Talk:Chinaman (term)/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Article created

This article was created by splitting off content from Chinaman, and expanding upon it using sources already provided. As this is a controversial topic, please provide references when adding new content. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 03:45, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Since when was Chinaman considered slang? Some may consider it offensive or even archaic, but I don't think it's ever been considered slang. ElderStatesman 16:25, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
What should it be named in the parenthesis of the article name to differentiate it then? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 17:45, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
How's Chinaman (ethnonym) which is the most accurate description? It's definitely not slang, especially given its use in official and newspapering contexts. Chinaman (person) might also work and be more along wiki naming guidelines.Skookum1 20:43, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

If you recall there was an uproar in the political world when someone used the word "niggardly". Lots of people took offense. It's a fact that they found it offensive. It's also a fact that they found it offensive because they thought "niggardly" meant "niggerly". Similarly that's why this article is important. Some people should be aware that the term can be considered offensive, while others should be aware of the origins of the term and why it might not be considered offensive.

I'll work with you to create an article that makes sense, but I'm not going to waste my time in an Internet pissing match if you want to use this page to push your personal POV. I don't want a revert war and I'm referring specifically to the fact that you eliminated rather than editted my attempts to improve your article.

As above, I agree that it is a fact that many people think "Chinaman" is offensive. On the other hand, whether you like it or not a lot of people think Chinaman is not only inoffensive, the idea of changing the term Chinaman is offensive. I can spend a lot of time documenting this fact, but then you might be confused and think I'm trying to convince you that "Chinaman" isn't offensive and therefore reject any evidence which I produce.

So, you should understand I'm not trying to convince you of anything. If you find Chinaman offensive, so be it. I can't tell you how to feel. But it's a waste of time if you're going to try to tell me or others how to feel as well.

BTW, I personally think the "-man" suffix is complimentary. As I said in the article, this is a suffix which is reserved for ethnics near the nexus point of the English language ... and the Chinese. On the other hand, I don't doubt that you and others might be offended by the term. But that's all the more reason why I think this article is important. Perhaps, we can work together to shed light on this tiny controversy. If you want a revert war, have fun and then go work on the "niggardly" article. ElderStatesman 20:11, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

The -man suffix is a standard Anglo-Saxon/Germanic, as in "alderman" and "yeoman" or any of the Germanic-language derivations (in most of them -man is neutral in gender, or inclusive of all genders). One of the stock denunciations of Chinaman (ref. UseNet groups, repeatedly) is that the formation China+man is allegedly inherently derisive vs Frenchman and Englishman, because that formation should theoretically (allegedly) be "Chinese-man"...but it's fairly easy to see the pidgin alteration of that from "Chinee-man" via shortening of the vowel to "China-man", if pidgin is the origin of the term; its origins are very vague, though, as to whether it was of Chinese creation or, as is also possible, from maritime/sailor English.Skookum1 21:00, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Examples of non-offensive use

I found some last night and will post them here later, with cites, as examples of ways in which the word was used without being deliberately derisive, even though latter-day readers may sniff their noses at such usages; at the very worst they're ignorant, not malignant. Whatever; if there's a better place for such examples than here, let me know (WikiSource maybe?), but the format I'm thinking is to provide the <ref></ref> element on the page, including the (short) quotation in each case; or the quotation could be here? Seems like it's better to have it within the references....wish I hadn't taken certain history books back to the library (avoiding overdue fines) but I could always get them out again, and have others here's the first example:

"The famous gold rush of 1875 to 85 when the Chinamen took out millions out of the bed of the Cayoosh showed no impresion on the records of St. Mary's. The Indians and the Europeans are mingled with the life of the church during the entire period of 75 years, but the yellow man was not a Christian, not a mixer, not a spender. He took the gold from the placer claims, but he left none of it behind. Nor did he seem to come in contact with any part of the history of the church. His success, however, encouraged the development of the district, and prospectors fled to the hills to find wher the gold in Cayoosh came from" - Extracts from St. Mary's Parish Register, undated pamphlet , edited and compiled by Margaret Lally "Ma" Murray, Bridge River-Lillooet Publishing, Lillooet BC., quote in Short Portage to Lillooet, Irene Edwards, self-publ. 1976, pp. 195-196.

Now, you'd think that was a negative account, especially with the equally-casual use of "yellow man", but in those days both terms were still used very casually and without malicious/condemnatory intent; Murray was herself extremely pro-Chinese and held them in high regard (and not just because many were advertising customers in her paper), although she did have a never-extinguished hostility towards the Japanese - because of what she had seen them to do the Chinese during the bombing of Shanghai (see her article). Anyway, there are other usages of "Chinaman" in Edwards' book which I'll dig out; this one I remarked on as the first that jumped out at me since the article split, and it's a good example of "casual" use despite the "critical" context; Murray in other passages extols the Chinese for their hard work, thrift, ingenuity, and so on, so even if she uses a word some nowfind offensive, she didn't use it that way; and her Chinese readership didn't take it that way (in the '30s most of Lillooet's merchant community were Chinese; the Murrays raised tens of thousands of dollars from the local Chinese population for Chinese relief after their return from China and their very narrow escape from Shanghai.Skookum1 21:00, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

