U.S. racist slurs towards Chinese widespread
By Joanna Law
Making fun of people’s name is insult, and mocking one’s race is racism. Anyone who does so is rude, unprofessional, and disrespectful. But some U.S. media and Americans don’t seem to have this concept. They recklessly use offensive and racist remarks to target on Chinese, regardless the person is in high recognition or in trouble.
One of the incidents focuses on the news about New York City comptroller John Liu, the first Asian American running for mayor in 2013. His name has been on the headlines of many U.S. media due to the FBI’s investigation on Liu’s donation sources. But New York Post has deliberately smeared Liu’s name by using an ethnic slur for its headline saying “The biggest Liu-ser!” It is apparent that readers immediately associated the word “Liu-ser” with loser. New York Post is making fun of Liu’s last name and twisting it into a negative, offensive word targeting to Liu himself. The media used the same term again in another article about Liu, with a headline saying “John’s looking more like Liu-ser everyday”.
Similar incident happened to Jeremy Lin, the famous NBA basketball star. ESPN used the headline “Chink in the armor” for one article on Jeremy Lin. The word “Chink” is a disparaging and insulting remark referring to Chinese. It means to the stereotypical Western image of Chinese as narrow-eyed. ESPN needed to issue a formal apology, and two employees responsible for this statement were punished: one was fired, one suspended.
Shortly after ESPN fired the staff, Ben & Jerry issued a statement apologizing for its “Taste of Lin-sanity’ flavor” yogurt that many customers found offensive. One of its stores sold a yogurt that was marketed as Taste of Lin-sanity’s flavor, with lychee honey and crumbled with fortune cookies. Complaints quickly flooded the store for being stereotyped. Ben & Jerry issued a statement and apologized to customers and emphasized that the company is “proud and honored to have Jeremy Lin” hail from one of the fine universities in the States.
New York City Assemblywoman Grace Meng has also encountered racist treatment when she was dining at a restaurant chain called Boston Market in Queens, New York. According to NY Daily News, Meng said employees there repeatedly referred to her as “la China”. Fluent in Spanish, Meng questioned the staff when paying for the meal. But the staff just simply shrugged. “Whether they were trying to be racist or not — it’s not appropriate,” Meng said. “I was the only customer in there.” Meng’s office confirmed to People’s Daily Online USA that Boston Market has apologized.
There have been many racially insensitive incidents caused by restaurants’ employees recently. An employee of Papa John, another fast-food restaurant, put “lady chinky eyes” on a customer’s receipt. Two separate Chinese customers at a Texas Chick-fill-A were given a receipt by an employee with words “Ching” and “Chong” printed on them. In Georgia, an employee drew a slanted eyes on a customer’s drink.
In addition, Americans’ ignorance to other communities’ cultures and facts has led to frequent miscommunication and backlash. Recently, a student from Kansas State University wrote a column for the Kansas State Collegian titled “Public universities should not accept students from the countries that have bad relations with U.S.”. In the article, Sean Frye stated that public universities should not waste tax payers’ money to provide education to foreign students from countries that will serve as the biggest enemies to the U.S., such as China.
The published article promptly caused protest among the infuriated Chinese students. The Chinese Students and Scholars Union demanded apologies from Fryer and the editor of the Collegian. While the editorial board still refuses to admit their negligence, Fryer publicly apologized to the offended community. In his written statement, Fryer pointed out his unclear arguments were caused by “the sloppiness of [his] writing”, and he regretted that he had used the word “enemy” to refer to Chinese.
The fact is, previously ignorant to Fryer, that international students pay 2 1/2 more times in tuition than in-state students. Fryer was later told that “if all the international students left tomorrow, due to the financial impact they have on campus, the school would be in significant trouble”.
The U.S. is a country of diversity with different ethnic groups. Chinese individuals are the second largest population of immigrant communities in the United States, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Americans should be used to living in an environment where racial prejudice is neither acceptable nor tolerable. The more they show how racist they are, the more they are dishonoring themselves and their country. Perhaps this is something that the government, the public, and the educational institutes should work harder on to educating people.