By now, you've probably heard of bubble tea, also known as boba. The Taiwanese iced tea with chewy tapioca balls has been popular in the U.S. for a while now -- probably more than 15 years.
So when The New York Times published a massively out-of-touch article on August 16 acting as if they had just discovered the stuff, people naturally called them out and mocked them.
The Times piece was originally called "The Blobs in Your Tea? They're Supposed to Be There." As expected, a lot of people didn't care for that title or the pejorative descriptions in the article.
have y'all heard about this niche pic.twitter.com/odLiytUTgC— Wilfred Chan (@wilfredchan) August 17, 2017
Others pointed out that the article was laughably late. There are tons of boba shops in the nation to be sure, even in regions where there are few Taiwanese people or restaurants.
"The language used in this article, from 'exotic' to 'Far East' and the unappealing nature of the word 'blob' to describe a drink well-known to many Asians and Asian-Americans unintentionally alienates this population from reading this article," reader Bo Hee Kim said of the article, according to a follow-up published by The Times. "It highlights otherness rather than uniqueness, defines familiarity through a nondiverse lens, and for me evokes the unpleasant feelings of being the kid in a nondiverse neighborhood bringing 'weird' lunches to school."
Eater notes that The Times changed the headline three times in one day following the backlash.
"In retrospect, we wish we had approached the topic differently (if at all)," business section editor Ellen Pollock wrote in the Times follow-up story. "There may be a story in the expansion of bubble tea businesses in the United States, but there is no denying the drink has been around for quite a while. And we regret the impression left by some of the original language in the article, which we have revised in light of the concerns."
I wonder what they'll "discover" next. Bacon, maybe?