History repeats itself

So after about a million years, “Chink’s Steaks” is going to be renamed.  According to one newspaper reporter, it’s because slurs no longer slide off the tongue as smoothly as cheese.*  Or something.  I can’t remember and the unspoken vacation-blogging agreement is that readers can consult google themselves if they are at home using reliable internet providers.

*I should note that undoubtedly among my gentle readers, slurs don’t and didn’t slide off their tongue like drool on a jet-lagged day/night. So maybe it’s just certain folks *ahem* who have that problem.

The steak shop formerly known as “Chink’s” made an announcement about the name change on its facebook page.  It garnered a few kudos, but served more as a general display of the dismaying hopelessness of the human race.  (Which is why we don’t typically read newspaper comments, as we prefer not to become either homicidal or suicidal.)  As with the newspaper comments, there was a big old dose of racism served up with the ignorance.  Which also answers the question, “Is it really racism?  Or is it just ignorance?”  It can be both, for your information.

But I digress, and I am sure I will be sorry when my internet cuts out and I have not yet completed this post.

One of the facebook comments caught my eye in particular.  It’s a stunning display of ventriloquy:


Tina Wroblewski-Evans:  Chinks will ALWAYS be Chinks to me!  My girls, who went there for the first time last year, were sad to hear the name change–and they are Chinese!!!!

Wonder if she’s related to General DeWitt …

And I asked, because I know you all are dying to know, and yes, her daughters were adopted from China.


It takes a special kind of something to take two adopted Chinese kids to a diner called “Chink’s.”  But the right word for it just won’t slide off my tongue.  Mostly because I’m sure it would leave a very bad taste.  But maybe this news article should be required reading for prospective adoptive parents who are shopping for children from Asian countries.  And then an essay should be required.  Kind of like the SATs, only harder.  And of course, we’d ask you to explain your position.  In your own words.

Examining interethnic prejudice in a racist society

Recently, a spate of attacks against Asian Americans by African Americans* made me think about the ways interethnic prejudice and tension are fueled by racism.  Often when I am discussing racism (as defined by power+prejudice), white people are quick to tell me how racist Asians are against African Americans.  This is a classic derailing technique.  Additionally, it focuses on prejudice rather than the systemic nature of racism.  It ignores how people of color internalize racism, how a white supremacist society affects us and how our stories and our struggles are framed through a white lens.

*Philadelphia.  Lower East Side.  Oakland.  San Francisco.

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I never was much of a Michael Jackson fan, although I do remember the first time I saw him perform.  It blew me away.  His talent was undeniable.  Truly he was the King of Pop.

And yet I felt much of the initial coverage about his death downplayed his extraordinary talent and the effect he had on millions of people worldwide.  Many news articles referred to him as the “self-proclaimed King of Pop.”

Elvis could be the undeniable King of Rock and Roll.

But a black man who would be king was just delusional.

A lot of articles following his death talk about how Jackson “transcended” race.  But they don’t talk about who he was:  a black man.  Michael Jackson was a black man who was the King of Pop.  Not the “King of Pop” or the “self-proclaimed King of Pop.”  Simply the King.

And that made him a target.  Continue reading

The simplification of race

What the news reports:

On the topic of race and ethnicity, McGruder said that to him, Obama is not black because he is not a descendant of a slave.

“The person who is one of us in the White House is Michelle Obama and her momma,” McGruder said.

That’s cartoonist Aaron McGruder, quoted by the Richmond Palladium-Item.  Because everybody knows how important it is to have black people weigh in on whether or not President Obama is really black. Continue reading

News flash

People of Asian descent, here is your opinion about the term “Oriental”:

There is nothing inherently negative or derogatory in the term ‘oriental’, but it is not a term which originated with Asians and they (especially the younger, more educated ones) do not want to carry the term’s historical baggage, at least in applying the term to people …

Older Asians tend to be less sensitive (and some not at all) to the use of the term ‘Oriental’ in referring to people. Circumstances change.

Got that?

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From MLive.com, “Adopting the Culture.”

Oh, the advantages of international adoption!

While there are upsides to international adoptions — providing a home to a child who doesn’t have one or giving a child a better life — there are also many challenges.

And while there are challenges to adopting a child from a foreign country, experts say with the right supports and guidance there’s no reason the advantages can’t far exceed any perceived downsides.

You get to provide a home to a needy child and give him or her a better life! There are challenges, but the advantages exceed any perceived downsides. Because you know, it’s all about the perception! Make sure you teach your child this, so that they know that those perceived downsides are outweighed by advantages. They might perceive some downsides, but it’s entirely possible that their perception is just faulty. In case they don’t express this on their own, make sure to say it for them: Continue reading

Insults and institutionalized racism

On the Playing at poverty post, Kai commented that Adam Shepard’s “experiment” was a “joke and an insult, with its ridiculously vain thesis, ‘Anyone could make it out of poverty — if you were as cool as me!'”

And that pretty much sums up how I felt after reading Shepard’s book. (Which, by the way, is poorly written.)

Because the reality is that there are lots of people in the lower fringes of the economy who are making it. Otherwise they’d all be dead. And most of us know somebody who has made it against all odds. Continue reading