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NYT’s claim on Asian Americans’ ‘overrepresentation’ in figure skating rebuked on social media
update:February 14,2022
The New York Times (NYT) got backlash on social media for using the term "overrepresented" in an article on Asian Americans in figure skating early this week.
"Asians make up around 7 percent of the U.S. population but have become vividly overrepresented in ice rinks and competitions at every level, from coast to coast," said a story published by the newspaper on Feb. 9. "Gradually, they have transformed a sport that, until the 1990s, was almost uniformly white."
Event though the writer later claimed that "overrepresented" was not intended to convey any sort of "judgment," but many social media users and other media refused to buy these words.
"At a time when hate crimes against Asian Americans are rising, the wording touched a nerve," Deadline.com, a popular website in the United States with entertainment, Hollywood and media news as its focus, said in a story published on Saturday.
Deadline.com cited the tweet of Curtis S. Chin, former U.S. ambassador to the Asian Development Bank.
"Imagine if the @nytimes wrote a piece saying 'Blacks make up around 14% of the U.S. population but have become vividly overrepresented in the @NFL &@NBA from coast to coast. Gradually they have ...'" Chin tweeted.
On Reddit, in a group with the name "Asian Identity," over a hundred users left their comments.
"This article is a slap in the face to these Asian-american athletes who worked hard to win, only to be recognized not as individuals but as those Asians. When will we talk about the overrepresentation of whites in every single other sport?" a user with the name "antiboba" said.
The NYT's story was even mocked by Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, who last year voted against advancing a bill aimed at addressing hate crimes against Asian Americans in the nation.
"Liberals embrace racism, especially against Asian-Americans. NYT complains that Asians are 'vividly overrepresented' in ice skating," Cruz tweeted.
Meanwhile, a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) story published on Friday triggered a different discussion about the racism in figure skating in the United States.
The article titled "At the Olympics, where are the Black figure skaters?" said that historians traced the problem to the stories of Black American skaters such as Joseph Vanterpool and Mabel Fairbanks.
Vanterpool, a World War II veteran, took up professional skating but was rarely featured outside all-Black showcases, while Fairbanks's Olympic dreams were dashed by racist exclusion from U.S. figure skating in the 1930s.
Elladj Balde, a Black and Russian professional figure skater from Canada, told PBS that in the United States, "black skaters weren't allowed to be in figure skating clubs (or) in figure skating competitions" during the sport's early years. 
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