First Asian American elected to Boston City Council calls out newspaper’s “insensitive” graphic

Boston City Councilwoman Michelle Wu is blasting a recent front page graphic and headline in the Boston Herald.

The image shows a politician standing in a Chinese take out box full of fried rice with the headline Wok Tall.

The illustration accompanied a story about House Speaker Robert DeLeo purchasing $5,000 worth of Chinese take out food using his state-issued credit card.

“The cover distracts from the reporting on important issues of transparency and accountability in spending taxpayer dollars,” Wu tweeted. “The Herald should recognize the harmful impact of using racially charged images and take responsibility, especially because for children of color, every mockery can create anxiety and undermine what all our kids deserve-to feel they truly belong in this country and community they call home.”

The Herald apologized while simultaneously trying to explain its thinking.

“The front page was purely a reference to Chinese food,” Herald Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca said to his own paper. “But when a concern is raised that the words or images we use are hurtful, we do need to listen and apologize.”

Despite being a pun, the headline “Wok Tall” relied on the demeaning stereotype that Asians can’t pronounce their ‘L’s.”

Wu’s political star in Boston has been on the rise and she has been mentioned as a strong candidate for mayor.

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