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Is "chinamen" racist?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by baba, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. When you hear "chinamen" do you react to it as a racist term or simply a description of nationality?
  2. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    I would put it in the "derogatory" category.
  3. "chinamen" was used in the same way as "n*****" was, so yes, it's racist.

    edit(jt): that word is not welcome here in ANY context
  4. It doesn't sound racist to me.
  5. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003

    Although other "___men" terms are not considered derogatory, "chinamen" is because of the history of its context. It's akin to calling a Black person a "negro"; it's antiquated and nowadays considered offensive.
  6. musiknouveau

    musiknouveau Guest

    Jul 10, 2007
    I've read a lot about Asian-American history and depending on the context of how the word is used, it can be derogatory. Generally it refers to a history of discrimination as the word was primarily used during the Gold Rush era to mid-1900s where laws were passed to exclude immigration since waves of Chinese were taking up a large portion of the labor at the time. Generally, most people would assume it to be derogatory since the word is associated with a past of racism, exclusion, discrimination. Like any loaded word used to describe any cultural group, it is also an empowering word (and you will see this in a lot of asian-american literature).

    Using the word "chinamen or chinaman" today to describe a group of people/man is in my opinion ignorant. To use the word in a literary way or referencing the history of Asian-Americans, then it would be appropriate.

  7. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    +1 ...
    " derogatory " is a more correct term than " racist " , imo ,
    although i understand that it has been used as a racist slur .

    yeah ... see , i think that word right there is much worse ,
    at least to me , but i'd agree they both are bad ...
  8. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    "Also, Dude, 'chinaman' is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-american, please."

  9. Check out my sig.

    People seem to be very divided over this topic. While this band name has been around since '93, only recently have we had a handful of people react to it as derogatory. Of course that is/was not the intention.
  10. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    Agreed; "chinamen" is more akin to "negro", while "c*****" is analogous to "n*****". There are varying degrees of power behind those words.
  11. This begs the question: What was the non-derogatory word for Chinese during the Gold Rush era? Or is it generally accepted that the Chinese were hated by Americans during this time.
  12. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    I think the reason it has become more of an issue now than it was 10+ years ago is twofold. One, the move towards more politically correct speech, and two, the development and growth of Asian American awareness and advocacy.

    The reason the term "negro" became derogatory was because of the push of the Black community to promote awareness, education, and equality. In history, the n-word was used frequently as a common term for Blacks until the 1950-60s, when the civil rights movement started. Then the "new" word was "negro" or "colored", then "afro-american" in the 70s, then Black and African American.

    As far as the "chinamen" term, it has not been until recent that Asian Americans have started becoming more empowered and people more aware and sensitive to Asian American issues.

    One thing that I do find rather strange however, is that there is no real accurate term to describe an American of Asian decent. Asian American is the common term, but it implies that the person was born in Asia and moved here; much like African American doesn't make much sense either. However, Black is an accepted term, but "yellow" to describe people of Asian decent is also derogatory.
  13. musiknouveau

    musiknouveau Guest

    Jul 10, 2007
    I've looked your myspace page and to be honest, I can see why you would get a lot of negative response to the name and especially the logo.

    Some of the issues with the logo may be as equivalent as how some people may interpret the following image that is sold in many costume stores.

    Let me know if you'd like for me to go into detail. I'd hate for your band to get a response you weren't intending on projecting.

    Attached Files:

  14. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    The non-derogatory term at the time was "chinamen"; the more insulting term was "chink".

    It is also generally accepted that the Chinese were not liked by the White Americans at the time; exactly like the racism against Blacks. The Chinese railroad workers were lynched just as the Blacks were, not allowed to mingle or associate with the Whites, and they were forbidden to be in the photograph of the driving of the final spike in the RR.
  15. Point taken.

    I guess it's all a matter of where the line is. Like....would it be racist to wear a black afro wig as a prop in a funk band? Or if the band name was Chinese Food and the Frenchmen, would a beret in the logo be acceptable?

    Maybe it's time for a name change.
  16. Seems the same as calling someone from Scotland a Scotsman or someone from France a Frenchman. Are they considered offensive?? :confused: Where is the all knowing Morph when I need him :help: :cool:
  17. musiknouveau

    musiknouveau Guest

    Jul 10, 2007

    Taking history into consideration, some of the areas in the logo that suggest the "asian-ness" are stereotypical of some the racist costumes of "chinamen" that were worn during Halloween in the early 1900s. For example, the elongation of the whiskers and the slants in the eyes, the slight buck-teeth, and the rice-picking hat. These are all signature characteristics of these costumes. Maybe you can suggest the asian quality without utilizing all of these elements.

    Sorry to sound so critical but I do hope you the best. Maybe take out box with a French Bread/Baguette stickout out of it?

    Or a frenchbread logo on a take-out box?
  18. BadMonk

    BadMonk Enjoy The Ride

    Feb 25, 2006
    Bedminster, New Jersey
    When I was a young man in the '70s, I more than faithfully watched "Kung Fu" on television. That term was used a lot as a racial slur or in a derogatory sense. So, based on my research, yes it is an inappropriate term. By the way, I also own every season of the original "Kung Fu" on DVD.
  19. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    nice! love that movie.
    http://[malware url removed].net/vicious-smiley-1815.gif
  20. Vince S.

    Vince S. Resident Former Bassist

    Jan 24, 2003
    It's all in the historical context. I don't believe that Scotsman or Frenchmen were used as insults, unless someone of one of those nationalities can fill us in?

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