The observations about Chinese colonists not circulating the money they earned in the goldfields was a common thread in all histories of BC, and one of the bases for anti-Chinese immigration and labour policies; it's a truism of the time that inevitably has to be addressed on History of Chinese immigration to Canada, among much else that's missing from that article (esp. the gold rush section, which should be one of the largest/most important). Making this comment to point out the realities of the time which should be represented in Wiki articles, not suppressed as they so typicall are in academia (where complaints like Murray's are dismissed as being only "racism" when in fact they were an observation of the facts plain-and-simple). Very little of the gold taken from Cayoosh Creek was declared by the Chinese miners to the local gold comissioner, by the way, and does not show up annual gold revenues for the province in that decade; this isn't to say American or British-origin miners didn't also withhold their take, but not so blatantly or en bloc as was teh case at Cayoosh; historians, writing about anti-Chinese discrmination in the same decade, point at the expulsion of Chinese from the Tulameen a few years later but do not deign to mention thte Chinese having kept out miners of other races from goldfields such as Cayoosh and others (Richfield in the Cariboo among them), hence the resentments that led to Tulameen. The point is that much ethno-history about Asian Americans or Asian Canadians has been heavily biased, with nearly all comments or behaviour by non-Asians in those histories cast in a critical light, and the Chinese rarely criticized and/or their action which led to hostilities against them dismissed with a wave of the magisterial hand and a recitement of the magical mantra "racism"; the academics are the worst of the cherry-pickers, ignoring inconvenient facts and throwing judgemental/biased opinions over events as if those opinions constituted facts; certainly they get repeated that way, as with thet dictionaries aping the claim that Chinaman is "usually offensive" without also saying "but often inoffensive"Skookum1 21:32, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

"racial term"

I've renamed the article to "Chinaman (racial term)", like how Sambo (racial term) is named. Also, I would appreciate it if comments are made more to-the-point. If there are suggestions, please provide the sources and just state the point. I can't really reply to these long comments point-by-point. Also, please realise that the intro of the article does cover that it was not defined as offensive by an old dictionary. However, just the existence of usage itself does not mean it was not offensive. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 00:17, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

And just because people like you find it offensive, that doesn't mean that everybody always did, which has clearly been your position; examples of passive/casual use are legion; rar more than cites from the same period which say "Chinaman is a bigoted term". Easy to find such comments post-1970, but are such comments valid as cites for a period which did not have the same value system/worldview? Of course not, it's a latter-day prejuduce that demands that certain words be labelled "offensive". Just because it was used doesn't mean it was always offensive, whether used to give offense or, when heard, as giving offense. But your insistence on citations comes back on you here - now yo'ure obliged to cite "the existence of usage itself doest not mean it was not offensive". Would you care to cite an academic paper to that effect, or indeed concerning any such word? No doubt there are some, but whether that's valid argument or not still remains; and there's lots of academic papers with faulty logic, and bad evidence/readings of evidence too. Ma Murray did not use it offensively, the Chinese in town didn't take it offensively (and still don't), but somehow you're maintaining that, by default, Ma's usage of it doesn't mean it wasn't offensive. What a load of pretentious crock.Skookum1 00:42, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually, that acceptance of usage means it's not offensive seems to be a point you're trying to prove, so I believe the burden of proof is on you. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 00:46, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
No, the burden is on you to understand and accept the proof/arguments already presented, instead of maintaining they don't exist of have no validity. Further examples than the Murray one are coming; I know the reality of the situation and while I may have to demonstrate it, I don't have to prove it because it's established material, and there's tons of it (including those census records your new article makes no mention of, curiously). The burden of proof is on YOU to demonstrate that all these other usages were "offensive", either meant as such or perceived by the people described as such; such cites do not exist, and cites of "offensiveness" are only to be found post-WWII, much more like post-JFK.Skookum1 01:04, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Coming from you, I'm very sorry, but it's clear the pejorative choice of phrasing "racial term" seems meant to underscore the r-word, i.e. "racism". I don't see why the neutral Chinaman (person) or Chinaman (ethnonym) are les preferable to you, except for the agenda you have which clearly needs to see this word only in racial terms; I oppose this title change; why didn't you consult before going ahead with it, as in "what about Chinaman (racial term)?" as a proposition, not an accomplished fiat. I think it's unsuitable and since "ethnonym" means the same thing without the r-word taint, I don't see why that wasn't used even though it's far preferable (obviously, you'd think, but a lot that's obvious on this side of the Pacific apparently isn't on yours).Skookum1 00:37, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
"Ethnonym" is about as POV as calling it a slang, as that implies this is the proper term to refer to Chinese people. And using "person" is not accurate because it doesn't refer to any specific person. That would be a good redirect page for Mark Britten though. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 00:44, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

"Slang" wasn't POV, it was just wrong, and "ethnonym" doesn't at all imply that it is the "proper" term to refer to Chinese people; it simply means "name for a group" and has no POV connotations unlike "racial term". I'm getting used to your disingenuous and definition-moving, but it really gets comical sometimes. How can you claim that "ethnonym" is POV while "racial term" isn't? Sheesh.Skookum1 00:48, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

No, slang was correct usage. As the proper name would be "Chinese" or "Chinese man". Also, I wonder when you'll stop assuming bad faith. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 00:56, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
more misdirected insults/allegations that would be better directed against yourself. How can someone show good faith tro you when you pull stuff like using "racial term" instead of "person" or "ethnonym" or other possibilities? How can you expect good faith when you marginalize evidence of non-offensive use and concentrate on definition-entries which validate your position that this word is offensive? And in the 19th Century, "the proper name" would be either "Chinese (man)" or "Chinaman"; it was no less or more proper than anything else in those days. Wrap your head around that and consider your in-built biases. And change the damned name or I will.Skookum1 01:01, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

