Friday, April 20, 2007

It's Not Easy Being Brown -- Unless You Can Turn it into Green

This person is in Canada, but she’s obviously learned a litigious trick or two from her American cousins to the south. Or maybe she copied this move by reading the CAIR playbook, which uses this tactic monotonously:

TORONTO — Doris Moore was shocked when her new couch was delivered to her home with a label that used a racial slur to describe the dark brown shade of the upholstery

The situation was even more alarming for Moore because it was her 7-year-old daughter who pointed out “n——- brown” on the tag.

“My daughter saw the label and she knew the color brown, but didn’t know what the other word meant. She asked, ‘Mommy, what color is that?’ I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say. I never thought that’s how she’d learn of that word,” Moore said.

The mother complained to the furniture store, which blamed the supplier, who pointed to a computer problem as the source of the derogatory label.

Kingsoft Corp., a Chinese software company, acknowledged its translation program was at fault and said it was a regrettable error.

“I know this is a very bad word,” Huang Luoyi, a product manager for the Beijing-based company’s translation software, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

He explained that when the Chinese characters for “dark brown” are typed into an older version of its Chinese-English translation software, the offensive N-word description comes up.

“We got the definition from a Chinese-English dictionary. We’ve been using the dictionary for 10 years. Maybe the dictionary was updated, but we probably didn’t follow suit,” he said.

Moore, who is black, said Kingsoft’s acknowledgment of a mistake doesn’t make her feel better.

“They should know what they are typing, even if it is a software error,” she said. “In order for something to come into the country, don’t they read it first? Doesn’t the manufacturer? The supplier?”

Well, it shows you how insensitive I am. If a couch arrived in my house bearing the label “thick mick green” I’d cut that tag off and put it on the refrigerator as a topic of conversation.

And can’t you see it now? A new ministry in the already swollen Canadian government, one dedicated to the spotting and removal of offensive labels. But whatever will they do if the color is stamped onto the part which says “do not remove this label under penalty of law”? Now there’s a fine conundrum for you.

But Ms. Moore is not to be assuaged by anything less than extortion. Somebody asides me is gonna rue this here particular day…” And for Moore nothing less than money will salve her suffering:

Moore is consulting with a lawyer and wants compensation. Last week, she filed a report with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Commission spokeswoman Afroze Edwards said the case is in the initial stages and could take six months to two years to resolve.

Moore, 30, has three young children, and said the issue has taken a toll on her family.

“Something more has to be done. We don’t just need a personal apology, but someone needs to own up to where these labels were made, and someone needs to apologize to all people of color,” Moore said. “I had friends over from St. Lucia yesterday and they wouldn’t sit on the couch.”

Poor babies. I’ll bet they sat on the floor and said mean things to the couch.

I don’t suppose a substitute label, say something that says “Beautiful Brown” would soothe her. Nope, only the sight of fresh moola will make the pain go away. The magic power of lucre to heal the chronically offended.

Let us hope she uses the money to get therapy to help her over-wound sense of victimhood. Lord knows, she needs something to help her get past this exquisitely tuned angry martyrdom. Of course if you can turn a liability into money, well…go for it. I mean, if you can live with yourself afterwards.

The sad part of all of this is the government’s response. It makes you realize how much we need to shrink Big Brother’s overreach. Its arms have grown to ludicrously mutant proportions.

Can you shout “SCAM”?


History Snark said...

Friggin' ridiculous. Okay, it was poorly translated, but the explanation seems plausible to me. Chinese and English don't mix too well, I'm told.

And okay, it would shock me to see a product labelled as "Wop-whatever", but it's not the end of the world.

Is it worth getting jacked out of shape for? Not really. Is it worth a lawsuit? No, but in her defense, why not? If she can get free money from the government, it's tempting. It's always hard to be the one that does what's "right" rather than what's easy.

Besides, I figure once the story got out, somebody else would sue, claiming that reading about it in the newspaper caused them emotional stress.

So in the end, I think she's making a mountain out of a molehill, but if she didn't someone else would. Just the way things go when you are a perennial victim.

Dymphna said...

gt whacko --

You're a wop? I didn't know that! Kewl.

turn said...

I know that with just a little more effort Bernie could've included:

'yank' (very offensive to millions around the globe).

'bitch' (speak--woof)

Let's get some more, y'all.

Anonymous said...

This mother made sure that her child is now aware, that groups of people are very different from the rest of us. So different in fact, that words to dicribe them are not ever to be used.

By her own reaction to the whole thing, she herself did the dammage, she now blames on others.

Any normal child will come out of this thinking; there must be something seriusly wrong with a group of people that can create this kind of reaction.

Gordon Pasha said...

"But whatever will they do if the color is stamped onto the part which says “do not remove this label under penalty of law”? Now there’s a fine conundrum for you."

