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What if Your NickName was Derogartory?

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

  1. Colin

    Colin life victorious

    Well, I wanted my 100th post here to be something really profound and meaningful... but I must say that all this talk of Cheese Steaks has really gotten me hungry (and I just ate!)


    If you're ever in the Pacific Northwest I can reccomend this place:

    Damn good steaks!!!! And I don't believe their name has any racially charged overtones... or does it?? ;)

    Cheese Steak!!! Cheese Steak!!!! Cheese Steak!!!!

    :happy: :happy: :happy:
  2. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    If they open one in Spokane or Post Falls/Coeur d'Alene areas, I'll be there!
  3. Colin

    Colin life victorious

    Actually, the chain was started in Spokane!!! They're kind of spread out a bit, but not too hard to find. There's one in Northtown mall, that's probably the easiest to find (right in the middle).
  4. jadjman

    jadjman Registered User

    I said this before and I'll write it again... I have no agenda here.

    The whole point of me engaging in this discussion was because, as I ALSO wrote before, that I saw this as a fairly intelligent group of people, discussing things in a relatively civil and intelligent way.

    There are other message boards out there (feel free to link through my site ;) ) that are full of BONAFIDE MORONS. Nobody here has written stuff like "Susannah Park should go back to China or wherever she's from," or "Ms. Park should whore herself out like a good little chinadoll" or comments with other anti-Asian racial epithets and references to rickshaws and so on. That's the sorta B.S. that's out there outside of this forum.

    THAT'S why I started posting here, because I recognize the complicated and gray-area nature of this issue. I was hoping for some good discourse, that would, for my own sake, help to shape and clarify my own specific positions.

    My website www.chinkssteaks.com isn't even really there to shape minds either. I put my own opinions out there, but I link to everything I can find on the subject, be it pro-change or not. The "thumbs up or down" system IS a bit of editorial license on my part. So while I do not pretend to be unbiased, I am not interested in gaining support. Only spreading awareness of the issue.

    I've written about how this issue is really about the line that separates what Asian Americans (and others) will tolerate and what we will not, when it comes to words like "chink." What this is ALSO about is awareness.

    I have, in my own "research," found many people of various backgrounds who have told me that they did not know that "chink" was considered offensive until they read the Philly.com article that I showed them. These are well-intentioned people, who were simply unaware of such a thing.

    Ask a random sample of people. I'd say that close to, if not equal to 100% of respondants would say that they knew that "nigger" was NOT a word that was acceptable to use in today's American society. Ask the same number of people about the word "chink." I think the numbers would be much lower.

    Anyway, I'm rambling.

    Steve Moore, I must say that although the whole "moron" issue was a bit unnerving to me, and although I am (to be honest) both understanding and annoyed at the fact that you seem to wish to disengage from this discussion, I have still appreciated the time and mental energy that you have expended here. If I have not visited other message threads, it is because I personally have very little personal free time (a 2-year old small business and an 8.5 month old baby kinda does that to ya), I have chosen to focus on this one issue for now. I appear to take a firm stance, and thus may appear to have an agenda. However, to be totally honest, I am extremely open minded to a fault, and I am definitely divided over this issue. My firm stance is also to help me work things out in my own mind as well.

    But I am looking forward to seeing what other topics of interest are being discussed here. I put myself in my own political category of "militant moderate," and I'm gonna guess that on other topics, you'll see my opinions appear to be all over the spectrum. My personal core values are based on my Christian faith, but my political and social views are wholly based on common sense and logic (instead of bandwagonning and conspiracy theories).

    But I digress.

    There IS more to discuss in relation to this issue. Take this for instance: Many Asian Americans are calling for a name change for "Chink's Steaks." That course of action might be characterized as a historically African-American way of responding to such a situation. When they see something like this but concerning blacks, they are incensed, outraged, and respond quickly, passionately, and generally won't rest until victory is acheived. This tactic has, as far as acheiving the specific desired change, been fairly effective.

    Now my question is this, and this may be an "internal-issue," but one I will bring up nonetheless: should Asian Americans follow this model? One might say that historically, the Asian American response has been to be quietly angry, perhaps verbalizing our anger amongst ourselves in casual conversation, but to generally do nothing. Instead, Asian Americans seem to value personal achievement (academically, financially, etc.) as the ultimate statement to society.

    This issue is also complex, so please choose to ignore it and move on. I don't really wanna open a whole new can of worms.

    Anyway, enough for tonight.
  5. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    I know where that is. I'll be up there in about 4 months.

    Better get out of this thread now.
  6. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Where did I state something to counter the above? I am well aware of not only class differences of the past but even the fact that they exist now--although in a different manner.

