The Asian American Journalists Association Sports Task Force urges contextualized and comprehensive news coverage around the racial identity of Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng.
The proper way of characterizing someone’s racial or ethnic background is a complex matter of identity and culture. The question has emerged again with the Marlins’ hiring of Ng.
The AAJA Sports Task Force urges newsrooms to be mindful in their language of Ng’s racial identity, the ways she has described her own upbringing and background, and the accurate representation of people of Asian descent in past leadership roles.
–Kim Ng’s father is an Asian American of Chinese descent. Her mother was born in Thailand and is of Thai Chinese descent. Ng was born in Indiana. Ng has publicly embraced her Chinese descent.
–It is accurate to refer to Ng as the first woman, first Chinese American or first East Asian American to hold the title general manager of a Major League Baseball club.
–Ng is not the first Asian American to hold that title. That was an incorrect statement, oft-repeated Friday and throughout the weekend following her hiring. Farhan Zaidi, president of baseball operations for the San Francisco Giants, served as GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2015-18. Zaidi was born in Canada, is of Pakistani descent and grew up in the Philippines. While South Asians – such as Indians and Pakistanis – classify themselves as Asian, others are likely to misidentify them, reflecting patterns of “South Asian exclusion” and “racial assignment incongruity.”
–“Asian American” is an accurate and encompassing term to describe both Ng and Zaidi, as it applies to those from the continent of Asia.
–For additional context, it would be accurate to say “Ng will be in charge of all player-personnel decisions such as trades, free agent acquisitions and draft picks for the Marlins.”
–Proper pronunciation: Kim Ng (ANG).
We advise news organizations to consider the point of the story as well as the target audience when writing headlines and articles about the groundbreaking nature of Ng’s hiring.
Josh Tolentino, Chair
Melissa Kim, Communications
About AAJA STF:
AAJA Sports Task Force promotes diversity in the sports media industry through mentorships, scholarships and outreach programs. AAJA STF is proud of its work with other multicultural organizations to champion diversity.
For more information, contact the STF.
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