No problem! The Canadian govt will provide her with a lawyer and funds to launch a challenge of the "Do Not Remove Label" warning, Under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which will find that, as a member of an oppressed and under-represented group, she should not be held to obey the label. Then, she will be given a job with Canada Customs and Revenue Services, inspecting labels on imported furniture.

"Moore is consulting with a lawyer ..."

Ah. That explains it.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

I personally find "German Chocolate" and "Scotch Whiskey" and "Hop-Scotch" offensive, should I sue? Oh yeah, I am not on the list of officially approved minorities. Maybe if Scottish/German Americans as big a pain in the butt as certain other "ethnicities" we would get liberal guilt-money too.

Dymphna said...

Hey, not so fast, mr. smarterthan--

There were those greedy immigrants from Scotland who took over land Northern Ireland at the behest of the British, forcing Irish families off their farms and paying them nothing.

So don't go counting that money too quick; some of it's mine, me boy.

History Snark said...

Ah, 'tis an Englishman's dream come true: a Scotsman and an Irishwoman fighting it out.

I have a friend who's of the opinion that the "hierarchy of oppression" (I just made that up! I should copyright it) would run 1) Jews 2)Irish 3)Blacks. I would add 4)Asians and 5) Us Poles (especially those of us that are also Italian)

turn said...

I'm a white middle-aged male and I'm oppressed.

By over-taxation.

By my pc workplace.

And by having to live among people who can hustle others by proclaiming their victimhood.

Careful there, GTW! In three years there will be a "Heirarchy of Oppresion" 3 credit course at Berkeley.

What did the Scotsman do with his 1st 50 cent piece?








Dymphna said...

I can't tell you the jokes the Baron brought back with him from Denmark, but here's my favorite Irish joke:

Q: Why did God invent whiskey?

A: To keep the Irish from taking over the world.

And here's one that Richard Pryor told on his very first TV appearance (on Ed Sullivan):

Q:what do you get if you eat German and Chinese food?

A: An hour later you're hungry for power..

History Snark said...

Dymphna, you are a bad, bad girl.

Funny as hell, but in a bad way.


songdongnigh said...

This should be interesting, an Afro-Canadian suing the chicoms.

Dymphna said...

songdongnigh --

And precisely what happens after the chicoms stop ROTFLTAO?? I hope she doesn't have her greed pinned on anyone outside Canada.

I feel sorry for the poor furniture store owner. He's a nice available plum, ready to be picked.

Profitsbeard said...

I'll bet she'll feel really gyped or welshed on if she can't sue for big bucks.

As a minestrone of converging bio- pools, I'd have to get a divan that insulted more genotypes than the average tag could hold.

But we're all originally whites from Africa (check the soles), so who has time for this "corruption of Negro" / permanently-offended nonsense?

Label this in the same category as "Donkey Kong", the video game from Japan valiently trying to say Monkey Kong, and failing ludicrously.

X said...

Dymphna, the scots were originally from northern ireland. They were just exercising their right of return!

turn said...

So what do you call an Irishman who stays out all night?








Paddy O'Furniture!

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

It's funny, white christian types obviously have a sense of humor. We can tease each other, and watch south park without having fits. So why area WE the ones called intolerant?

turn said...

Because the intolerant mindset has no sense of humor.

I could do a whole set of Irish jokes--but if I throw an urban joke I'm a bigot.

Didja hear about the Dubliner that saw a billboard that read "DRINK CANADA DRY"









Dymphna said...

A reader reminded me of the brouhaha caused by translating the Pepsi slogan (from Bobo on lgf)

Maybe this label is payback to us.

After all, I never heard that Pepsi repaid all those Chinese they offended. Remember the old problem Pepsi had with the translation of "Your the Pepsi generation"? It translated to "Your ancestors will haunt you about Pepsi". Now that is a much worse embarrassment."


Actually, bobo, that *might* have been offensive considering the respect the Chinese have for their ancestors...

They probably assumed that the all-too-scrutable Americans were idiots. Or someone over there pulled a fast one on Pepsi.

Somehow, though, I don't recall the Chinese taking to the streets and burning the American flag, or rioting. Funny that...

BTW, given the slave labor conditions in Chinese manufacturing, this brown woman has no sensitivity at all.

Dymphna said...

I really like those Irish drinking jokes, guys.

If you ever saw my family tree, you'd notice the bodies piled around the many of them fell off their branch in a drunken stupor.

In fact, me grandpa was recalled from his post as plentipotentiary to the Dominican Republic because when the new English counterpart appeared at the consulate grandda was three sheets to the wind and received His Majesty's representative wearing only his striped trousers, suspenders, and undershirt. I never did hear tell if he had taken the rest of his morning suit off or had failed to put it on to begin with. I believe he was wearing shoes, however...