I didn't take out your post; it seems that I hit "save" at the same time you did, and somehow mine overwrote yours without giving me the edit-change warning; this has happened with myself and I know other poeple in the last few days; I know one big edit of mine on another page didn't show up at all because someone else had posted at the same time, and I didn't get an edit warning; must be something going on in Wikispace; either that or I accidentally select-deleted but I was only adding at the bottom of the open section of edit page, not anything higher.Skookum1 00:58, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

"Amd NO, "slang" is NOT the proper usage. It's not slang. It may be archaic, it may be rare, but it's not slang.Skookum1 00:58, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

If Chinaman is offensive, then what do you call someone from China? This is a serious question... I really would like to know how to refer to a Chinese person in polite conservation. I can say, "I met an Englishman today" so how do I say politely, "I met a Chinaman today." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 2007-03-23 04:28:49

Do you know the difference between a noun and an adjective? Why not Chineseman? Quite frankly I find this argument quite disingenious. Judging from the fact that the U.S. Congress excluded Chinese immigrants after that 1913 dictionary was published, you can tell racism was not a concern in the western world back then. 15:47, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
I think that Chineseman sounds kinda silly. But if that is the polite way to say,"I met a Chineseman today" then I will use it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 2007-03-23 16:00:59
So adjective+noun means the form is not offensive, and noun+noun means that it is? What's logical about that? Of course, with ethnic insecurities logic usually has very little to do with it. What this boils down to is the notion that "Chinaman" sounds discrminatory, while the lexically-identical "Chinese male" doesn't (supposedly, though in fact it's rather dehumanizing); there's also grounds to suppose that "Chineseman" imay be the root form of "Chinaman" (via the pidgin usage "Chinee" + "-man"). Makes sense to me, but according to the morally-righteous politicos who led the charge to have this name wiped off the map in BC, "Chinaman was invented by white people as a term to discriminate against Chinese people with", despite their being no evidence for such an outrageous claim (the quote is either from Victor Yukmun Wong or the even more high-profile Jenny Kwan). But truth and logic are not what's at stake here; it's ethnic pride, mischanneled into an assault on a rather innocuous and until-it-became-an-issue largely obsolete and disused word. That this word was widely used without offensive context is something certain parties around here can't wrap their heads around (I'm leaving out some adjectives here...) but it's true, and it's factual, and no matter how many times someone can look at the sky and say "it's not blue", it's still blue no matter what. And the same goes for the non-offensive contexts this word was widely used in; they're there and they are what they are even though people who need to find/declare them either irrelevant, or "still offensive", are clearly more concerned with being offended than with being objective.Skookum1 18:39, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

POV phrasing

This in the wake of the one edit comment "POV phrasing" - it's incredible that even in that first sentence you have tried to skew the POV concerning this word; in fact, I'd venture that you are unable to step outside your POV to write in an objective-language fashion; it's like in each phrase you need to underscore the condemnation of this word that you so ardently feel (and which is so inappropriate). Focusing on negativity is a feature of ethno-biased writers; objectivity is rarely a strong suit when ethnic-agenda tub-thumping is at stake; the point is that the language you have written this new article with is even more POV than the phrasing at the DAB page which began this latest round of controversy. You just can't admit that the other side even exists, or has a right to, do you? I'll be ready for "good faith" in your case when I see you write something that doesn't have your usual POV=flavoured "objectivity" running and when you've written something conscionable and non-condemnatory about uses like the comedian, the Murray quote, the census and marraige records usages, etc. But no, all you want to do is focus on the controversy in the media, as if that were all there were to know about this word. Try rewriting that first paragraph without the POV tone that's so obvious; of course you won't, or can't.Skookum1 01:15, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Provide sources for your additions. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 01:30, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
De-POVize yourself and your content-additions, and consider trying to write something about the cited material on non-offensive usages I've already provided; or perhaps you don't regard the US Census as a valid source?Skookum1 01:33, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Provide a source. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 01:35, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Pffft. Now I know you need a pair of those glasses ;-| Or did you just not bother to read this, which contains the refs to the US census files. Oh, and Ma Murray, she's cited right above me on this same page. What's your problem? Something in your eye? A little POV maybe?Skookum1 01:38, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Like I said, existence of usage does not imply that it's inoffensive. Nothing you've provided say that the term is not offensive. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 01:46, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Skookum1, whether someone needs glasses should not be part of a discussion on Wikipedia. Even if HongQiGong is a vandal, this kind of talk would still be considered a personal attack. Now my patience is wearing thin; please don't force anyone to block you. Thank you. Xiner (talk, email) 01:53, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
Asking for evidence, then refusing to consider it, is the real issue here; obstinacy as a tool-by-frustration of the cite-happy who can't admit cites they don't want to admit have any validity, but do. Mere name-calling pales by comparison to the disingenous passive-aggressive "if editing Wikipedia frustrates you, take a break" comment elsewhere, which is clearly patronizing in tone, especially coming from an editor who specializes in being frustrating and pretending to civility while meaning anything but; and insisting that other POVs are irrelevant, or somehow morally suspect or whatever...Is this an attack? No, it's said in my defense, as soft-spoken attacks are still attacks, and pretending that they're not simply because they're in "uncolourful language" doesn't make them any less so. The fact is that there's material/cites here that are being resisted/dismissed by people who don't want to read them, don't want to admit they mean what they mean, and are contemptuous towards those who disagree of them; yes, you see contempt in my previous comments; but they're response-in-kind, just said in more direct language than the attacks/unwarranted frustrating attitudes which engendered them. I don't find Wikipedia frustrating; I find Hong Qi Gong wilfully frustrating.Skookum1 19:03, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Skookum, this particular issue is not a content dispute, but it is an issue of your incivility and your personal attacks. We are expected to discuss and disagree without attacking each other. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 19:34, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

