This is a follow-up to a commentary piece by Gann Matsuda. It is not an official statement by the Manzanar Committee.
LOS ANGELES — On June 21, Las Vegas restaurant critic John Curtas was called upon to issue a public apology for using the racial slur, “Jap” as an abbreviation, and promise to refrain from further usage (see Sorry John Curtas, But Use Of The Racial Slur, “Jap” Is Not Acceptable, Even As An Abbreviation).
Today, Curtas posted the following that he tried to pass off as an apology:
I offend people for a living. I am also something of a humorist, satirist and social commentator (as well as a restaurant critic). Political correctness is not my thing, but neither is racism.
Hyper-sensitivity, on the other hand, is something I don’t care for either. Making fun of a YouTube video by calling it: “The best Jap-German collaboration since 1941″ would seem to me to rank somewhere down there with “I don’t like your dog” and “How about those crazy Asians” in terms of offensiveness. (and it was on Twitter fer chrissakes–where abbreviations are both arcane and necessary!)
And I love Japan, Japanese food and the Japanese (just ask dozens of Japanese restaurateurs in Las Vegas), despite the fact that it/they spent the years 1943-1945 trying to kill my father (the people not the food). The fact that the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of that generation now take umbrage at an innocent, slight, and Twitter-appropriate condensation of the English spelling of their country, is really something I cannot sympathize with.
I’m sorry if I offended anyone, but I do think the world would be a better place if we all stopped taking language (and our respective cultures) so seriously.
In other words, Curtas did not even come close to apologizing for his actions and words. Instead, he, like so many others of his ilk, blamed those offended by his words for being too sensitive, pushing the responsibility onto their shoulders, freeing himself from that burden.
As a public figure, and a writer, maybe even a journalist, that is certainly not how it works. Indeed, a person in that position must take responsibility for his words and actions. That is one of the tenets of journalism.
Not only did Curtas try to shift the blame onto the shoulders of those offended by his words, his “apology” only makes what he did that much more offensive. Indeed, his “apology” seems to indicate that he does have some resentment of the Japanese people, based on his family’s history. This may explain why he has deliberately chosen to use “Jap” instead of the accepted abbreviation for Japan/Japanese, “Jpn.”
Again, John Curtas must issue a public apology (on his own web site), one that does not shirk his responsibility for his words and actions, and he must pledge to never use slurs, epithets and other derogatory language that targets any group in the future.
Nothing less is acceptable.
The views expressed in this story are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of the Manzanar Committee.
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