Iowa State Daily Drops Regular Print Feature After Racist Slang for Asians Published (#acpsea #ISU)

Roughly a week after accidentally printing a racist slang for individuals of Asian descent, The Iowa State Daily is apologizing and dropping the regular print feature in which it was included.

On the “games page” of each ISD issue, staff regularly run “Just Sayin,'” comprised of “reader submitted quotes, quips and anything that may have been overheard on or off campus.”  Last Tuesday, the paper printed nine reader submissions, including two that made reference to “squinteys.”  The first: “Just had a staring contest with a squintey.  They are fearless.”  The second:”I just saw a squintey inside the building. . . . They have started the invasion.”

A screenshot of the Just Sayin' feature including the racist slang.

In a column of apology by ISD editor-in-chief Jake Lovett, he wrote that editors first thought the term was a description for local squirrels.  In his words, “The individual who selected those for publication mistook the word for a central-Iowa colloquialism for ground squirrels– more popularly referred to as ‘squinny.’ . . . Since that day, we’ve heard from countless students, faculty and staff that we so obviously offended with the word that can be read as a racial slur.”

As one letter to the editor, sent by “a collection of 53 students, faculty and staff” stated, “As members of the ISU community, it is hard for us to accept the racial slurs that were published in the Daily. Asians and Asian Americans are more than stereotypes. You may think this issue is not a big deal, but to the person who wrote the comments, to the editors who let this appear in the Daily, to you and me, our ignorance shows how little respect we have for each other. . . . In a world where there is a supposed to be emphasis on diversity, this is proof racism is alive and thriving. Sadly, this has been ‘our adventure at Iowa State University.'”

The paper’s staff has since met with administrators and aggrieved students and discontinued the “Just Sayin'” feature.  As Lovett noted, “There will be good to come of this.  Because of this error in judgment, an otherwise-ignored but very important issue– racism and discrimination– has come to the forefront of the conversation on campus.  We hope change comes because of it.”

A screenshot of the "games page" on which "Just Sayin'" was regularly published.

Update: A separate ISD piece confirms the paper’s advertising department oversaw the “Just Sayin'” feature, not the editorial staff.

One Response to “Iowa State Daily Drops Regular Print Feature After Racist Slang for Asians Published (#acpsea #ISU)”
  1. J says:

    Too bad this wasn’t screened well enough, I really liked this print feature. However, maybe it’s good that this situation has come to light, so at least we can address it.