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What if Your NickName was Derogartory?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Chink's Steaks is a Philadelphia institution which has operated for over a half century from a modest store in the Philly neighborhood of Wissinoming. Now, rather than some of the best cheesesteaks in the city, it finds itself serving up controversy as a result of its culturally insensitive name.

    "It's been here 55 years and no one has ever questioned it. Everybody's welcome here. I know there's a lot of racist people in the world but I'm not one of them."

    Is Park right in that the store SHOULD change the name because it IS deragotory? Or is this more of the polical correctness running amok?

    I'd love to go with the latter but Chink is pretty up there as offensive. Sure it's not Kike or Nigger but to Chinese it is on the same caliber. I also do not believe the owner would suffer too much with the name change.
  2. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    There is your answer.

    People really need to get a life and stop worrying about everyone else's.

    If you don't like the name of the store....DON'T GO THERE! Obviously, many people don't mind the name, otherwise the place wouldn't have been there for 55 years.
  3. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Which is why (to make it a bit more fair) I've made the highlight to the fact that Park never heard of it, doesn't even live near it. I think she heard it from someone and decided to take a crusade.

    HOWEVER, to be fair again, Chink is up there with Kike, Wop, Nigger, etc...
  4. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    The world being as it is and almost any word being offensive in one context or another or in one part of the world or another I believe if you go looking for offense you will find it. I wonder how many Chinese have expressed concern? I wonder how many Chinese expressed concern before this "lady" brought it up? Unless there are a few its a tempest in a teapot and she should be sued. The offense to many is that they read about this brouhaha in the paper and that is due only to the "lady".
  5. BigDeputyDog

    BigDeputyDog Straight Shootin Admin Staff Member

    I guess all history will have to be changed since we can no longer have a chink in the armor. :rolleyes:

    Give me a break... This "politically correct" BS is going too far (dang... I'm starting to sound like HaYwIrE... :holyshit: )

    If I was the owner, I'd fight this tooth and nail. In fact, if he needs help in fighting this, he can call me...

  6. FrankF

    FrankF #55170-054

  7. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    I got in fights as young man because my last name can easily be changed to include the "F word". Does that mean I can now sue anybody who uses the word in print or says it in front of me? I'm gonna be rich, I'm gonna be rich.

    I am of German extraction. I am gonna sue Libby's and Vlasic and others because they use the term Kraut in Sauerkraut. I'm gonna be richer, I'm gonna be richer.

    And my first name is Richard so I am gonna sue anybody who uses the term "Dick" in a derogatory manner. I'm gonna be even richer, I'm gonna be even richer.

    Anybody got Chochran's number?
  8. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    See, now this is different. Because the definition turned negative, I don't consider it to be offensive. Besides, Jap can mean many different things, from an acronym in Long Island to a short for Japanese. I don't agree with the above nor with ADL.
  9. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Just so I understand - no one had a problem with the name of the place, which has been there for 55 years, until some lady who doesn't live there heard the name and went on a crusade to change it...

    Am I right ?

    See, to me, it all depends on how you're applying that word - the context of that word. With spanish, there are many dialects. A word I use often is "beetcho" or "beechito", which to those of us who come from a certain part of South America, means "bug" or "little bug". Yet, I did not know that to many spanish-speaking people from the caribbean, like Puerto Ricans, the word is a very derogatory word referring to a woman - it's the equivalent to the "C" word. So the first time I used that word here in Orlando (which is chock full of puerto ricans), people looked at me like I was this low-life uneducated foul-mouthed person. It wasn't until someone explained to me what that word meant TO THEM, that I realized I had just committed a major social faux pas.

    With that being said - what was the context of the word when used in the name of the place? Is it meant to be derogatory? And also, what is the population in that area like - are there a lot of Asians in the area? What does the community feel about the name? Have others complained to the owner in the past? Has the ADL been alerted of this place before?

    I've been to many pizza places with names like "Guido's pizza" - there's a place here called "Sopranos". And I have never heard of any Italians angery at the use of "guido" or the mobster reference in "sopranos" (the restaurant has a charicature of a mobster on everything, from napkins to flyers).

    I think if the community who gives this place it's business is fine with the name, they don't take the name in a derogatory way, then why should he change the name? Because this lady and the ADL say so? But if there is a history of problems due to the name, and it's now being further investigated because of the ADL's involvement, then obviously the owner of this business needs to be sensitive to the community who keeps him in business and he should change the name.
  10. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Just to answer some questions.


