Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chinks? You Gotta be Kidding Philly!

I saw this story in the WaPo today, I followed a link to a young Asian person's telephone inquiry. Judge for yourself.

Chink's Steaks


I just called Chink's Steaks, in Philadelphia.
Here is the conversation that I had with Cathy,
a Chink's Steaks employee.

me: Hello, I was wondering where your
restaurant got the name Chink's Steaks?
Cathy: The owner had chink eyes.
me: What?!
Cathy: Yeah, I think that's right- he had
slanty eyes.
Cathy (to another employee): Is that right?
Didn't he have slanty Chinese eyes?
me: Is the owner Chinese?
Cathy: No he's Jewish.
me: Are you aware of the connotation of the
word chink?
Cathy: No.
me: Are you aware that chink is the equivalant
to the racial slur nigger?
Cathy: No
me: Do you think the owner is aware?
Cathy: No
me: Is he the owner now?
Cathy: No, he's dead.
me: Who is the owner now?
Cathy: Joe
me: Okay, umm, thanks. Bye.

Chink's Steaks is located on 6030 Torresdale
Avenue in Philadelphia. You can call them at
215-535-9405. I am truly disgusted.


James C. Collier


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Heavy D! said...

Wow...just wow. That's racist. Really really racist. What the hell is wrong with people? And why is that restaurant still open?

Angry African said...

Maybe I should start a waste/trash management company called Trailerpark...

Anonymous said...

I think everyone in this country is getting way too sensitive to names and titles etc. Is it ok for black folks to use he word cracker when speaking of white folks - should Nebisco rename their saltine crackers?

James C. Collier said...

Anon 12:30, I think the distinction you are failing to make is that the derogatory 'Chink' was the original intention of the first owner. It exist for no other reason than to demean the Chinese, then and now. Your analogy to crackers is way off.

Anonymous said...

I don’t know about the cracker thing but can anyone substantiate that phone call even took place? It’s easy to point the finger and accuse but there also needs to be facts rather than assumptions. This is what Obama was talking about how one person say’s something and it gets taken out of context by others.

Ted said...

Angry African, I think it'd be better to call it "White Trash". ;)

James C. Collier said...

Anon 9:25, I think the WaPo article, including attributed statements by Joe the current owner, substantiate the content of the call, if not the call itself. Joe presents as thick-headed as the quoted employee 'Cathy'.

Anonymous said...

It's just a joke, chill out.
Only in the US do you find people so bent on ultra-PCness. In spanish black people are called black, white white, yellow yellow.. Same in french, probably the same in the UK.


Tom James said...

Welcome to the East Coast and PA.

lmb said...

Why is it so frequently the most patently offensive behavior and commentary that's reductively described as "just a joke"?

And then, when the attempted reducer is called on his or her idiocy in such an attempt, why does his or her (most frequently "his", although I find the adolescent and college-age stupid commentary to be, to my sorrow, more and more frequently "she") blood pressure go into the stratosphere?

Especially since we were *smirk* "only joking"?

Matt said...

What, you're reading people's minds and intentions thru the net now? Plenty of guys have enough thick skin and/or humor to poke fun at themselves and call their own restaurant, or name themselves in whatever medium (writing, drawing, etc) something like 'chink'.

And plenty of people have a chip on their shoulder and accumulate all sorts of crackpot evidence that there's a conspiracy behind every single instance of potentialy ultra-racist happenstance, in a very anal way often enough! haha

Only in the US is there so much effort put into this, and ironicaly only there do people keep the (mostly) black/white stigma going by 'trying to denounce it'.

Nice work.. Keep it up, it's your country.

Matt said...

And btw some of the very best humor is most offensive.. Get off your high horse lmb.

Anonymous said...

it's always fun when the comments are already here before i post. it's easily obvious to tell who each of the posters are and who they represent/defend. of course it was intended to demean asian-americans. ironically there was an article on philly.com a couple of days ago about a celebrity cheesesteak contest this restaurant was in (they came in 3rd).

being a former resident of philly for 20 years, i can tell you exactly what type of people live on that part (and most parts) of torresdale ave in Northeast Philly - just the kind of nabisco table snacks (in the spirit of being PC) you would expect there. yes they're racist to the core, always have been always will be. go up there and see for yourself.

if they weren't, by now they would have changed the name to something more agreeable. but since their general clientele are similar, no need to change it, right?

Big Steve said...

Anyone remember a restaurant chain named after a combination of the founders' two first names -- Sam and Bob => Sambo's??

James C. Collier said...

