CNN has developed a reputation for finding offense around every corner, but the liberal network was mocked on Wednesday for taking it a step further and declaring certain text fonts "communicating Asianness" can be racist.
"CNN has reached the epitome of 'we're out of stuff to pretend to be outraged by this week for clicks' if they're surmising which fonts are racist," political satirist Tim Young told Fox News.
A font, defined as a set of type or characters all of one style, can "perpetuate problematic stereotypes," according to CNN. The network’s verified Twitter account wrote, "For years, the West has relied on so-called ‘chop suey’ fonts to communicate ‘Asianness’ in food packaging, posters and ad campaigns. But such fonts perpetuate problematic stereotypes," to accompany a report examining the theory.
"This piece leaves me with more questions than virtue signals," Young said. "Which fonts belong to which demographics? Does this mean Times New Roman is a Caucasian font? Is the old typewriter font for elderly people? Are there straight and gay fonts or fonts based on the 54 genders? I need to know. I'm so confused at this point."
The report, "Karate, Wonton, Chow Fun: The end of 'chop suey' fonts," urges readers to close their eyes and imagine the font they’d use to depict the word "Chinese."
"There's a good chance you pictured letters made from the swingy, wedge-shaped strokes you've seen on restaurant signs, menus, take-away boxes and kung-fu movie posters. These ‘chop suey fonts,’ as American historian Paul Shaw calls them, have been a typographical shortcut for ‘Asianness’ for decades," reporter Anne Quito wrote.
Quito then explored the history of the fonts and how they have evolved.
"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," she wrote before struggling to find examples of White politicians using the fonts.
The author wrote, "White politicians, meanwhile, have been using chop suey fonts to stoke xenophobia for over a century," but only listed two examples from the past 144 years.
CNN then evoked Nazis, noting that in 19th-century Germany the Fraktur font "was considered as an expression of nationalism" and was eventually banned. Buried deep in the lengthy report is a tidbit that Chinese immigrants have actually used the font that irks CNN.
"It's worth noting that, in 1930s America, some Chinese immigrants themselves used chop suey fonts on their restaurant signs, menus, and advertisements, as a way to heighten the exotic appeal of their establishments," Quito wrote.
Many who read the article didn't agree with the notion.
"Proclaiming a mundane item ‘racist’ is a 'he who smelt it, dealt it' scenario where the person screaming ‘racist’ ultimately is the racist," Young said.
Others took to Twitter with feedback: