Our internal e-mail lists have us discussing all kinds of stuff: Asian American identity, representation in the media, the experiences of activism in an academia setting and its progression as we transition to the working, adult world. And sometimes, we talk about the usage of the word “chink” and “nip” and issues of context. Sometimes, the conversation spirals out of control.
Jeff: It doesn’t seem to me that he advocates never using “chink” or “nip” in any context, just not when discussing Chinese or Japanese people respectively: “I have a suggestion: how about avoiding the use of the term chink — in whatever context — when discussing anything having to with Chinese people? Same goes for nip and Japanese people.” That doesn’t seem to be that unreasonable.
Joz: Reminds me of the whole “niggardly” controversy.
Jun: Kinda like in Clerks II where the guys says ‘porch-monkey’ in front of a black customer cause he didn’t know it was a racial slur… I would read ‘chink,’ giggle at the irony and move on with my rather boring life.
Kevin: Does that mean I will never be able to say “chink in armor” ever again? This takes it too far, I understand when people get offended by “gay”, even then, its sort of evolved into something derogatory, and not necessarily homophobic. This? I would’ve read it and moved on without noticing.
Moye: What if you’re talking about nipples but don’t have time to type out the entire word?
John: When would one not have the time to write out nipples instead of nip? While tweeting or updating your FB status while having sex?
Ernie: Hey, it’s tough to write out “NIPPLE” with one hand on an iPhone.
Efren: And what were you doing with your other hand, Ernie?
John: Efren, Ernie is using his iPad with his other hand.
Ernie: If by “iPad,” you mean “PENIS.”
So, my argument: “a chink in the computer system” isn’t offensive, “a chink in the Chink’s computer system” is totally offensive, but because of the upper-case Chink, not the lower-case chink. “A chink in the Chinese government’s computer system” is… an unfortunate choice of words for someone who probably went to a better college than I, but no, I’m not really ragey. But that’s just me; what do you think?