Double standard

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Yesterday Amy Walters of NPR did a story about two fashion moguls. She introduced them in this manner (boldface mine):

Let me start by introducing you to Dov Charney, founder and CEO of American Apparel….  Charney is 44, Canadian-American, and he has a reputation for near-naked models , harassment suits – sexual and otherwise – and some serious trouble with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that pushed him to lay off over a third of his staff…

Do Won Chang, founder and CEO of Forever 21, is Korean-American, 58 and devoutly Christian. Chang also has his share of legal trouble, though – years of worker disputes over labor conditions and charges of design theft.

If NPR is going to identify people by religion, then it ought to tell us that Charney is Jewish (indeed, Jewishness, including family connections to the Middle East and the Holocaust, are very important to him, per his autobio). A small oversight, but revealing, I think: Walters’s reticence on this point reflects an inhibition on the part of journalists to identify Jewish business/cultural figures as Jewish because doing so would reveal the extent of our inclusion. Back when we were outsiders, it was fine to describe people as Jewish because it was a wholly different kind of signifier.

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