That's OUR word! Haha, all kidding aside, I just wanted to vent a little bit about Chink's Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. I honestly can't believe something so blatantly racist can even exist in today's day and age. Apparently, Chink's (yes, that IS the actual name of the restaurant) has been in business for over 60 years. As the story goes, the original owner, Samuel "Chink" Sherman, opened his own Cheesesteak shop in Northeast Philly after learning the ropes at another establishment. As a child, Samuel Sherman was nicknamed "Chink" by his friends and family because of his supposedly "slanted, Asian looking" eyes. Later, he opened Chink's Cheesesteaks with his nickname to boot. The only issue is the current owner (who purchased the restaurant from the Sherman family) has no intentions of changing the name of his shop. Back in 2008, Asian American activist groups tried to lobby for the restaurant to change its name, but soon received backlash from loyal patrons, as well as being mocked by Philadelphia Magazine for "worst complaint of the year".
|The restaurant sign at Chink's Cheesesteaks|
This brings me to my next question. Why are people so ignorant of Asian stereotypes and slurs? Is using an Asian slur not as bad as using other racially charged slurs? I bet people wouldn't dare use any other type of derogatory word in their restaurant name. I can't imagine the types of riots that would ensue if a restaurant opened its doors with a name that clearly targeted the African American or even Jewish communities (since the original owner was Jewish).
Why do you think Asian American groups were unsuccessful in their attempts to change the restaurant's name? Is it OK for the restaurant to keep its name for the next generation of kids? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment!
(CC images courtesy of goodiesfirst / Flickr)