

So no, I don’t give them a lot of praise for pulling the book.  Because it’s clear there must be a fundamental lack of diversity within the company.  A lack of understanding about racism and orientalism.  As well as a lack of ability to address the issue on an ongoing basis, and viewing it as a product of institutional racism.

 

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