Steve: Sam and Bob used their names as the jumping off point to adorning their chain from the racist book. How does this relate to Chink's - a slander from the get-go?

Matt said...

Anon 12:06
You're right. The only explanation for any un-PC jest is evil.
The black copters are coming now, look out!

Big Steve said...

Hey Jim -- Thanx for your response.

I was seeing these two as being related because they both named their restaurants after themselves, even though the names were racist. You say that Sambo's "adorned themselves from the racist book" -- I don't know, I never crossed the threshold.

But what some people try to excuse as jokes, as 'using their own names', political correctness, or as over-sensitivity are actually hidden hate and animosity, that's fer damn sure...

Orchid said...

WOW, I am speechless. When I saw the picture I thought "come on, there's good explanation" and then reading the transcript just shut me up hard. Are people really THAT ignorant still in America? goodness... Do you plan on doing anything about the restaurant?

Terry said...

You know what? Call me racist2 if you'd like, but I live in Silicon Valley where Blacks are systematically discriminated by Asians. They get away with it by claiming they're minorities themselves although the 2000 census says that the whole state of California is 49% Asian. Black people need to quit defending people who won't even do it for themselves. Apparently the Asians; as long as they can own a business, get government grants for a business they have in the Black community and not pay taxes for 5 years and not contribute to the neighborhood they make a living off of also always come first in line before Blacks don't care about being called a "chink". Why would you even put any thought to it while they have enjoyed the fruits from the civil rights movement more than any other group. Can anybody point out an Asian in those pictures of any of the freedom marches? If they don't care about being called a "chink" why should you?

okay said...

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Look at the Rodney King riots in LA when Korean shops were unfairly targeted by the rioters. Asian people simply do not have the numbers to organize million man marches like blacks can. But, asians do try to fight for their civil rights. A few including, Mike Tagawa, had even aligned himself with the Black Panthers. Here is a picture of him at a rally: http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/tagawa.htm. If (some) white people can get away with calling asians "chinks", that opens the door to them using words like "wetback", "spic", "nigger", etc. Think about it.

okay said...

How does Chino's Steaks sound?

cel said...


Anonymous said...

Are people in America this ignorant? The answer is yes. I grew up in NE Philly, and there was and still is plenty of racism. So please stop with the nonsense of accusing people of being oversensitive and PC - arguments for and by ignorant people who fail to understand that other people have experiences and perspectives widely different from their own, just as certain words have different meanings for different people. Anyway, I think that there are lots of racist/ignorant people in this city, namely "white people," because they grow up socially programmed to believe that the city belongs to 'them' that America is 'theirs' and everyone else in the 'minority' have a lesser claim to such on account of their 'minority' position. All of this is in the end very amusing to me. The very people who live in these neighborhoods - people of Irish, Jewish, Polish, German backgrounds - were at some point in history considered to be 'minorities.' But they can all be considered under the umbrella term, 'whites.' It's consolidated power and constructed identity that aims to benefit certain groups while marginalizing others. And yet people say they are proud to be 'white' as if it actually meant something. Truly amusing.

Anonymous said...

Cool - you're not supposed to be here anyway

Anonymous said...

Asians deserve it- they consider white as the std of beauty. Asians have culture but the new generation abandons it to follow culture less whites - even Asian girls now wear skimpy shorts upto their butt level and smoke and sleep around like white girls. You reap what you sow.

Anonymous said...

All the white patrons of this restaurant are kloset klan members. The conservative types who put racist Obama stickers and justify their racism by saying oh... People are too sensitive or pc ... Blah blah blah.

Anonymous said...

I too am from N E Philly and that area is and was always extremely prejudice! I now live in Los Angeles California
And the people here are way more accepting of other races, cultures, and religions! I would definitely change the name of that restaurant, my wife and 3 amazing step children are Chinese and they are the salt of this earth, it would break my heart to hear someone call them a word like that! I was trying to find a really good authentic Philly cheese steak place, but will not be going there!

Hernanday said...

Sorry hard for me to feel bad, just got off a train 3 days ago to hear 8 university student chinese dropping the nigger word like it was going out of style, about their hatred for niggers and wanting to lynch and kill niggers, sorry they get whatever the white man gives them, not my fight. I don't see Asians marching for civil rights, if they want them, they can fight for it like blacks and hispanics did and get bit by dogs and shot and burned like blacks and hispanics did.

Anonymous said...

Asians didn’t arrive to the United States of America in great numbers until the 1960s. There was no way they could have participated in the civil rights movement then. Now if the movement took place there would be more of them around!