Vermont paper defends ‘Fry Rice’ poster

“We meant no offense to any individual or group” by publishing a “Fry Rice” poster in support of a local basketball team, the Caledonian-Record says in a Saturday editorial. “Our only regret is that the poster drew attention away from the terrific kids it was intended to support. There’s obviously no accounting for taste, but next year we might try, “Cook Rice.”

(Credit: Paul Lamontagne)

(Credit: Paul Lamontagne)

The editorial also says:

There is nothing about fried rice, or the font, that refers to a trait or capacity of Chinese-Americans. We certainly aren’t pointing to any broader cultural implications of those who have rice as a dietary staple (which, incidentally, includes just about everyone).

We think a fair accusation of racism would at least pre-require the reference to actually be demeaning or degrading. Simply invoking ethnic customs (food, dress, design) doesn’t do that, nor does it suggest any kind of characteristic about the culture, its people or a history of oppression by the majority.

Asian American Journalists Association president Paul Cheung tells the Associated Press that the editorial misses the point and that the paper showed “a lapse of judgment and poor taste.” Its poster, he says, “evoked a racial undertone and a negative stereotype.”

Cheung told the paper on Thursday that its slogan “became offensive when published in a typeface mimicking Chinese calligraphy.”

* Paper defends “Fry Rice” sign supporting team (

Earlier on
* Editor says the newsroom wasn’t responsible for the poster
* Asian journalists want the paper to acknowledge a lapse in judgment