    And let me point out that the "dirty Irish man" from Ireland in the 1930's was on a much lower scale than any white class. To compare the two is like apples and oranges.

    Realize, please, that I am not minimizing the troubles, the poverty and struggle of the lower white class in America--especially during The Great Depression. My focus is mainly on how people were treated based on their ethnicity by other people.

    Again, no where did I point this out, the focus of this was Chink and derogatory term used for Asians.

    For the third time, I don't recall me stating that I never heard about cracker. Not only have I heard it, I've been called that, along with "Harry", Spik, Kike, and WoP. I look like so many different ethnicities I am the hated of the day pending on the neighborhood I am in. :)
  7. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    you said that most white americans would not understand the feelings of a black, jew, etc. I disagree. There are many whites that would because they experienced within their own race. You said we wouldn't feel it as much because we were the majority. I disagree...I WASN'T the majority, I was a woman and we didn't have the same rights nor respect as many of the white men. You said history had nothing about cracker. I disagree. MY history had cracker and honky in it as well as the various other derrogatory words used to describe a white person. So.... we are going to have to agree to disagree. :) I'm not as sensitive to the situation that is being talked about because I do not agree that it is a serious important issue. It's the guy's name/nickname, he didn't have a problem with it and neither should anyone else. It's none of your business, IMVHO. None. :)
  8. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Cyd, he didn't have a problem with it because he was not Asian.
  9. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    rofl and your point is...?? So an asian should have a problem with it, or think they have the right to have a problem with someone else's nickname?
    Ok, whatever.... Again, we will have to agree to disagree. IMVHO, you or anyone else has no need to personalize someone else's nickname/business name. It has nothing to do with anyone else except for chink himself.
    I understand you do not agree. That's fine. :)
  10. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    No, Asian Americans should not follow this model. And for some of the reasons I'll outline here.

    I was once part of an African American family (through marriage; unlike Steve Martin in The Jerk I was not brought up in one). Insofar as this particular issue goes, African Americans thrive on publicity and confrontation in order to bring about the changes they seek. For all their successes, a lot of the changes have been grudgingly made. On the part of the white community, there's not a lot of love for folks like Butts and Sharpton and Farrakhan, because they play dirty pool and instead of attempting dialog, their weapons of choice for debate include backstabbing and character assassination. White people, while generally decentralized in their opinion base regarding such antics, could be summed up as "numbed" by so many incessant attacks. Whether change is necessary becomes secondary to the sideshows that go up to get these changes affected.

    From a personal standpoint, discussing race relations with my ex-wife was a lot like learning needlepoint with a ballpeen hammer. There was no conversation to be had; white society had more to atone for than it ever could in her lifetime, and not only that, it should hurt. There were instances in my marriage where my race was an issue, albeit one which remains unspoken to this day. This is a major reason as to why she's the former Mrs. Moore, because Mr. Moore grew weary of walking on eggshells each and every day.

    Asians should not become so confrontational. It's not necessary, and it would only damage things further. I think I can tell you, I sense a growing hostility on the part of disenfranchised whites toward the African American community, who are perceived as receiving handouts they do not deserve and who receive preferential treatment because of their race, not their accomplishments. This is becoming a legitimate bone of contention, because the American Way is supposedly based partially on meritocracy...that other ethnicities can skip the working hard part kinda pisses off the majority, who don't get much in the way of breaks. This is one reason why "Liberals" (capital L) are having such a hard time politically right now, because Conservatives can pass themselves off as being equitable and fair...and generally have a better track record at proving it in recent years.

    So when you ask the question, "Should Asian Americans resort to the same tactics?", my answer is an unequivocal NO. (And I realize I paraphrased your question here.) Despite what some Asian Americans might feel, they don't have to lug around the same baggage that African Americans do, and that's only a good thing. Asian Americans are more apt to become part of the meritocracy than pretty much any other ethnic group in the US, absolutely on par with whites if not more so. We are seeing more Asian faces in our politics, our entertainment, and our everyday lives now than ever before. There's no need for in-your-face confrontation.

    But Asian Americans could stand to be a little more organized. The major Asian American political group, 80/20, is about as well-known outside of the Asian American community as Swahili dance routines are in Peoria, Illinois. There's one thing that could change, but it would also be nice if more Asian Americans paid attention to politics to begin with. Right now, the only individual who could even approach a Presidential bid is Locke in Washington state, who is Asian American. Other than him, I draw blanks.

    Also, Asian (and here I will state it as only "Asian" as opposed to Asian American, as this is an ancestral dynamic) society as a whole needs to get over their cultural differences. Mainstream America is entirely ignorant of the friction between Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese, etc. Here in the US, these groups would do well to put aside the ancestral rivalries and function as a cohesive whole. Most Americans couldn't tell the difference anyway. Might as well take advantage of the anonymity and put it to work for you.

    Asian Americans would likely get the best mileage out of the situation by using dialog as the tool of change, not confrontation. Adequate representation is a start; if 80/20 intends to be more than an afterthought, consolidating a power base there would be a great start. You'll find that mainstream Americans are more accomodating when they're not being tasked to make all the sacrifices.

    Just my two cents.

  11. jadjman

    jadjman Registered User

    Here's a slightly different angle:

    Mr. Sherman (then) and Joe Groh (now) are essentially capitalizing on a racial slur. Forget that it was his nickname... that's no excuse. There is no "but it's his nickname" exception when it comes to determining what is racist or considered hate speech.

    What if his nickname was "F*ck?" or what if his nickname was not a word at all, but instead a picture of Janet Jackson's right breast? Does the "but it's his nickname" exception work then? Is the word "F*ck" then somehow alright to use in the name of a business?

    I continually find it fascinating that we Asian Americans seem to have to defend opinions and points of view that have been seemingly well-established when it comes to African Americans... the whole "if this were Nigger Steaks, we wouldn't even be having this discussion" thing. (Speaking of "African-Americans," you see THIS article? Sorta funny)

  12. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Luke, I am NOT your father!

    Personally I wouldn't have any problem with a restaurant called 'Nigger Steaks' or 'Honky Steaks' or 'Cracker Steaks'. The only names I dislike are 'African, or Asian, or Latino American'. If your an American citizen, you are American thats it, nothing else.
  13. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    That's a good point Frodo.

    According to our "label-everything" standards in the U.S., I should be called an "English-German-American". However, I just prefer "American".
  14. jadjman

    jadjman Registered User

    I hear ya. I pretty much agree with you... about 90%. :thumbsup:

    However, two things:

    1) While I agree that Asian Americans shouldn't get all hair-trigger as many African Americans seem to have, that begs the question: Where do we draw the line then? Let's say hypothetically, that "Chink's Steaks" is okay... that's not a big enough deal. Then what IS a big enough deal? Is anything short of physical violence not enough?

    2) I understand what you mean when you speak of:
    However, rather than asking us to essentially take advantage of others' ignorance, I'd like to see more awareness and sensitivity we're NOT just all from China. People (not just white Americans) tend to lump people into big chunks, because it's easier to see the world in black and white than the spectrum... and it's also easier to see people in big categories (white, black, yellow, non-white Latino, etc.) than to see the diversity that actually exists.

    I'm getting into another soapbox issue of mine, so I'll stop there for now. ;)

  15. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    No, I would think the Chink's Steaks issue would have been a good issue to start with, but it got confrontational, which means people are gonna dig their heels in. And this is all I will say about Chink's Steaks from this moment forward--I do believe I've made my case on that issue.

    And clearly, physical violence is never the answer. And culturally speaking, most Asians wouldn't support it either. I don't perceive this mode of conduct as a threat.

    But in the future, when another such opportunity presents itself--and we both know it will, Asian Americans are becoming more restless by the day--then use dialog, not confrontation, as the vehicle of choice. Ms. Park blew her own argument out of the water by going public. She wanted the publicity more than the change, it seems.

    Number one, let me reaffirm that I travel through Asia extensively and am well aware of the differences in culture. If you're from south China or north China, I can almost always tell the diff. Same between Koreans and Japanese. Biggest difficulty is telling Thai Chinese from Vietnamese, but I'm working on it. And Hmongs are easy.

    That being said, it's not too impossible to learn this. But at the same time, can you tell the difference between someone from Somalia and one from Lesotho? How critical is that in your decisionmaking process? How about someone from Russia from someone from England? I think Leon and Bob Astles can tell you the cultural differences are quite dissimilar. But can you tell they come from different cultures with a shared ethnical origin?

    Even the Japanese came from China originally. The genetic differences are minute. You're asking for people to give you cultural recognition on sight. Not everyone's going to be able to do that, and I'm quite sure there have been more than a few times when you've seen a fellow Asian and assumed they were of one cultural background, and in fact they were from another. A Korean friend of mine goes to NYC's Chinatown all the time to buy his phone cards--I go with him--and they always talk to him in either Cantonese or Mandarin. He talks back in Hangul, just to mess with them. See where I'm headed?

