A writer for Lifehacker, a popular tech and lifestyle blog, has issued an apology after running a short article about chopsticks that stirred up some feelings within the Asian community.
Claire Lower published the article for Skillet, a blog that operates under the Lifehacker umbrella, on Monday. Her piece, “Chopsticks Are an Underrated Kitchen Tool,” attempted to introduce chopsticks as a do-it-all utensil that is typically kept in a kitchen “junk drawer.”
Ethnic groups across Asia have been using chopsticks for literally thousands of years, and, to this day, Asian communities living in Western countries, including the U.S., continue to use chopsticks for eating, cooking, cutting and picking up a variety of messy ingredients.
So when a couple of prominent Asian social media influencers shared the article with their followers, people were both confused and annoyed. Edward Anderson, a researcher at the Centre of South Asian Studies in Cambridge, England, pointed out in a tweet that Lowe’s piece was “Textbook Columbus Syndrome,” a phrase used to describe when people of a dominant culture claim they’ve discovered something that has already existed elsewhere.
Congratulations, you've discovered chopsticks. https://t.co/QS2tp2qcSI?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313— Angry Asian Man (@angryasianman) September 12, 2017
I see the whites discovered chopsticks tonight. Quick, while they're in a listening mood, someone tell them about salt— PK in BK (@NotLikeFreddy) September 12, 2017
It takes some kinda gall to pretend you discovered chopsticks, is all I'm saying— PK in BK (@NotLikeFreddy) September 12, 2017
i have literally been doing all that since i was a kid.— Maria Ma (@guacamolebio) September 12, 2017
also, i was mocked for eating cheetoes with chopsticks, but now it's a "life hack"
I guess asians are the ultimate hipsters— Jasmine Pak (@JasminePak) September 13, 2017
Thanks, I needed that laugh. pic.twitter.com/RTbCfyRBLh— Candice Dayoan (@candicecd) September 12, 2017
She's gonna lose it when she finds out about rice cookers.— Christine Pasalo (@ChristinePasalo) September 12, 2017
A day after running the article, Lower owned up to her mistake and tweeted that she was “embarrassed about how I framed this story.”
“I promise I’ll do better, and apologize for the Columbusing,” she wrote. “I know better and it won’t happen again.
I am very embarrassed about how I framed this story, have heard and appreciate the feedback, and regret any pain it has caused.— Claire Lower (@clairelizzie) September 12, 2017
I promise I'll do better, and apologize for the Columbusing. I know better and it won't happen again. (3/3)— Claire Lower (@clairelizzie) September 12, 2017
Skillet also updated the original story by adding an editorial note at the end that addressed the backlash.
“This story frames chopsticks as something that’s not in everyday use in people’s kitchens,” the note reads.
Readers “have pointed out that this framing depicts the experience of a huge swath of people as outside the norm,” the note continues. “We regret any pain this post has caused, and commit to do better in the future.”
Lowe’s quick response to her readers’ reaction was simple and sweet, and as comedian Jenny Yang put it, we hope “it’s lesson learned!”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.