Thursday, April 19, 2007

"N*gger brown" gets another outing

David Irving famously described the color of his car as "n*gger brown" but he was doing it to provoke his critics. Some hapless Chinese manufacturers were not so aware, however:

"While all of America may be talking about the slurs of radio shock jock Don Imus, Canada is dealing with its own outrageous race scandal. But unlike Imus, no one's taken responsibility for the Canadian fiasco, which introduced a young girl to the "N" word that she had been lucky enough never to have heard before.

ABC News spoke to Doris and Douglas Moore of Toronto about what happened when they purchased a set of dark brown couches for $1300 and were told the couches were high-quality imports from Italy. But when they arrived, her 7-year-old daughter made a startling discovery. On the shipping label, next to "color," it read: Ni**er-Brown.

Moore immediately called the furniture store, Vanaik, from where she and her husband purchased the couches, but received no response. So she contacted a local television station, Toronto's City News, who tracked down the store manager. He told a reporter from the station he was sorry for the label but blamed the supplier, Paul Kumar of Toronto-based Cosmos Furniture, who also ships furniture to the United States. In media reports, Kumar said that the label was placed by the manufacturer, located in China, not Italy.

Kumar told ABC News that he spoke to the manufacturer and that the mistake was made "out of innocence." The slur was a translation problem.


There is another unfortunate example of Chinglish here. I think my recently purchased brown futon is made in China too. See here. I must look for a label on it sometime.