Latest "slant" on the news....

Censorship in Philadelphia? In the name of "brotherly love?"

A local cheese steak business is being squashed in the name of political correctness, because it is named "Chink's." (Apparently that was the nickname of the establishment's Jewish founder.)

Is "Chink" hate speech? This local writer thinks so, and he claims that a mere word like "Chink" is a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

....Chink's Steaks is illegal under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It outlaws segregation in public accommodations even if facilities are equal. The statute went further, by making it illegal for restaurants to keep "white" or "colored" entry signs up, even if patrons were not denied access to either. Chink's Steaks, which sends an inherent message of racial inferiority, is in violation of this antidiscrimination principle.
I am not sure the above legal analysis withstands scrutiny, unless it could be shown that there was an intent to convey a message of racial inferiority.

Increasingly, though, intent is completely irrelevant. All that matters is that someone felt offended. There doesn't even have to be specific use of offending words; even similar sounding words can lead to trouble. An example was the use of the word "niggardly" in the District of Columbia, which forced a mayoral aide to resign.

Well, what about the disappearance of Spic and Span detergent? People claim they can't find it on store shelves. I can't.

Is there a plot?

Procter and Gamble sold off Spic-n-Span in 2001. Apparently, there was no connection between the sale and the word police. Instead the issue was globalism:

when Procter & Gamble decided that Spic 'n Span no longer fit with its focus on global brands last year, San Francisco's Shansby Group purchased the brand.
Well, at least there's still a Spic-n-Span web site, refresh with clean-sounding music!

The product is, after all, more famous than the Vice President:

"Spic and Span has higher name recognition than Vice President Dick Cheney, but name recognition and goodwill do not immediately translate into ongoing sales and share growth," Mr. Flickinger said.
It is not for sale at my local stores.

Is Spic and Span doomed?

Are we on a slippery "slope"?

On the advice of my esteemed researcher Justin Case, I offer no opinion about "getting the chinks out of our armor"! Although this article maintains that "Chinks" were "showing" in South Carolina in November.

Journalists can get away with racism and hate speech, obviously.....

MORE: It seems that the phrase "illegal alien" will soon be considered "hate speech." Maybe even "terrorist." (But depending on the country, maybe not "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"?)


posted by Eric on 02.03.04 at 12:18 PM


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Eric Scheie, perplexed by the flap over the Philadelphia restaurant Chink's, observes: Increasingly, intent is completely irrelevant. All that matters is that someone felt offended. There doesn't even have to... [Read More]
Tracked on February 4, 2004 11:32 AM


Can Spick n'Span get out gook and grease?

J. Case   ·  February 3, 2004 4:16 PM

I won't step into your grease trap! (Although I thought you were too "yellow" to be leaving "dirty" comments.)

Eric Scheie   ·  February 3, 2004 4:39 PM

During World War II, two American soldiers spy a Japanese plane overhead: "There's a little nip in the air."

Brother told me that one as I recall. He also once wrote an anti-Japanese haiku:

"Small beady slant-eyes
Short and sneaky
With yellow skin.
Boy I hate you!"

Reminds me an old spy movie* I once saw. The American spies were prisoners of some evil secret organization out to take over the world, and the evil leader explained: "This eagle is trained to detect and attack Americans." The hero: "An anti-American eagle. Diabolical."

Which reminds me of a time when a bunch of friends and I were decorating a Christmas tree when one guy started singing: "Oh, come, all ye doubtful..." A girl remarked: "An anti-Christian Christmas carol!"

(*I think that called "Our Man Flynt". It starred James Coburn, who also starred in "The President's Analyst".)

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  February 3, 2004 5:03 PM

"That's real white of you." said the Klansman.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  February 3, 2004 5:06 PM

Is "Aryan supremacy" a white lie?

Some racists have tried to blacken Martin Luther King's reputation.

Writing this in English discriminates against people who can't read English. And it's on a computer screen instead of in Braille so it discriminates against the blind, too.

Better send only e-mail, which rhymes with female. Don't send any snail-mail because that rhymes with "pale male" -- the root of all evil. Guns are Politically Incorrect because if you pull the trigger that rhymes with...

Hmmm.... Our local newspaper, the Seattle "P.I." is often very "PC" in its editorial viewpoint, while I'm writing all this Politically Incorrect heresy on my PC.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  February 3, 2004 5:19 PM

Someone really ought to "nip" this thread in the bud, Steven!

Eric Scheie   ·  February 3, 2004 5:21 PM

Considering that the word "chink" is a perfectly innocent English word, I think you would have to prove that it is intended to be derogatory in the case of the deli's use. That seems to be obviously untrue here. Not that this would discourage people who are determined to see racism everywhere.

I refer you also to an incident where a middle school student got in trouble for using the word "gay" in conversation with another child, in an entirely non-perjorative context.

Anne Haight   ·  February 3, 2004 7:29 PM

Sorry about the racist jokes. I hope you realize that I'm laughing AT the racists, not WITH them. That's my sense of humor, such as it is, as I said: I laugh AT not WITH. It's precisely because those jokes are so disgusting and stupid and shitty that they're funny to me. That's my sense of humor, such as it is: disgusting and stupid and shitty.

Of course, I was also making fun of the Political Correctness, and enjoying the taboo element. In another age, I suppose jokes about sex would be funnier. I'm certainly enjoying the Archie Bunker-cum-Ayn Rand style of Mr. Arnold Harris of Mt. Horeb, WI, on Dean Esmay's blog. Extremely interesting thread on homosexuality there. Dean's World and Classical Values are my two favorite blogs at this point.

I'd better mention that my brother, who wrote that haiku, is really a liberal and not a bigot of any kind. He just has a good sense of humor.

Maybe my sense of humor is a little WASPish.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  February 4, 2004 2:15 AM

I'd better quit now. This thread was threatening to make this blog look like "The Corner". (Laughing AT not WITH Derbyshire, Dreher, etc..)

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  February 4, 2004 3:51 AM

Thank you Steven and Anne,

I particularly enjoyed a comment left at the post about the child disciplined for using the word "gay":

The underlying psychology (as expressed in the desire to eliminate an opposing viewpoint through linguistic manipulation) is the same.....

I completey agree.

Eric Scheie   ·  February 5, 2004 8:42 AM

Excellent! Dean Esmay had a thread on this about a month ago. He was quite outraged. A school trying to make a boy ashamed of his mother.

Steven Malcolm Anderson   ·  February 6, 2004 3:40 AM

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