    Back to topic: allow me to recast for clarity. Consolidate your power base, which means scrap the rivalries that might play big in Beijing, Tokyo, Taipei, or Singapore. They do nothing for you here, and serve to only keep your consolidation from occurring. You don't see many German-, Irish-, Polish-, and Italian-Americans keeping their rich heritages from acting in concert with one another. Asians need to learn this. It's called, for better or worse, assimilation. If you want to get on in this country, you need to assimilate. This is nothing more than the axiom of truth.

    That's about it from here.

  16. jadjman

    jadjman Registered User

    First of all, I meant: Is anything short of the threat of violence against an Asian American to be tolerated? I was talking about the "where's the line" issue.

    Second, I know Susannah Park, and, just for awareness' sake, this is what happened: Some friends of hers were talking about how they had just learned of the existence of "Chink's Steaks" (someone was having a party, and they said in the invite, "I live next to Chink's Steaks," which caught everyone's immediate attention because they had never heard of it, and were appalled by the name). Susannah took it upon herself to call the place, and basically ask him if he knew that "Chink" was offensive to Asians and Asian Americans. The owner, Joe Groh, at the time saw this as a verbal attack, and responded gruffly.

    Susannah then wrote short discussion group posts on three separate Asian-American websites, describing her conversation with Joe. Many of the people on these boards were in disbelief, with some even challenging her, claiming that she was making it up... that such a place couldn't exist.

    A couple of weeks later, after some deliberation within her group of friends, she and another guy decided to get in touch with some group, either the Anti-Defamation League, or the Philadelphia Human-Relations (or something like that) commission... I can't remember. Anyway, when she arrived at the meeting, she was informed that a local news crew was, at that moment, shooting a piece in front of Chink's Steaks.

    Susannah never meant for this to take on the life that it did... in fact, she and her friends regret the way things got out of hand. This is a classic example of how the media tends to give issues an unintended course (I'm no conspiracy theorist... I mean these things always happen).

    Two things about that. I'm not asking for cultural recognition on sight... I AM asking that people not make immediate assumptions based on a general set of facial features. I'm not expecting people to know that I'm of Korean descent. But I don't want to be referred to as Chinese or Japanese either.

    As for YOU, Mr. Frodo...
    #1, others WOULD have a problem with those names.

    Second, I WOULD LOVE TO BE JUST KNOWN AS AN AMERICAN. YOU, (assuming you're white) can just be "American." You think that it's ME that's saying, "Please, please... differentiate me from the rest of my countrymen, because I LOVE to feel like an alien in my own home"?

  17. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Thank you Steve for bringing up a very good point. I do not have your experience and none recently but 30 years ago in Vietnam it took a little while to recognize the differences in Vietnamese and Korean stationed near me. I would be shot if my life depended on a 100% score in telling the difference between the different Asian people. And that does not even take into consideration inter marriage and the resulting progeny. I think asking who can tell the different white people from each other is a very good point and one that even I would have a hard time with. And I think it good. The sooner we quit thinking about differences the sooner we can begin treating everybody equally.
  18. jadjman

    jadjman Registered User

    I'm sorry. The statement above is frankly a little insulting.

    What I'm hearing is this: "Y'all are all Asian... ORIENTALS. Ya hear me? We don't wanna hear about how you have a separate and unique culture from another Chinese culture. You're ONE RACE. Accept it. We can't handle all your different countries. But don't confuse us with those wacky Canadians."

    So, to paraphrase, do you mean "The sooner you quit wanting to be known for who or what you are, instead of being lumped together in some big Oriental race, the sooner we'll listen to your bitching" ?

  19. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Don't presume to reword anything I write. I wrote what I intended to write. If you disagree, fine. But don't think you have any right to put words in my mouth. Are we clear on that?

    At no point did I say anybody has to change their culture, only to look at people as people instead of Asia, Black, European, or Purple Polka Dotted People Eaters.

    To emphasize, if you misunderstand something I wrote, ask about it. If it makes you mad and you disagree respond accordingly. DO NOT CHANGE MY WORDS OR PARAPHRASE ME TO MAKE YOUR POINT.

    I will not be responsible for what you "hear", only for what I write. A great example of wanting to be insulted rather then trying to hear the message.
  20. jadjman

    jadjman Registered User

    ShinyTop, some of my comments were also directed at Steve Moore, but I still stand by my words. My paraphrasing your words bothers you... well, am I wrong in my analysis?

    I don't see how what you wrote in the above quote could be extrapolated from your previous post. Sorry.

    Just an FYI... in that context, it's "hangook mal" not "hangul." Hangul refers to the Korean written language, whereas "hangook mal" is literally "Korean language." Korean is supposedly the only "invented" written language in history. It didn't develop over time, it was just invented one day by a Korean king.


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