Regarding the Dec. 15 AP article from Savannah, Ga., “Ford dealer hits Japan cars as ‘rice ready, not road ready’ “: The “rice ready” comment is more a sign of frustration and a tacit admission that Japanese brands are competitive with and arguably superior to Fords. Fords are fine cars in their own right, but the Japanese makes are widely considered and have been proven to be of higher quality and more desirable to many people in the United States and throughout the world. Frequently they are superior in design and quality.
Hundreds of thousands of American citizens build and sell “Japanese” cars from American factories every day. In fact, Nissan has a factory in Smyrna, Tenn. — not terribly far from this intrepid salesman. Most Americans I know, myself included, highly regard Japanese brands and don’t necessarily consider them any more or less foreign than Ford in our daily lives. There are completely “domestic” Nissans and Subarus as well as completely “foreign” Fords around me in daily traffic.
We should not view the usage of “rice” as racist as it is closer to English conversational slang referring to something from an East or Southeast Asian country, not the people. Also, the term isn’t necessarily derogatory as it’s used with some humor and affection for “rice rockets” (fast Japanese motorcycles), “ricers” (hot-rod Japanese/Korean car or the driver of said car), along with other automotive references.
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