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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

AsianWeek Strikes B(l)ack!

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2008 at 9:05 AM


Looks like yours truly is a negligent hypocrite, according to local Asian Mag.

By Joe Eskenazi

Look, I thought this was pretty simple. In February of last year, AsianWeek published a column explaining why we should hate black people. And in December, they published an eye-catching cover titled “Black-Asian Love.”

Would you call that a “changeup”? I did.

But I guess it’s not so simple. Under the header “Pots Calling the Kettle Black” AW’s former Editor-in-Chief (and current "Senior Editorial Consultant") Samson Wong accuses SF Weekly and your humble narrator ...

of being a lazy, ignorant dolt:

POTS CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK: S.F. Weekly’s Joe Eskenazi was stunned by our Black-Asian love cover, erroneously claiming it was a “changeup” by AsianWeek. If he and his editor paid attention, AW covers this year have featured hapa or cultural figures with African American heritage: District Attorney Kamala Harris, Giants outfielder Dave Roberts, and LINES Ballet director Alonzo King, who meshed Shaolin martial arts with contemporary movements. Now, will S.F. Weekly show some love by featuring APAs on its own cover?

As far as putting Asian folks on the cover, Mr. Wong, your wish is my command – retroactively! Here, in fact, is our August 1, 2007 cover. Enjoy!

And believe you me, I stand by my use of the term “changeup” with Trevor Hoffman-like confidence. Putting Kamala Harris, Dave Roberts or Alonzo King on the cover of the magazine is not the same as telling us we should “love” an entire people – which is the polar opposite of what disgraced former AsianWeek columnist Kenneth Eng wrote we should do to black folks. And frankly, I’m having a hard time understanding how King’s meshing of “Shaolin martial arts with contemporary movements” somehow counters strident anti-black racism – as fascinating as the ballet sounds.

The truth of the matter is, it has never been adequately explained why the paper hired Eng in the first place and how a column like “Why I hate Blacks” found its way past the former EIC Wong and his editors and into print.

As others have noted, any editor with rudimentary Google skills should have figured out that Eng was a racist, extremely unstable and -- let’s face it -- a crap writer before hiring him. And, once Eng was on board, no one has yet explained how his remarkably appalling and badly written work sailed through editing and copy-editing and into infamy.

So, I’m surprised Wong of all people felt it wise to wade back into this subject matter, what with all the aforementioned questions and all. Nobody enjoys a ribbing, but perhaps silence would have been well-advised; as Brian Fantana put it in the movie “Anchorman”: "Take it easy, Champ. Why don't you sit this next one out, stop talking for a while?"

Illustration | Aaron Farmer

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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