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August 26, 2008

A What in the Armor?

ESPN.com recently raised some eyebrows when it ran the following headline about the US men's basketball team in China: "Chink in the Armor?" Their reaction—the headline was quickly rewritten—was quite different from that of the Spanish national basketball team when it was caught in an ad doing something else involving eyebrows. But, it turns out, the word "chink," as related to armor, is OK outside the US.

ESPN's chink headline
The Irish Times has written of a "tiny chink" that appeared in Michael Phelps's armor. The Hindustan Times says the Argentine soccer team "found a chink [in the Nigerian soccer team]." Both The Independent and the Khaleej Times have also referred to a chink in the proverbial armor—and in the case of the latter, that armor belonged to China.

While some outlets have noted that the phrase could appear inappropriate, one lesson from these One World One Dream Olympics is that political correctness is largely an American phenomenon.

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