• Miki, Kagawa

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In response to Ed Smith’s opinion in his Dec. 18 letter, ” ‘Rice’ remark hardly racist,” I feel that he has fully illustrated a disturbing yet unfortunately common problem with the American English vernacular: If a word or phrase in “common usage” is not deemed as racist by the user, then this same principal must apply to the rest of the world.

Unbelievably, Smith then goes on to cite even more questionable phrases, such as “rice rocket” and “ricers,” as being “humorous.” Most Japanese people in Japan, even those with a high level of English conversational ability, are probably not aware of these thinly veiled racist slang expressions. I can almost assure you that upon being presented with an explanation of these terms, most would certainly be appalled that they are considered “English conversational slang.” At least the six Japanese coworkers whom I asked were.

Just because Smith makes the distinction that using the prefix “rice” refers to something FROM an Asian country and not its people does not mean that Asian people will or should be expected to. I would invite Smith to ask the next Japanese person he meets how humorous the term “rice rocket” is. Chances are he or she won’t be laughing.

adrian goodhand

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