    "Chinks Steaks" is how it is/was used because the original founder/owner's nickname was Chink.
  11. FrankF

    FrankF #55170-054

    There is a bar where I live named "Judge Roy Bean's" that has a hangman's noose hanging above the bar. In eight years I have never seen a black person visit there more than once. I don't know why they would be offended as I don't think Judge Roy Bean was a racist. He hung everybody.
  12. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Well, they got rid of "Sambo's" restaurant. LSU changed one of it's on campus restaurant names from Plantation Room to Magnolia Room, as some complained plantations meant slavery.
  13. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Y'all can just call me Rastus ;)
  14. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    First, I've no interest in unnecessarily offending people. That said, I have to question what real good can come from banning (and these renamings are de facto bans) certain words from the public demesne?

    Sure, "Sambo's" is offensive to some black people, maybe most, maybe all. But in lobbying to have the name changed, a unique opportunity to create a public dialogue on the origins of the name and its connotations and the reasons black people find it offensive - has been lost!

    "Chink" is derived from the Old English word "chine" (meaning the same thing). One would have to be plain stupid not to see how "China", "chine", and "chink" came to be. Etymologically, "Chink" and "Chinaman" are the same. But, of course, you won't see that sort of discourse in a public forum, because "chink" is considered derogatory and we mustn't speak of it.

    No need, really, to talk much about how the word "negro" (meaning "black" in many languages) transformed through local dialect into the pejorative "nigger". Or is there a need? How many people, these days, even know that, given that simple discussion of the use of the word can cause a person to be reassigned from their normal duties?

    Those who seek to ban the use of certain words, either through official action or public fiat, are no different than the book burners in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. When ideas and concepts are suppressed, repressed, they are driven underground, there to take on a life of their own.

    The free discourse of ideas in our society, both repugnant and sublime, makes us strong. Repression of those ideas serves only to give the purveyors of the repugnant ones free license to wallow in their filth, hidden from the public eye.
    3 people like this.
  15. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Out :friggin: standing post, Steve.
  16. Colin

    Colin life victorious

    This is a very interesting thread. As an Asian-American (Japanese-American), maybe I can offer some perspectives that may be of some value to this discussion.

    First off, it seems that at the very least the current owner of the establishment in question had no racial/derogatory motives in mind by retaining its original name. Likewise, it appears that even the founder did not mean it in a derogatory fashion. So I think we can throw out any "get rid of the name because this is a racist establishment" premise.

    A lot of people have posted, so far, that this request seems a little too PC. Other arguments say, Hey, even if the word is derogatory we should still have the freedom to use it. The right to express ones self even if those expressions offend others should be protected." I agree with that. The right to free speech is the right to free speech.

    However, even the US recognizes that free speech should have some reasonable limits: incitement to riot, etc. Of course this situation seems to clearly fall out of that category. All we have so far is a restaurant named Chinks and some offended people. I think it is then clear that this guy has every legal right to keep this name if he so chooses.

    Now, speaking from my Asian-side here, I find that name at least somewhat offensive and derogatory. This is where I think those who dont find anything negative about the word chink per say need to step into someone elses shoes briefly.

    When you live as a minority in any society you tend to feel a little outside the mainstream at times. This leads to a sort of insecure feeling; kind of like if you were a little kid who went to a new school. If I was an Anglo-American (lets say, German-American) living in America and somebody opened up a restaurant called Krauts I might be offended but it probably wouldnt cause me too much lost sleep. After all, most of my neighbors look and act like me so I feel safe that even if there is evil intent from the restaurant name I and my neighbors can overcome it through larger numbers.

    Now if I was that same person living in China it might give me a little more pause. After all, I am now outnumbered. I will have to hope that my Chinese neighbors care enough to do something about the restaurant should it turn out to be hostile towards me.

    I guess what Im trying to say is that we can argue context, political correctness, and historical tradition all we want but we cant really impart what it feels like to be called a kraut, chink, or nigger when you arent German, Asian, or Black. On some level it hurts. So I guess we have to feel each others pain oh God, I sound like Clinton NOOOOOOO!!!

    Anyway, my bottom line: If I were the owner I would probably change the name. Not because it is politically correct but because it is taking a reasonable step to respect a persons cultural heritage.

    And yes, I would change the name of Krauts too :)
    1 person likes this.
  17. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    So when the Japanese call me gaijin to my face, I shouldn't get offended if they don't stop, even after I tell them that to a Westerner it's considered rude? :)

  18. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    You don't happen to have red hair, do you, Steve? ;)
  19. Colin

    Colin life victorious

    No, the door swings both ways. Being a minority doesn't give you license to be offesnive, and that's not what my post is trying to say.

    I was simply trying to point out that we often don't appreciate how slurs which don't apply to our ethnic group carry a different "emotional weight" to the targeted group; particularly when the target is living in a community/area/country where their ethnic group is not represented in proportionally large numbers.
  20. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    No, I've got the Leon Keylin Low Drag Coefficient look. :)


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