Saturday, 25 June 2011

Insulting yourself

I was a follower of a certain BBC celebrity on Twitter.  Recently, or at least from when I had started to follow them, they had been using the word "chink" or "chinky" to describe themselves in their tweets.  The first time I saw this I was taken aback; to my knowledge the word "chink" is a racially abusive term for us Chinese.  Now here is a well known British Chinese individual, who themselves have been subject to discrimination, labelling themselves with the same word!

It is known that some people in other ethnic groups use racist words to address one another to communicate comradeship and affection, but it does not appear to me that the celebrity is using these words in this way; it is as if they are trying to making an outward statement, publicising their heritage in an audacious manner that also smacks of indifference and avengment.  To brand yourself with the words of your antagoniser, is this not an admission of inferiority? A proud, bold display to everyone that you, and others like you, deserve to be discriminated against and that your antagonisers are justified in their actions?

I'm not sure how many other BBCs refer to themselves in this way, but if one is indeed proud of ones heritage, shouldn't one refer to oneself with a little more dignity?  In my opinion, to do otherwise is not only self-defeating and letting your antagonisers gain the upper hand; it also harms and brings down an entire population, many of whom wish to live their lives harmoniously in this multicultural society that is the UK.


2 comments: said...

I've asked said celebrity about this before (at least via Twitter) and have yet to receive a response.

Then again, 'queer' used to be an insulting word in the 1960s/70s, but now thanks to term reclamation, some people are grabbing the word and using it in their own way in a positive context, to try and take the sting out of the word.

Chicki peckpeck said...

Noted, I can see how word reclamation can be a good thing - like you said, it takes the negativity out of the word. But I think it works when a people or a culture are being subjected to extreme and relentless discrimination; reclaiming the word has a lot of meaning, especially when a great number of those people use it. But in this case I don't think that it has a meaning at all. The majority of British are not adverse to Chinese people, and I have yet to meet a Chinese person who is comfortable with being called a "Chink" - and by another Chinese person!