phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by Smokey Stover on September 03, 2005

In Reply to: Chinese posted by ESC on August 31, 2005

: : What is meant by the "Chinese" reference in "Chinese overtime" and/or "Chinese firedrill"?

: In previous discussions, there has been general agreement that it is an ethnic slur -- meaning that something that is Chinese is inferior, etc.

: Similar to "Mexican standoff," "Dutch treat," and so forth.

: You can search under "Chinese" in the archives to access those discussions. One is at:


I'm surprised that anyone would consider "gyp" to be politically incorrect, and not only because "gyp" comes from Egyptian, which the gypsies plainly are not. But let's get on. I firmly believe that many ethnic "slurs" become so only because some self-appointed guardians of the rights and respect due to this or that minority (or majority in at least one case) feel that to earn their own respect or followership they have to find something to bellyache about.

I went to high school in a town with a large Polish (and Polish-American) minority. A girl with whom I was friendly was named Pahuta. I asked her what the Polish name for a Polish person was and she replied, correctly, "Polak." I thought I was being careful and correct by asking. But at some school meeting or other I used that word, and was almost escorted off the premises. Miss Pahuta was also present, and seemed a bit bewildered that "Polak" caused such a todo. But now I think I understand the emotional satisfaction that people feel in being politically correct, and in correcting those who are not. SS