The other morning I ran five seven nine ten miles so I thought I’d treat myself for such a valiant effort by buying a carton of my beloved Thrifty brand ice cream from my neighborhood Rite Aid. If the thought of that scrumptious and smooth ice cream entering my mouth wasn’t awesome enough, I was also pleasantly surprised to learn it was on sale: 2 for $5 (go out and get yours now before it’s too late). So I walked out of Rite Aid with four three two my one carton of Thrifty brand ice cream and I was as happy as a clam at a clambake. Until…the incident. All my Asian American brothas and sistas will know what I’m referring to.
A car full of in-bred hicks drove by and one of these aforementioned hicks stuck his redneck head out of the window and shouted, “Chink!” Now before I could pick up a rock and throw it flag the hick mobile down to have a civil conversation about their in-bred ass backwards racism, they sped away without stopping. I’m not going to penalize them for this. I understand—they were probably in a hurry to get home to drink homemade moonshine and fuck their mothers and/or sisters. But then I thought about that word: Chink.
For most Asians growing up in America, that word carries a lot of painful memories and I’m not an exception. But the reality is I haven’t been called that word in awhile and I have to say on some level, it didn’t have the weight it used to have. Granted, I’m the guy who started our Chinky Or Not Chinky feature and I probably use that word more than most racists (i.e. “Did you see last night’s episode of Law & Order? It was so fucking chinky!”), but I think it’s also been overused in general and it doesn’t necessarily have the same power it once did.
Look, there was a time not too long ago when you couldn’t say the word “bitch” on TV. Now you can’t turn on a show without hearing that word dropped with frequency in casual conversation. I’m not saying “chink” in most contexts is not racist, but like anything that’s been around for a long time, it’s become familiar, old and even slightly cozy. The other Asian-related racist words in our collective vocabulary suffer the same problem.
Gook is also Korean for “soup.” These days when I hear that word, I think more about what I want for dinner than anything else.
As for nip…again, the first thought these days—food. Cheese Nips. Or if someone says, “there’s a nip in the air,” I automatically picture a fat sumo wrestler flying up in the skies. Am I the only one who finds that funny?
And does anyone even use the word slope anymore outside of a ski resort or calculus class?
As for Oriental…who really says that now except for really old people who still call Blacks “Negroes,” think of homeless people as hobos who carry sticks with handkerchiefs tied at the end and believe FDR is still President? They may be a little out of touch but they’re well meaning.
No, I think it’s time someone invented a new derogatory word or term for Asians. We need something fresh; something that’ll have a more immediate and visceral impact. Since most of the racist hicks lack the creativity to come up with such a word on their own, I think we may need to help them out. Any suggestions?
This might not be right for these purposes, but I sort of like the word “celestial.” It was sort of the old school equivalent of the word “chink”–used in the 19th century to refer to Chinese who were seen as “ethereal” and who came from the “celestial kingdom” to boot. It went out of style long ago but I like it because there’s something classy about it. Even an ass backwards hick will sound somewhat educated shouting “celestial” out of a speeding car. And isn’t that what’s missing in racism today? Some class.