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Is It Acceptable to Call Someone a Chinaman?

November 2, 2009

Is it acceptable to call an Asian a Chinaman? An NBA commentator does at the 50 second mark.

Truly despicable.

In case the NBA takes the link down, here it is (at the 34 second mark).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2009 5:37 pm

    Couple things…

    If he is actually from China, I think it’s not that bad. Like saying Frenchman if he were from France. Also (most important), it wasn’t said in any derogatory way. If he said “way to screw up the play, Chinaman.” then it would have been different, but he said “NICE dunk by the Chinaman.” Hey, when do we hear “dunk” and “Chinaman” in the same sentence? Um, never? So I’ll refrain from sending my ninja assassins to this commentators house.

    Also also, there’s nothing inherently derogatory in “China” or “man” so that phrase never really bothered me, especially since I grew up being called a chink all the time.

    • paddlesports permalink*
      November 2, 2009 5:49 pm

      I too was called a “chink” all the time growing up… not so much these days but I do take offense to someone calling an Asian a Chinaman. The word over the years has gained more of a negative connotation.

      Although wikidpedia is not the end all be all, the history of the word “Chinaman” and “Nigger” have a similar development over time.

      Chinaman – a term that refers to a Chinese man, person, or in some cases, a racial term for any person of east Asian descent. Although the term originated in usage that was not originally offensive in intent, and was listed in older dictionaries, its use evolved into a term often used against the Chinese and other Asians as they encountered increased discrimination and injustice in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Nowadays, the occasional usage of the term “chinaman” is strongly discouraged by Asian American organizations and others, and considered offensive by modern dictionaries, dictionaries of slurs and euphamisms, and guidelines for racial harassment. It can be contrasted with the ethnic slur used for persons of African descent, which was also used as both a self-referential and pejorative description. The term has been used by Chinese and persons without stated offensive intent, and has also been used as a self-referential archetype by authors and artists of Asian descent. (cites ommitted)

      Nigger – Nigger is a noun in the English language, most notable for its usage in a pejorative context to refer to black people, and also as an informal slang term, among other contexts. It is a common ethnic slur. The word originated as a term used in a neutral context to refer to black people…

  2. Troy F. permalink
    November 3, 2009 7:26 am

    We all know that Chinaman is NOT the preferred nomenclature, don’t we dudes?

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