IP Address vandal

User: has only three edits in the whole of Wikipedia, all yesterday, all undermining this article and restoring it to HQG's preffered only-abusive POV. HQG is supposedly in HK and this IP address is in NYC, supposedly, but I'd still venture given the changes that it's at least a meat puppet account. If HQG wants to prove it's not him he could take part in patrolling further POV edits by such accounts, as one way to avoid guilt by association, though. That it might be just someone whose only interet was in looking up and "fixing" this entry is possible, but unlikely. What it does demonstrate to me that in the absence of logic, the restoration of illogic and untruth is sometime most comfortably achieved by people who can't or won't show their faces.Skookum1 17:27, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I found this page on recent page patrol the other day and have been lurking until now. Skookum, you cannot revert legitimate edits even if I'm a meatpuppet, especially when I've discussed it on this talk page and you haven't. And I'm not friend of anyone. My edits are not like HG's at all so your charge of vandalism is definitely not AGF. Thank you very much. 18:39, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm hostile to your unjustified reverts. Deal with it. The term is racist, deal with that too. 18:48, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Alright, guys, I've protected the page. Please try to reach a consensus on the talk page instead of the article page, because that's how Wikipedia works. Thank you. Xiner (talk, email) 20:29, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Except that the version you've locked in is the latest even-more-POV one than the version originally established by HQG. Yes, one POV is the other NPOV (that's the whole point) so the locked version should be at least somewhere in between the two, not firmly entrenched on the one, even harder, side.Skookum1 00:52, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry about that. I'd handed out 3RR warnings to both parties, left, and upon my return nothing had improved. The protection policy dictates that I cannot get involved in the content dispute, so if I'd tried to please anyone by modifying the article before protecting it, I'd have committed a cardinal sin. Xiner (talk, email) 03:19, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

And since I've no reliable way of reaching the IP, here's a message to that editor, who obviously knows the rules. Please note that both parties in the revert war have violated 3RR, which doesn't depend on what part of an article is reverted. Xiner (talk, email) 20:40, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

So this is what I get for taking a break from editing WP for one mere day. Skookum, I would appreciate it if you assume a bit of good faith once in a while. And give me a little credit. Why would I edit with an IP address to compromise my anonymity? Believe it or not, a lot of people take an interest in this term and by extension this article. You and I are not the only ones interested in editing it. Also, I have been nothing but cordial to you in our discussion and our content dispute. Can you please just disagree with others with a patient and level head? If editing WP frustrates you, then please, take a break like I did. Remember it's supposed to be enjoyable. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 04:42, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Compromise edit?

How about something similar to what is on Negro now or maybe something like this usage on "Jewess"[1] (before it became a redirect to Jew)? The problem is that it is hard to say defenitively how the term is seen. Obviously some sources will show that it is offensive and others will show that it is merely archaic.

Although I do agree that it is usually seen as offensive in the modern context, the sources used now don't really show that. The Asiaweek story says only that it is "offensive to most Asian Americans" according to MANAA but also shows that it wasn't considered that way by FOX. The "Chinaman's Peak" story says that it was considered racist by not how widely or by whom (although it is implied that it was mainly from the Chinese community). The fourth source says that William Yashino, Midwest director of the Japanese American Citizens League, thinks the term is offensive but it suggests that the Chicago Sun-Times does not. The Turner story shows that some Asian groups and "community leaders" were upset but it also has Turner saying that he was unaware that the word had a derogatory meaning at all. If anything, the sources show that the usage is not completely settled.

