On January 29, 2012, The Economist published a piece entitled “Korean Golfers: The Magic Formula.” In it, the author asks,
“Why are Korean women so good at golf?”
The statistics provided are compelling:
…four of the top 10 female golfers in the world are Korean, as are 38 of the top 100 and 144 of the top 500.
Unfortunately, the analysis is less than impressive, and rather offensive. The author ignores the individual talents of the golfers mentioned, and instead resorts to age-old Asian stereotypes, including “strict fathers” and a propensity to “breed champions.” It gets worse:
I once played with a Korean friend on a course near Seoul. A few holes from the end, lightning started stabbing the hillsides around us. I suggested abandoning the match…But my Korean opponent would have none of it. He’d fought in Vietnam, and wasn’t scared by the mere threat of electrocution. He insisted on finishing. Naturally, he won.
The Economist has long been considered a reputable and reliable news source for world affairs, politics, and business. For a publication that is often cited by world leaders, politicians, and academics, there’s no place for empirical evidence and anecdotes which only serve to perpetuate false perceptions of entire cultures.
But there’s more.
If the statistic – that 38 out of 100 top golfers are Korean – is newsworthy, then how about other, more stark statistics? How about the fact that, almost all of the people listed in The Economist‘s staff directory are White? Or the fact that none of the publication’s Japan specialists are listed as Japanese speakers?
This website exists simply to make transparent the community behind the self-proclaimed “best people in the industry” of world affairs.
As The Economist calls to question the reasons behind a demographic of Korean golf champions, we call to question the reasons behind a staff of supposedly premium world experts which appears to be gravely one-dimensional. It’s all the same fair game.
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To: Daniel Franklin, The Economist Executive Editor