Unfortunately, the term is not quite innocuous nor is it trivial. Bringing attention to its use is not PC hysteria and ignorance of racial or even pseudo racial terms is not an excuse for their use in a public forum. The use of the word rice, in this fashion, is derogatory for anything of Asian origin. Period! It is meant to perpetuate a stereotype (a fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people). As McLeod (2008) concludes, "by stereotyping we infer that a person has a whole range of characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have. Stereotypes lead to social categorization, which is one of the reasons for prejudice attitudes (i.e. “them” and “us” mentality) which leads to in-groups and out-groups."(http://www.simplypsychology.org/katz-braly.html) Race-based stereotypes are insulting. Sorry, but developing a racial and cultural awareness is never irrelevant.