So how about something that says "Chinaman" is an archaic term which is often considered ofensive in the modern context? --JGGardiner 20:51, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I think that is a fair compromise.Zeus1234 21:24, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
"Often" vs "sometimes" was the source of all this latest quarreling; I think "sometimes" is far preferable. I'd even go with "generally" instead of "often", as in most cases of people using it nowadays that I can think of - in the bush towns, basically, or as a habit of speech among older BCers even in the cities (when again, when derision is intended the are other words). The core issue of the current edit war and the course of action by which this got split off from the DAB page is HQG's objection to the use of "sometimes" (vs. "often" or "usually", with of those two I'd have to say the former would be preferable....but it's like choosing between two ugly dates...). Even if "usually" or "generally" or "often" is a consensus vs the "sometimes" issue which HQG finds so objectionable (and that 4.x IP address interloper), if any of those qualifiers is used it behooves the article to contain also the exceptions and the "loophole items"; instances which were innocuously used but which remain offensive to people who find the word offensive, even though they were not used in offensive contexts; a prime example is that photographic caption on a branch-page of the Onderdonk's Way website (see item 40) where, note, in that case it's a promotional image on behalf of the company showing off their investment in housing (as it had been a scandal when tent-camp conditions were exposed); like the Murray example and the US census examples it's a case of use which the politically sensitive will at best denounce as ignorant, impuging that the people using the word are ignorant (instead of just speaking their own dialect/lingo), when in fact they were just using a commonplace and socially-acceptable word. Such examples are many, and so mainstream in pre-late 20th Century North America, and part of spoken culture in some areas to this day (though not broacast culture or official/academic language), so much so that to pretend, as has been the POV agenda here, that it's always offensive, always has been offensive, and only examples of its proven offensiveness are welcome as cites. Examples of inoffensive use have been pronounced irrelevant by HQG. No doubt he will also object to what I'd need to see added to what you've just suggested:
So how about something that says ""Chinaman" is an archaic term which is often considered ofensive in the modern context, although it was widely used in official and casual capacities with no derogatory intent (until the early 20th Century or whatever)?"
The POV agenda is that the inoffensive historical uses were not inoffensive, and that anyone still caught using it is an ignorant bigot, with the possible exception of the Chinese-American comedian and, oh, most of the multiple-generation North American Chinese descendants I know who'll happily quip it about themselves, or just shrug if someone uses it. Yet if it were so offensive, how the hell did it come to be applied to someone's political backer/mentor: That sounds more like a complimentary application to me; the Mark Twain quote somewhere above, or rather on the other talkpage, is another example of "laudatory use", where the C-word occurs in material extolling the successes or virtues of the Chinese. That has to be in this article; that the modern derisive context was not always the case, and the word was clearly used without derogatory intent; but bringing this up has been branded as "original research". Go figure. In other words, only POV-flavoured evidence is admissible, and any historical materials refuting such sweeping judgements are not allowed? Go figure As re the equivocation on why Gweilo is ok while Chinaman (racial term) is not (Gweilo's not even an English word - you'd think that title should be "Gweilo (racial term)", no? - take the quote from the Canadian Broacast Standards Council there and substitute "Chinaman" for "Gweilo" and also reverse/substitute the Cantonese/English and ethnic references, and see how one culture gets off with something blatantly derisive and negative in origin, while drubbing the other culture for a word that has completely innocuous origin, and despite widespread use-in-innocence, a campaign of censure against it has been conducted even though all judgments pronounced on it are based on perception, not even intent or etymology or anything substantial - except the complaint that it's offensive because they say it is (as also with Oriental). Chinese culture gets a free ride on Gweilo, it seems, while non-Chinese culture is taken to the whipping post for daring to speak well-known truths - truths for which evidence is abundant, and which more than one editor than myself has already observed concerning this topic. Refuting the truth by use of citations is an interesting process, although in and of itself it's also original research, i.e. etablishing a supposed definition-norm that does not countenance past contexts and meanings and denies any other meaning possible as a way of getting rid of truth when unable to reconcile it to one's perceptions; history/culture through censorship (see First Qin Emperor)t, and dangerous because the counter-citations that can surface. I don't clearly see how anyone can rationally read the Onderdonk's Way caption, or the US Census material, and what will soon be a lot more, as "offensive", but experience has taught me that reason is not how they're being received with, rather through jaundiced eyes which can only see prejudice where none was intended, or even indeed when there was none there at all (as in Mark Twain's or Ma Murray's or the census or the Onderdonk's Way caption). The only response to that puzzle is that people who need to find prejudice where none exist are irreconcilable to objectivity; while often crowing loudly about it, yet providing none, nor able to stand back and accept that the perspectives of someone else not only exist, but also have a right do the pieces of evidence which more than back them up. Skookum1 00:45, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

You know how to figure out if it's derogatory?

See if Chinese people or people of Chinese descent consider it derogatory. Just my input. I've had enough of revert wars for a while so I'll just hang on the sidelines & offer useful advice if I can. Nateland 21:54, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

The article says that the term is offensive to Asian-Americans... Is this a true statement? I would imagine that it would only be offensive to those Americans of Chinese decent. I doubt that Chinaman would be offensive to Indians who are Asian-American as well. Maybe we can be more specific then just Asian-Americans find the term offensive. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Looks like we also have a 72.* interloper, eh? :) Well, the article mentions a Japanese American who objected to the use of the term, so at least some non-Chinese Asian-Americans also find the term offensive. Whether we should try to narrow down the definition is something I'm glad I'm not involved in, but I hope everyone else will chime in as well. Xiner (talk, email) 02:31, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
The problem with qualifying how offensive something is that it is prurely subjective. The only way to find out would be to do a statistical study of people. Of course, this isn't possible, and so we have to resort to the next best thing. There will always be people that find things offensive, but are they reflective of the whole or simply a vocal minority? There is no way to find out. Therefore we have to resort to the next best thing and take into account both possibilities. This can be done with a statement such as "many people of Asian descent, in particular Chinese people, find the word 'chinaman' offensive." Zeus1234 02:53, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
"...but many people of North American culture (including some of Chinese descent) find it only mildly offensive and more quaint or hick than vicious, while historically it was widely used in the same context as "Chinese person" is used now".
Obviously not that long, but you get the point. Sure, many people of Chinese descent, and perhaps many of Asian descent (meaning East Asian, NB), but also most of the people who actually used the word did not do so to give offense, and used it without derogatory intent., and that it is commonplace in older publications and official documents without derisive context, and in some rural dialects and social contexts it remains acceptable, albeit again quaint.. THAT is that has to be included, albeit in cut-down form. That most people, e.g. Ted Turner, are not even aware that it is offensive is a good indication of how little its offensiveness registers on people; it's certainly not evident in a lexical sense, and at worst to most people it sounds old-fashioned or hick. It's nowhere near as vulgar as chink or nigger or kike, but there's this pretense that it is, that it is unredeemable, that past users and usages of the word were just offensive. Interesting, again, the double standard, that parallel condemnation of bigoted Chinese terms for Caucasians and other non-Chinese is a no-go; and born out by footnotes trotting out the excuses. The core point here is that "most Chinese people" are still not "most" people in the sense of "usually" or "often" that's implicit unless something is said about how other people do NOT see it as offensive, and its historical context as being different. I know I'm repeating myself but it's like hammering a nail. How many ways do I have to explain it? Even among North American Chinese, i.e. those whose families were here when this word was current, and all the social abuses which newcomers and types in HK like to bitch about against what a bastard whitey was etc, even they quite commonly do not find the word insulting and use it humorously - not just as in the case of the comedian or the native elder previously mentioned. Yes, it is officially opprobrium now, yes, it is p.c.-unacceptable, yes, it is in the canon of words (like coloured and Oriental) which have been pronounced taboo by the morally-righteous, but its presence in the historic record in non-offensive contexts cannot be undone no matter how loudly the thought/word police maintain that it is. Balanced language is all I'm looking for, and inclusiveness of the other perspectives on this word's usage; Hong may decide that Ma Murray's use of the word was offensive, but he didn't know her and has passed judgement on her because he insists the word is offensive, no matter how or why it was used or who used it. The problem is the ongoing retrenchment of the POV/offensive terminology in the opening (and also "racial term" in the title, which to me is inherently POV). There's so much more; it's not a question of whether some or many or most or few Chinese people find it offensive (i.e. of those that speak English), it's the general context where, even if it can be proven that most Chinese people find it offensive, that by extension does not make it always, usually, or any other kind of more-than-sometimes offensive. Hyperbolic bloat is a big problem with a lot of ethnic-suffering history, here as on other topics and re other cultures; but hyperbole is only that, and the notion that this word was always offensive, that all its users are offensive, that it is unredeeemable and can never have been used in any other way than how modern Chinese-history/rights people maintain is correct/acceptable - that's hyperbolic bloat. People used and use this word without malicious intent; if there are people like 4.nowhere IP address guy who maintain it's always offensive, I'm sure there's lots 4.nowhere IP address guy finds offensive because if you go looking to be offended, you'll always find it.Skookum1 03:14, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

