Before you read on, to whom am I referring as the Outstanding Leader?

Now read on.

North Korea under its new, young leader Kim Jong Un, also known as the Outstanding Leader, has been threatening to start a nuclear war, and to start with Tokyo.

But don’t you dare call him crazy.  Or little. Or insult his haircut.

From Chris Roper in The Guardian, North Korea: let’s not resort to racism (h/t @BuzzfeedAndrew)(emphasis added):

It’s a happy truism. Scratch a politically correct liberal, and you’ll find a human being. And it appears that racism is the default state of being for humans….

Take North Korea, and the current hoo-ha about its threat to launch missiles against the US. It seems that some people think it’s okay to caricature Kim Jong-un based on his ethnicity, culture and appearance. Ooh, look at the little dancing fool with the crazy hairstyle! ….

Just because the North Korean culture is so utterly alien to much of the west, we allow ourselves to caricature the North Koreans and their leader. Admittedly, if you’re raised in a system of culture that doesn’t favour the theatrical and the hagiographic, you’re going to find the sight of prancing soldiers a little weird….

I’m not saying that North Korea deserves our respect, far from it….

So sure, it’s a messed up place. But that doesn’t make it okay to devolve to old patterns of jingoistic racism, and turn “North Korean” into another iteration of the terrible N-word.

Recently, the Washington Post ran a story quoting John McCain referring to “the crazy people” running North Korea, and there are headlines along the lines of WND.com’s “Diplomat: ‘Crazy’ N Korea deserves hard line”. It’s the kind of rhetoric that makes diplomacy difficult and aggression more palatable. I’m okay with calling Kim Jong-un an evil dictator, but not with a blanket statement about crazy people….

So when we make fun of the craziness of Kim Jong-un, we’re making fun of an entire belief system and culture, which is racism at its facile best.

Remember, don’t call him crazy.  Oh, wait:

Daily Mail North Korean indoctrination

Okay, maybe we can now call him crazy.

Just don’t call him a Nork.