Is it racist to use the phrase “Rice Burner”? Was it ever racist? In the current social climate, I would assume the answer is yes–simply because it sounds like it could be vaguely racist. I started looking into it and I might be wrong.
For those of you who don’t know, Rice Burner refers to a car from a Japanese manufacturer, usually modded out with gaudy kits to look like something from a Fast and Furious movie. Mazda’s and Toyota’s are most common, and they often sound like a tin can strapped to a vacuum cleaner.
I had heard the phrase quite often while growing up in a small town, but it never really struck me as being a racist term. It seemed pale in comparison when comparing it to others, and it didn’t really base itself in any particular stereotype. According to the International Rice Research Institute, which is a thing I just learned exists, 9 out of the top 10 countries that produce the world’s rice supply are East-Asian, including Japan.
So yeah, they deal in a lot of rice. I wouldn’t say that’s a stereotype as much as it is a simple fact. Most stereotypes are grounded in physical or behavioral traits and I’m not sure this would fit either of those categories. I think that implying a car bruns rice as fuel is more of a statement against the type of car than it is against a race. Another example would be how Ford guys shit on Chevy’s, and Chevy guys shit on Ford’s. It’s just more brand-loyalty and “Buy American!” gusto from the 70s.
I haven’t heard this term used in quite a while, so maybe it’s on it’s way out. I think they years have shown that Japanese cars can often surpass American-made vehicles in terms of dependability. Couple that with the fact that most “American-made” vehicles are manufactured overseas and simply assembled here and you’ll see that most Americans don’t care where their cars are made, just as long as they’re affordable and dependable.