And, please note - there are many people who are offended by words like "chinaman" being forbidden/declared offensive and by the re-fitting of the sociolinguistic landscape to cater to the offended, without considering who else is being given offense by consequence. Most older people I know who use the term, if corrected, mostly wrinkle their nose in distaste at the silliness of p.c.-ism; people don't like someone else coming along telling them how to speak the language they grew up with. As with the native langauges I spoke of where it's a word, local users in some areas are simply using from the context of their dialect in which it is not offensive, or as it worst folksy/humorous/old-timey. That other uses like the one from cricket and the other one from politics also evolved from non-derogatory contexts points to the inanity of how the claim it is always offensive really is; a house built on pretense and no recourse to the very facts it's built of; whether census returns or the adoption as a term for a political rainmaker (comparable to the adoption of mandarin in Canada, although that has a different context but a similar cultural-flatter intended). But even without that, the reflexive point that some people find it offensive that the word has been declared offensive is there to be chewed on; uncitable maybe (you'd be surprised what turns up in CBC interviews or Rafe Mair shows) but it's out there; p.c.ism has alienated a lot of people, and the obstinacy, narrow-mindedness and thick-headedness on display here are one of the reasons why.Skookum1 03:30, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Who considers it offensive

Please look at my last edit on this article[2], which has the version of the intro paragraph that I personally prefer. It says, specifically, that it is considered offensive and derogatory by "Chinese people and Asian American organisations". The sources we have include prominent Chinese people and Asian American organisations who object to the use of the word:

More sources can probably be found. But you'll notice that my version does not qualify how many Asian or Chinese people consider the term offensive. It doesn't say "most", "all", "some", "a few". This is deliberate, because we don't have a source to qualify this, and that's probably because not many credible sources have tried to be so far-reaching as to speak for the entire Chinese or Asian population in North America. My version is neutral on how many Chinese or Asian people consider it offensive.

Similarly, I would object to a qualification of how many people consider it not offensive. Weasel words like "some people" or "sometimes considered" needs to be backed up by credible sources, especially on controversial disputes like these. Now, we can add something in the intro to state that "it has been used without knowledge of its offensive nature or without intend to offend", as our sources say both NBC and Ted Turner are instances of these (or specifically, they said they didn't mean to offfend). More sources like that can be found, to be sure.

However, we can't take a source that treats the term with casual usage and then conclude that it was used without malice, unless the source specifically says so. Again, casual usage does not automatically mean no intend to offend. That would be an interpretation of a source and that would be WP:Original research. Please read the policy on original research. Unless we have a secondary source that interprets a specific casual usage of the term to be inoffensive in intend, it is original research for us as editors to come to that conclusion on our own. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 19:08, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Verdict on HGQ's post: disingenuous obfuscation. The control of universities and publishing by p.c.-ism means that, while the cites he points at are demonstrations of people who find or who have pronounced it offensive it doesn't mean that those studies/opinions have considered the historical usages or made any account for them, and likewise prejudices are at play in refusing to consider the colloquial non-offensive usages. There is nothing wrong with citations of innocuous/official usages as demonstrations of historical usages except that HGQ and the academics/politicians he cites find it inconvenient because such evidence was deliberately excluded and/or misrepresented, as it continues to be here. Original research? What research is there that says the official/semi-official usages were meant offensively, used offensively, that the word was offensive in the time that such usages were made? There aren't any, except for subjective value judgements by post-p.c. era scholars and politicos. The historical usages are what they are and have to be viewed in their own contemporary context; "interpreting" them is something HGQ is doing by claiming that they are offensive, when they clearly aren't. They aren't addressed in the cited offensive-POV materials, so can't be dismissed on that account; the only account they can be dismissed on is because they are examples of things they "studies" of this word have scrupulously ignored, or pretended they mean something they don't. What I'm calling for isn't original research; it's inclusion of examples which prove exxceptions to the citations made by those who are purportedly "research" but which really are all ONLY opinion/political articles. They are not scholarly linguistics/lexicography materials, but political tracts.Skookum1 19:17, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Three things:
1. The version at my last edit does not once state that it was considered offensive historically.
2. It also does not state that it is offensive, period - only that it is considered offensive by Chinese people and Asian American organisations. And it is also neutral on how many of such people consider it offensive.
3. We have no sources so far to state that it was always used in an inoffensive manner in the past. We only have cases of casual usage in the past. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 19:27, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Skookum1, what I see is a very wide range of opinions, and POV from both sides, so claims about "disingenuous obfuscation" should be left aside. Please. Xiner (talk, email) 19:29, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

