CNN Op-Ed Suggests Fonts Are Racist - When Used By the Wrong People


Fonts are now racist.

Fonts - as in the typeface you use on your laptop to create a word document. Or, in this case, the lettering style a business uses to advertise a message or market a product.


At least, that’s according to a CNN op-ed published Wednesday, which points to what they call “chop suey lettering” having been use for decades to advertise Asian-inspired or related products like food or martial arts centers.

“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,” writes Anne Quito.

So it’s OK for Asians to use supposedly racist typeface to advertise food that isn’t actually related to the authentic cuisine you might find in an Asian country – so long as a white person doesn’t do it.

The article goes on to point to racist messaging used by various companies decades ago, like war posters stereotyping Japanese people during World War II. Interestingly, the piece seems to intentionally conflate the use of a font, which is simply a lettering style, to the actual racist content of the message itself – two completely different issues rolled into one problem for the sake of calling something “racist.” 

Quito then takes it one step further and claims many Asians, who apparently have nothing better to do with their lives than flip out over the shape of some letters on a menu (seriously, who thinks up this crap?), are "triggered" by racist fonts, writing, "For an older generation of Asian Americans, spotting the faux brushstroke lettering can trigger past traumas." 

And it's not just Asian-inspired fonts: typefaces depicting stereotypical Arab, Mexican or Indian fonts are also problematic, says Quinto.

However, Quito also writes that "it's worth noting" that Chinese and other ethnic restaurants have used certain fonts to advertise their own products, food and services - and that's either less racist, or simply not racist at all.

The list of “racist” things apparently permeating society has grown so long, it’s hard to keep up, and includes just about everything under the sun – including, math, grades, theater casting, innocuous hand gestures, iconic children’s books, poetry interpreters, Halloween costumes, words like “master bathroom,” any state rule saying a person has to show an I.D. to vote....

...and now, apparently, letters.

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