Sam Rainsy’s Racism Defense Is Repetitive and Disingenuous

The letter you published from opposition leader Sam Rainsy on September 28 titled “Claims That ‘Yuon’ Is a Racist Term Should Be Put to Rest,” explaining why the use of the word “Yuon” is not racist might strike readers as familiar.

This is not just because it is at least the third time recently that you have given Mr. Rainsy space to air this view, but because it is the same wearying self-justification used by “respectable” racists and bigots everywhere.

Mr. Rainsy and his friends call the Vietnamese “Yuon” precisely because they want to offend them, and neither they nor Cambodians have any difficulty understanding the message, even if too many well-meaning Westerners prefer not to hear it.

Julian Abrams, Phnom Penh

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