Being called a chink

I’m not sure what I feel about having a racial slur called at me.




I’ve been ambushed by kids with sticks before when I walked to school in Toronto as a 8 year old or whatever. They did say a load of crap as well, but honestly, I have little collection of what they said. But I did remember them saying some shit to my dad once, who doesn’t speak English and so it had little effect. Ha, ignorance is bliss I suppose.




As I jogged past a couple of youths hanging out in Victoria Park the other night, one of them casually looked at me and said, “Chink chink. I love you long time.”




Now, to have someone declare their love for you is always good isn’t it? Perhaps I should evoke positive thinking and take heart in the fact that someone who’s never met me before loves me.




I suppose I could’ve taken offense and punched him for the chink part but I didn’t because:

1) I was in the middle of an army bootcamp fitness session and was having a doggedly hard time keeping up as it was. I needed to conserve any energy reserves for the next round of sprint to that tree, do 10 touch jumps and sprint back and get into the plank position NOW!

2) As far as I can remember, I don’t recall anyone ever calling me a chink and so I was surprised and confused more than anything really. The offense part came only after I’ve rested my legs enough to think about it.




But am I really offended though?

I suppose it didn’t really affect me because, although I know the word and its connotations exist, I’ve never really seen it used, against me or anyone else. A word can mean anything, it can be a slur or not, depending on how it’s delivered. I’ve read about black people reclaiming the word “nigger”, and by using them in a different light, they turn the word back on itself and makes its use less offensive.

Perhaps because I’ve never experienced the use of “chink”  in real life, it didn’t really get to me.




On the other hand, I know I will be definitely upset if people came up to my face and start going “Ching chong kong bing ding ding” or shit like that, because I’ve had that used against me and others, together with much taunting and sholving, and so I know I’ll feel it if it’s ever used again. For that, I would definitely stuff your nose in.

But then, isn’t that the whole point though? The more you take offense, the more delight people take in using the terms. Perhaps I should start referring to myself as a chink then?




(At risk of undermining its offensive impact: On reading what I’ve written above, I decided to read “ching chong kong bing ding ding” out loud. Try it. To be honest, if not for the way it’s been used, I actually find it quite funny.)

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2 thoughts on “Being called a chink

  1. what a coincidence, the other day, i use *black girl* to refer to an african american girl in the lab and my labmate “warned” me not to use the word *bxxxk* (he just mouth it, not even speak it out, i was q shocked indeed, tho it was hilarious at the same time, like i was in a hilarious movie)…and then i was like…okay…i am not a racist…i will use “african american” next time….
    but… “black” or “white” means the same thing to me (same, gweilo haha, another word of racial thg?)…so i ask myself, what if they call me chink or anythg…but i feel nothing…as long as u take no offense, it just a word…in my pt of view

  2. Now, that “black” thing annoys me. I don’t understand why black is racist. It is only a descriptive term isn’t it? It’s like calling a white person white. I share the office with a girl from Ethiopia and we both use black and white all the time. Now that you mention it, I’ve just realised that the term “African English/British” doesn’t exist. It’s usually British of Afro-Carribean descent (or something along those lines…).

    But then onto “gweilo”, you know how we use it literally all the time? When Nasty first asked me what it means, I told him that it literally means “ghost man” and is a Cantonese term for white people. He was actually very offended….But then I explained that it’s the equivalent of “lao wai” in China (a term that he is familiar with and knows is not derogatory), and then he thought is was fine.

    I guess it really comes down to how it’s used….

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