Some people are upset with the U.S. Army after it posted a tweet on Jan. 28 using the phrase “chinks in armor.”
The tweet in question read: “Chinks in special ops’ digital and physical armor poses challenges, experts say.” It included a link to an Army News release that used a similar headline, which was later changed.
Although the Army used the definition of the word that means a fissure or crack, a select few were upset with the choice of words. Numerous people replied to the tweet, pointing out its racial implications against people of Chinese descent.
The Army deleted the tweet but didn’t issue an apology or statement regarding the matter. This led to more backlash on Jan. 30 with Danny S. Chung, a former U.S. Marine, tweeting: “Is this the type of language still acceptable, especially by our government? #chinks.”
The phrase “chink in armor” has been used recently and met with similar disdain. ESPN.com took some heat for a headline in wrote in 2012 that read, “Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knocks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets.”
ESPN would later apologize for the headline and the editor who wrote it was fired. Huan Hsu, an Asian-American author, gave his opinion on the matter. "ESPN’s efforts are commendable, but these incidents suggest that it’s time to retire chink in the armor from the lexicon for good,” Hsu wrote in an article for Slate. “Yes, I know that phrase has no racial connotations, but it uses the same exact words as the racial slur, for God’s sake. Having been called a chink a few times in my life — an Asian-American rite of passage that usually coincides with puberty — I don’t like hearing it, regardless of context, any more than a homosexual might like hearing the word for a bundle of kindling.”