Friday December 19, 2014

CCNC Rejects Letter from Rogers Publishing
Wednesday December 22, 2010

  The Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) has rejected a letter from Rogers Publishing, the parent company of Maclean’s.

Toronto, ON – The Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) has rejected a letter from Rogers Publishing, the parent company of Maclean’s. In its letter, Rogers Publishing reviewed some of the steps taken by Maclean’s to address the community’s concerns over the “Too Asian”? article and repeated the offer of a full page article in the magazine to CCNC to “directly express to Maclean’s audience your concerns.”

Since November 10th, CCNC has worked to engage Maclean’s in a dialogue to resolve this controversy. CCNC’s position is consistent with that of a number of organizations and individuals. “We believe that Maclean’s has not adequately addressed our concerns and we seek an unqualified public apology from Maclean’s,” Victor Wong, CCNC Executive Director said today. “In our view, since Rogers is the parent company of Maclean’s, then Rogers should step up and take ownership of this controversy.”

“We urge Rogers to work with us to find a constructive resolution.”

CCNC appreciates the tremendous support over the past six weeks. Three local governments – Victoria, Vancouver and Toronto have passed motions to support CCNC. MP Olivia Chow has tabled a motion in the House of Commons and local Councillors are proposing similar motions in Markham and Richmond Hill.

Senator Vivienne Poy has written to Minister James Moore to request that the $1.5 million federal subsidy to Maclean’s be revoked: http://www.viviennepoy.ca/english/speeches/2010Speeches/Moore,J_161210%282%29.pdf. Under the Canada Periodical Fund program, magazines that contain offensive content in the opinion of Canadian Heritage are ineligible for funding (http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1289318205743). CCNC has written a letter to Minister James Moore and his office has agreed to arrange a meeting in the new year. CCNC has also written a letter to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to urge the committee to initiate a study of the Canada Periodical Fund program and to convene a Parliamentary hearing if warranted.

CCNC is the co-administrator of the “Not Too Asian” facebook site which has about 800 members and around 400 posts including more than 200 news articles/op/eds/statements from groups and individuals who have identified numerous issues with the “Too Asian”? article: http://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_174514912559573&ap=1. More than 2000 comments were posted by Maclean’s readers below the online article and most of these comments were critical of the “Too Asian”? article.

At the news conference today, CCNC reviewed comments from some of the people who were interviewed or photographed in the “Too Asian”? article. Here is what they have said:

1. Catherine Costigan, Ph.D. writes: We regret that overall, however, our research were misrepresented or simply not represented, in this article. Our research has no bearing on issues related to Asian university students or university student life in general. Instead, our Intercultural Family Study is an investigation of cultural adaptation, family relationships, and psychological adjustment among immigrant Chinese families who have children in high school. http://thinknotfear.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/a-statement-from-uvic-psychologist-dr-catherine-costigan-interviewed-and-quoted-by-the-macleans-writers/

2. Nikki Best is quoted in the Maclean’s article: “We had a problem getting students out of their bedrooms,” says Nikki Best, a former residence don who sits on Waterloo’s student government, who explains they “didn’t want to get behind in their grades because of coming out to social events”. Nikki Best said her quote was taken out of context, she was referring to students in general not just Asian students.

3. Luyang Yan, the international student carrying the Chinese flag in the feature photo has asked why Maclean's would publish a picture of two international students with the PRC flag against the headline "Too Asian"? when according to the U of T Student Union, some 6,000 students participated at Clubs Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnO20zANWfw&feature=fvwk.

4. Maclean’s lifted an online quote made two years ago, edited it and dropped it into the “Too Asian”? article: I once had a tutorial session for the whole class where the TA got frustrated with speaking English and started giving the answer in Mandarin to the student he was trying to help, another Mandarin speaker. A lot of the class understood his answer. http://www.8asians.com/2008/07/07/thomas-jefferson-high-school-for-science-and-technology-an-asian-american-plurality-45-of-freshmen/#lf_comment_1

Now compare it with the passage in the Maclean’s article: Writes one Waterloo mathematics graduate on an online forum: I once had a tutorial session for the whole class where the TA got frustrated with speaking English and started giving the answer in Mandarin. A lot of the class understood his answer.

The quote was lifted from an article written 2 years ago but more importantly, the writer deletes the part about the tutor giving the answer in Mandarin “to the student he was trying to help, another Mandarin speaker.”

