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Offended by Remark

March 27, 1988

In a nation and at a time where we have to guard what we say in fear of offending anyone (remember Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder?), isn't it funny that it is still all right to have a laugh at the poor Asians?

We are all in an uproar over apartheid, yet we can still chuckle when someone closes his eyes and affects an all-purpose Asian accent covering Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and, of course, Southeast Asians.

It is especially sad that in a state where so many ethnic groups work side by side that this attitude is allowed and fostered even in large companies. What a sorry commentary indeed.

For example, it was reported that, "When California First Bank, an affiliate of Bank of Tokyo, announced that it was acquiring Union Bank in Los Angeles, an unidentified female official at Union Bank joked sarcastically: 'We've taken off our shoes and we're learning how to make tea.' " This comment has not only escaped disdain but also appeared in the Footnotes column in The Times' Business section. ("From Earl Grey to Green Tea," March 7)

Perhaps it is just me. Perhaps this is all very humorous and I am merely an old fuddy-duddy. Yet I cannot help but think that I have been here before, and again this is another big yuk at my expense. I leave you to ponder this, what if Union Bank was being acquired by the Bank of Angola, would it be funny to hear "We are all heading to the hairdressers to get naturals?" No, it is not just me, this is another big yuk at everyone's expense.

HYMAN LAURENCE YEE

Monterey Park

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