In my view Hong's assemblage of cites "proving" that some groups find this offensive, as if ALL people found it offensive, is WP:Original Research, especially in its conspicuous ommission of ANY non-offensive usages, including the cricket and politics ones which should be mentioned on this page. His assemblage of condemnations of the word is just as much original research as the assemblage of historical items I've provided which he maintains have no place in the article as they're "original research". No, they're research, and if the sources he cites didn't bother to research that material adequately and/or honestly, that doesn't mean that the evidence they dismiss/ignore is off limits. There should be a section before the "controversy" section on Historical usages and ways in which the word became transmitted as such, including into Ktunaxa and other aboriginal languages (where it remains in the curriculum/dictionary), and ways in which white people used it "unaware of its offensiveness" which I've come up with cites for are legitimate content here, NOT original research. No more so than a selective compilation of cites from politically-flavoured organizations/commentators whose own research is, again, more an opinion/condemnation than any honest examination of the historical materials. The historical materials are what they are and exist whether Hong wants them to or not, and they should be in this article whether or not Hong's prejudices need to denounce them as "original research". They are not original reseach, they are HISTORICAL FACTS. This "Historical Usages" section, after commenting that the word was widely used without derogatory intent, including in official use, there could also a discussion of the truly-derisive forms like "John Chinaman", "John" and more explicitly mocking terms like "heathen chinee", "yellow peril" et al. A further comment that modern judgements of those historical/official usages have pronounced them all offensive even though their users never meant them that way, and contemporary Chinese in the 19th Century cannot be shown to have considered the word offensive. That is PURELY a post-WWII conceit, and has no historical basis; only politicized pronouncements from the age of political correctness. Imposing modern values on the people and language of the past is ORIGINAL RESEARCH as well as a-factual. It is also only opinion - being based on value systems, not on concrete lexical or documentary facts - and so is inherently subjective to start with. But p.c. people are like all religionists; all who disagree have no right to speak because they do not share the same moral superiority as those of the p.c. true cloth. No wonder the general public finds p.c. language/attitudes so disgusting; it's the arrogance of its perpetrators and their one-sided logics that has caused a public revolt against the control/censorship of language by the self-touted moral standard-bearers of the indignities of the supposedly oppressed. Is that an attack? No, an observation on the mores of the self-proclaimed arbiters of public behaviour and language. The historical examples remain legitimate, and should be included in the article whether Hong Qi Gong wants them to be or not. Hong Qi Gong is not the pope.Skookum1 19:50, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

