Is mentioning the race of this person racist?

Hi, all!

I’m looking to glean some insights from our lovely readers again, to help improve our editorial processes.

I recently received a complaint about this story:

The complaint focused on the opening sentence of the story, which specifies the race of the owner:

I work at a buffet. The owner is a crusty old Chinese man who allows us to not give any f**s when dealing with problem customers.

Was it racist to keep the racial descriptor in this story?

We usually remove any negative racial stereotypes from our stories (if we decide to run them from those OPs at all - some can be problematic!) but if their inclusion doesn’t reinforce a negative stereotype and is included to add more authentic imagery to the story then we usually keep it in.

In this instance, we could have removed the racial descriptor because it wasn’t directly relevant to the story, but we also didn’t see it as being harmful being left in. Were we wrong in this instance? What do you think?

Happy to receive your comments!

I, for one, say it’s not racist at all. Sure, it’s not a needed bit of info, but doesn’t generalize anything to all the Chinese, either.
Honestly, if someone says this is racist, we could say it’s ageist and sexist as well because it says he’s an old Chinese man.


Not racist. Sometimes these descriptions are useful as it could help someone picture the kind of buffet if they’ve not been to one before.


Did the complaint provide any context about why mentioning the man’s ethnicity could be racist? My gut reaction is that it’s an unnecessary but not racist detail, however, I’m wondering if there is a stereotype of some sort that I’m not familiar with or seeing here.

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I think calling it racist is somewhat racist in an absurd way. The reader who complained reflects his/her own views.

Would this reaction have been triggered by another nationality? I doubt anyone would bat an eye at "a crusty old Norwegian man


I don’t think this is racist in this context. But sometimes I wish some stories would tell us if a person in the story was white or not. Like the story where (Warehouse manager) was shopping for his large family and unknown to him the store’s new manager and secuirty guard were following him because they believed that he was going to steal something- due to the fact that the store had a theft problem which had people hiding a high-end good underneath a bunch of other stuff. And the store manager didn’t know about him being the warehouse manager until the OP pointed out to him.

I just assumed because of how I have heard about how community of black and brown people are treated by others (Stores, schools, resturants, work, and police) that the warehouse manager was black/brown

And if calling a white woman racist- does that mean its racist to use black/brown in the “Sex slave story” the “kidnap(menu)” stories, “need to call out racism on the carpert” story (a salemans didn’t want to sell to African-American because they believed he was poor but turned out he was an sports player) and some others like the “Might as well thrown in some mac and cheese fo finish it off”

I think that only in a case like the Fillpino story where OP’s white skin hints at their Spanish ancestcy might skin colour might need to be mentioned

Chinese is a race ? I thought it was a nationality :wink:


Its both? Its also because East Asians (Chinese/Japanese/Koreans) look very simliar it’s why before and after we started lockdown in 2020 that racists would yell at Japanese and Koreans for “bringing the (Chinese city) virius here” and for them to “go back to China”

Remove everything that describes the owner (age, sex), except for their attitude to difficult customers, but clarify that it’s a Chinese buffet restaurant? (If that is the case.)

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