No, “Chop Suey Fonts” Are Not Racist

This dispatch from The Great Stupid raises the question, “How stupid can the Great Stupid get before a critical mass of the public says, “Hey! This stuff is stupid!“? But we will leave that one for another day.

It also raises the question, “How does one correctly regard what CNN says and publishes?” We know now that the network cares not a whit about journalism, nor facts, nor objective analysis, not integrity. So when it comes out with something like this idiocy, complaining about “racist fonts,” what is the ethical response? It’s click-bait, so there is no way to determine whether anyone, even the author, believes what the article says. If the author does believe it, he or she (it’s a she this time) is obviously a victim of the dreaded “political correctness ate my brain” pandemic, so why pay any more attention to what she writes about fonts than if she had ranted on about Republican beetle larvae burrowing into her brain?

Musing about this article, Matt Margolies says, “The question of whether fonts can actually be racist is obviously a sign that true, legitimate racism is so hard to find that we actually have to make everything inherently racist just to have something to complain about.” Well, yes, except that the Left is in the process of re-defining racism to mean “anything said or done in America or by Americans, unless it is said or done by an African American or another Perpetual Victim of Color (PVC).”

Ann Quito, the author, argues that type fonts that attempt to evoke or reference another culture or locale like this…

and, though she doesn’t mention it, this (African)…

..and surely this (Hebrew)…

and if anybody cared about what they thought, this…

Then there’s this one, of course,

and the “Mexican” font:

…smack of racism. To be fair, the article never exactly says the fonts are racist or objectively offensive, though it does have this classic junk:

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. White politicians, meanwhile, have been using chop suey fonts to stoke xenophobia for over a century.

Translation: “When the news media and race-baiters are trying to manufacture a narrative about a contrived wave of anti-Asian hate that just isn’t there, a simple lettering design becomes ‘racist’ so whites can be tarred for using it. And if a typeface was used to convey racist sentiments in the past, that makes the design racist by association.”

This is the best she can come up with. Type fonts are art, and the curves of brush strokes can’t convey hate, or bigotry, or anything else, by themselves The argument that such fonts are racist when whites use them but fine when Asians use them is the ridiculous “cultural appropriation” gotcha, which deserves only mockery.

Wait, are Asians insulting ME when they use this font?

No? Then shut up, Ann. As the saying goes, if you’re the only one hearing the dog whistle, you’re the dog.

Amidst an impressive amount of jargon and Authentic Frontier Gibberish ( “We need to democratize the education of type design across different ethnic and economic, socioeconomic backgrounds,” Rickner said…”The right way forward is to have bilingual, trilingual, even multilingual typography…”) the best the author can come up with to explain why so-called “chop suey” fonts are racist is that they were used in racist propaganda, like this…

By this logic, the fonts used in racist anti-civil rights posters in the Fifties and Sixties is racist.

My theory is that these kind of articles are part of the campaign to make everyone hypersensitive and promote dread that anything and everything is racist or may be seen as “racially insensitive,” leading to shunning, social media bullying, boycotts and “cancelling.” Thus Americans will be conditioned to await official instructions regarding what kind of speech, jokes, expression, opinions, and, yes, even fonts are “permitted.”

Here is my verdict on the various “chop suey fonts.” They aren’t racist. They’re boring. They are such cliches. The same applies to the fake Jewish-sounding music every time a rabbi appears on a TV show, or the stereotypical American Indian tom-toms that always accompany the Indians in John Ford moves, or gongs sounding when Chinese characters appear, or the male Russian choruses in movies like “The Hunt for the Red October,’ or the inevitable bouzouki heard if a Greek shows up.

We should be offended by the laziness and lack of imagination.

8 thoughts on “No, “Chop Suey Fonts” Are Not Racist

  1. Jack…
    I forgot to mention early, and want to recognize it because you originally bought my attention to it…

    Happy Jackie Robinson Day.


  2. White people are also now being told that they can’t listen to/enjoy artistic works by different cultures, i.e. Michael Jackson’s music belongs to black people alone. Next it’ll be salsa dancing for the Latinx community only, Bollywood movies for Indians alone, specific martial arts only for those of Asian descent, certain foods only to be consumed by the ethnicity that created it, etc.. It’ll go on endlessly, ridiculously. I feel as though there is more division now than ever before. When did cultural appreciation become cultural appropriation? What happened to tolerance? Oh right…when everyone finally began to accept, respect, and embrace all things different from them, we were called racist. Right. That makes so much sense. Not.

  3. Some can make a claim that WW2 was a race war especially in the Pacific. However, at that time the Chinese were our allies, so this crap about chop suey fonts really doesn’t fly. Ask any old survivor of the Bataan Death March or Aussies/Brits/Malays forced to build the death railway in Malaya and Thailand if these caricatures of Japanese soldiers were justified and you will likely get a resounding yes!

  4. Meanwhile, as we were distracted, the federal government, in its last Covid package, is paying off 120% of the ethnic underprivileged loans at the USDA… so that’s interesting… Any bets on if it will move past the USDA? Into HUD, perhaps, or student loans? Now they are talking about interest free loans to ethnically disadvantaged beginning farmers. Now there was some discrimination that happened, however, I’ve seen no mention of proving they were disadvantaged at anytime. There’s a widespread presumption of disadvantage, even if they were not.

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