5. We found that Maclean’s tried to source info from another online article at 8asians.com: My name is Nicholas Kohler and I am a writer with Maclean's, a national news magazine in Canada. I'm trying to put together an article looking at whether the "cultural mosaic" Canada is so famous for is, on this country's university campuses at least, turning into something more like a "collection of solitudes." In other words, different cultural groups that have little to do with each other--to such a degree that our universities are being fundamentally transformed as a result. In reading this discussion, I was particularly interested in Sticky Rice's comments, as Sticky's concerns seem to capture something like what I'm trying to explore. If Sticky, or anyone else, would like to write me for my article, they can do so here: nick.kohler@macleans.rogers.com. Thanks, good post, Nick
http://www.8asians.com/2010/02/21/university-admissions-how-many-asians-americans-are-too-many/

If Maclean’s is supportive of the merit system and genuinely recognizes the hard work of Asian and other high achievers as claimed in the editorial, why is Maclean’s collecting information from an 8 month old article to validate a theme around the "collection of solitudes" at our university campuses and its impact that “our universities are being fundamentally transformed as a result”?

6. Dr. Susan R. Groesbeck, Principal of Havergal College writes in a letter to the editor: In fact, Maclean's has not confirmed to us that the two women quoted in the article did indeed graduate from Havergal College. http://www.vancourier.com/story_print.html?id=3945180&sponsor

7. UBC President Stephen J. Toope writes: Racial stereotyping is an unfortunate Canadian historical fact. It is therefore troublesome to see it emerge again under the guise of shallowly observed social trends where anecdote masquerades as analysis.

The multicultural landscape of this country is evolving; of that there is no question. When I walk on my university’s campuses, I see cultural diversity at a scale far greater than when I was a student. It is no different when I walk the streets of my city. I don’t see cohorts in ethnic uniform. I see people – people pursing their ambitions and contributing to our society.

Canada has much to celebrate for how we have welcomed successive waves of immigrants to help advance and enrich the country. Current economic and pay statistics suggest that we are not doing as well today in integrating immigrants as we have in the past. That reality certainly demands analysis and public discussion. Comparing Canada’s enviable record to the vastly different racial history of the United States and then fretting that we may be visited with the results of that far different history is a pointless exercise, not worthy of our national magazine.
http://president.ubc.ca/2010/11/29/presidents-letter-to-macleans-magazine

8. Brian Cheung, President of the Chinese Varsity Club writes: Originally, the Maclean’s writer informed us originally that she wanted to interview us regarding UBC ‘commuter students’, however at the end she suddenly revealed that she was writing about the concern of Asian students in universities. Nevertheless it was not surprising that Maclean’s could barely use anything from our extensive interview since we continually provided evidence of how Asian students were not just those stereotypes as what was asserted in the final article. Being a responsible Canadian means that we should be open-minded and not fall victim to making irresponsible claims by generalizing and using stereotypes. Although Maclean’s has generalized that the inability to socialize is indicative to all Asians, we here at the Chinese Varsity Club could not disagree any more. http://www.briancheung.ca/?p=241

“These responses from interviewees themselves point to numerous significant errors by Maclean’s writers and editors, Victor Wong added. “There are just so many problems with the “Too Asian”? article that it simply doesn’t meet the standard for good journalism.”

Founded in 1980, CCNC is a national non-profit organization with 27 chapters across Canada and a community leader for Chinese Canadians in promoting a more just, respectful, and inclusive society. CCNC and allies are one of the co-recipients of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation’s 2008 Award of Excellence for its work on the Chinese Head Tax redress campaign. 

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For more information or media interviews, please contact:   

Victor Wong, Executive Director at (416) 977-9871or national@ccnc.ca

 

Resources:

CCNC and CCNCTO presented this 4 point proposal to Maclean’s on November 17th:

1. Maclean’s will publish a ‘rebuttal’ article of generous length from CCNC (ie. 2 to 4 pages or an article of similar length to the original article);

2. Maclean’s will acknowledge that the article is offensive and full of stereotypes and will offer an unqualified public apology to Canadians to be published in Maclean’s magazine within 1 month of original publication of the article in the November 22 edition;

3. Maclean’s will assign staff involved with the original article to participate in public meetings organized in response to this article; and

4. Maclean’s will work with university students of various backgrounds including students of Asian descent (ie. Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) to write no less than 3 additional articles of similar length to the original article on the topics of diversity and racism on university campuses.

Please note that Maclean’s has agreed (with some minor adjustments) to points 1, 3 and 4, however, they have refused point #2. CCNC and CCNCTO reject this response from Maclean’s and will not proceed with a partial resolution.

End

 

Motions:

 

Victoria City Council motion moved by Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe (passed November 25th): http://victoria.civicweb.net/FileStorage/33C2E417555D482A98E85FAE5C35A136-Notice%20of%20Motion.pdf

 

Vancouver City Council motion moved by Councillors Kerry Jang and Raymond Louie (passed December 14th): http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20101214/documents/motionb2.pdf

Toronto City Council motion moved by Councillors Mike Layton and Kristyn Wong-Tam (passed December 16th): http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2011/mm/bgrd/backgroundfile-34300.pdf

House of Commons motion moved by MP Olivia Chow: http://www.oliviachow.ca/2010/12/olivia-chows-motion-re-too-asian-article/

 

End

- CCNC