Posted by Bruce Kahl on February 23, 2005
In Reply to: "Chinese Auction" etc posted by ESC on February 23, 2005
: : : : : : : : Hello -- I would invite comment one whether any of the following are derogatory. Additionally, what are the history of these phrases?
: : : : : : : : "Chinese Auction"
: : : : : : : : "Chinese Fire Drill"
: : : : : : : : "Chinese Parliament"
: : : : : : : : "Chinese Aviator"
: : : : : : : : Thanks in advance.
: : : : : : Yes, those types of phrases are very derogatory.
: : : : : : All those types of phrases, whether about Mexicans, Chinese, Poles etc, put the speaker above everyone else and these other people are inferior.
: : : : : : : : WGS
: : : : : : : as to wether "chinese fire drill" is derogatory I don't know, but it is used to indicate a mad dash for the exits. This meaning comes from the fact that fireworks are of chinese origin and any open flame around them is dangerous.
: : : : : Sitting in a McDonalds and my connectin got trashed as did my post:
: : : : : Yes, those types of phrases are very derogatory.
: : : : : All those types of phrases, whether about Mexicans, Chinese, Poles etc, put the speaker above everyone else and insinuate that these other people are inferior.
: : : : I don't know if I would consider "Chinese Auction" derogatory. Of course, I'm not Chinese so my opinion naturally counts for less. But the other "Chinese" phrases involve shouting and/or running around which would perpetuate a sterotype of confusion. In a Chinese Auction you buy tickets and place them in a basket in front of the item you're trying to win. If the auctioneer draws your ticket, you win the item. There's less action and involves less shouting and waving of hands than a regular auction.
: : : : Now a "Dutch Auction", where the auctioneer starts out with a high bid and works backward, and the winner is the first person to accept the bid, could be considered derogatory toward the Dutch if we remember the stereotypical cheapskate Dutchman who makes his companion pay for their own dinner when going "Dutch treat".
: : : A "Chinese Auction" is different from your usual run of the mill auction. It is unusual in the fact that your bids are put in a basket.
: : : Putting the word "Chinese" in a description is defining someone by a label or a confining parameter which reinforces the stereotype of anything "Chinese" as being odd and maybe a bit off kilter.
: : : Using negative ethnic or gender characteristics as metaphors such as "Chinese fire drill", "Mexican showdown," "Indian giver" or "Chinaman's chance." can lead to prejudice and hate.
: : I'm with you on "Chinese fire drill", "Mexican showdown" and the others. But when we have to look up the origin of a phrase to discover it's racist, the racism has been lost. I mean I play Chinese checkers with my kids and if I considered it a negative stereotype I would say something like "Special Checkers" instead. The Chinese language, alphabet, and culture really are *different* from ours, but that doesn't make it worse, necessarily, and as long as we understand that we shouldn't have a problem.
: Mexican standoff = http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/7/messages/375.html
Chinese checkers, chinese this or that. Same same.
It is more of a sneer, an accepted and quiet bit of racism.