There should certainly be a section on historical usage in the article, as the current citations are all very modern, but can we try to reach a compromise on the opening paragraph first? That's where the edit war began, AFAICT. Xiner (talk, email) 19:57, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Again, the version at my last edit does not state that all people, or even all Chinese people consider it offensive. It is neutral on how many do consider it offensive.
    • The cricket and politics usage of the term is not used to refer to a Chinese man. That's precisely what the DAB page is for. This article is specific for its usage for a Chinese man.
    • And also again, we only have sources that use the term casually, but no sources to say that it was used without malice. We cannot conclude on our own that historic casual usage means that the term was not offensive. That's an interpretation of our sources and that's original research. And please note, like I said before, that the version at my last edit does not state once that it was offensive historically. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:05, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
You also can't claim that it was offensive when there are no cites proving that it was, i.e. cites from Chinese people, organizations, embassies and others from the period stating that these usages were offensive. Your claim that they were offensive anyway is WP:Original Research and latter-day subjectivism; pointing at post-WWII articles to "prove" that 19th Century usages were offensive, or "can't be shown not to be offensive" , is a prime example of your favourite, WP:Weasel words.
A Historical Usages section is totally and validly needed; it's HQG who apparently doesn't want there to be one. And yes, the opening line was the source of the edit war - and the title remains too POV flavoured obviously (to those with the differing POV, if not to HQG who'll just point at his dictionary entries again). But I've provided more than enough references to historical examples usages, and the spin-off usages (cricket, politics, native languages) which are definitely non-offensive but - er, how is this possible? - still acceptable. I'm bored with this for now; maybe if you (Xiner) would care to take a stab at a draft Historical usages section it might be more palatable to the thought police.Skookum1 20:09, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Like I said before, the version at my last edit does not state that it is offensive, period. It only states that Chinese people and Asian American organisations consider it offensive. That these groups of people consider it offensive is backed up by sources provided in the article. Also, I have never said that I'm opposed to a section on historical usage. And once again, this article is specifically for the term's usage to refer to a Chinese man. Other usages is precisely what the DAB page is for. And another thing that I've said already - there are no sources to say that the casual historic usage was done without malice. That's an interpretation of sources. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:20, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
There are also no sources to state that the usages in question were done with malice, and given AGF that's putting the burden of proof on the negative view of such usages, which cannot be cited except with reference to opinion/political material from long after the period. The usage "John Chinaman" was derisive and seen as such, and used as such. In the cases shown there is no evidence from language or tone, even in the Murray case, to suggest that those usages are pejorative; it is that that needs to be cited, i.e. interpretations of those sources as negative, not taking them - as should be - at immediate face value and in good faith as straightforward usages with no ill intent. You're claiming that there is no proof for that (and that a straight reading of the material cannot be taken as meaning anything, no matter how innocuous the text in question), so it's OK to assume or even suggest they were negative anyway without providing any citations for that. Assume Good Faith applies also to sources, and I can't say that it's displayed by many of the sources you've provided for the offensive-only position, which are all condemnatory in tone/purpose to start with, and do not deal fairly, if at all, with the other usages which, as you may note, continue to pile up on the disambig page. The offensive-only position espoused by your citations cannot be borne out by the real-world evidence of other usages which are not so easily condemned; that includes current usages (like the porcelain catalogues) as well as the historical ones.Skookum1 00:21, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Skookum, I agree that no sources have been discovered to state that historic usages were done with malice. That's why I haven't been suggesting that we insert such a statement. Again, my preferred version does not say that it is offensive, period. It only says that Chinese and Asian American organisations consider it offensive. There's a huge difference. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 03:55, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I suggest that we move away from the discussion of whether there was a racist undertone in historical usage, because Hong has agreed to word it such that it does not proclaim such a meaning. I thought JGGardiner's suggestion was a good start. Let's see another proposal for the first paragraph and start working on it.
Because of the protection policy, work on a "Historical usages" section cannot start until this article is unprotected, and all it takes for that to happen is an agreement on the lead. Xiner (talk, email) 20:25, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Right. Look at the version I left it at 2 days ago, I linked it at the top of this Talk page section. Nothing in it says that it was offensive in historic usage. And it doesn't wide-reachingly state that it's offensive, period. It only states that Chinese people and Asian Americans consider it offensive, backed up by sources. It does not even state how many of these people consider offensive. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:30, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
But there was nothing to state that the historical usages were, to their users, not offensive, or were not always so at any rate. Not saying that leaves it as though by saying "Chinese people and Asian Americans" (and presumably Asian Canadians) find it offensive, everybody did; or that by implication/generalization all Chinese people find it offensive - but all is uncitable, generalizations are not allowed, and so even in the case of "Chinese people" the qualifier "some" is needed; unless a cite exists which proves that all Chinese people (including non-English speakers) find it offensive, the qualifier "some" is needed. As for "Asian American" (sic Asian Canadian) the application of that term to mean East Asian is inaccurate; it's yet another misnomer created to replace older "offensive" words but which itself is entirely inuccurate; especially because "Asia" pretty well much originally meant the Persian Empire. "Asian American/Canadian" is a misnomer, and once again it has to be shown that all such people find the word offensive, or else "some" should be included, unless a citation can be provided to show that Pakistani Canadians, Bangladeshi Ohioans, and Arab or Anatolian Greek (from Asia) Michiganites also find the word offensive. "Some" is required in the introduction, even if "Chinese people and Asian Americans" is stated; I'd also venture more accurate would be "Chinese people who are English-speaking", which is even more precise; but still within that group it cannot be cited as being exclusively or even generally offensive. It can be stated only that academic and political organizations have denounced the word; that can be cited, but by extension those cites cannot be used to claim that the word is offensive, i.e. in a general sense or to all people, Chinese, Chinese-American or otherwise. I'm curios as to what Filipino and Indonesian Americans may refer to Chinese people with (because I know I've heard Filipino and Indonesian Canadians say "chinaman", albeit not usually in a complimentary context - yes, they do use it as offensive...but then again technically they're not "Asian Americans" but are really "Pacific Islander Americans". The issue remains, "some" or "all" notwithstanding, that there are abundant examples of inoffensive use, or unintended-as-offensive use, and NOT mentioning these is dishonest, especially sicne they're clearly visible even on the disambiguation page.Skookum1 20:45, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
The version that I would prefer does not state that all Chinese people or Asian people consider it offensive. It is deliberately neutral on how many do. I have to disagree that "all" is implied here. We also have no knowledge that the same people do not find the term offensive even when used to refer to other things besides Chinese men. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:53, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I think Filipinos and Indonesians are considered Southeast Asians rather than Pacific Islanders. Anyway, Hong, could you post your version here, just so everyone else doesn't have to dig up the link? Thanks. Xiner (talk, email) 20:54, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
It's at the link right at the top of this section. But here - [3]. What I suggest we do is add something like this in the intro - "The term has been used without knowledge of its offensive nature or without intend to offend" - this is backed up by our sources for Ted Turner and NBC. I also suggest we add a section about historical usage. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 21:03, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

The real problem is that it is impossible to find any shred of evidence to state that someone finds something innofensive. For example, if I asked a chinese friend if he found 'Chinaman' offensive, and he said no, would this be enough evidence to say that only 'some people' find the term offensive? People don't go around making statements about something the aren't offended about, and therefore there are no sources to support mine or Skookum's view. You can't simply state that 'Chinese people find it offensive' there needs to be something like 'many' in front of it, because there is no way of telling that everyone is or isn't offended by a word.Zeus1234 01:00, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, there is, Zeus1234. Find an Asian group that says that it's not offended by the term! If it's such an innocuous word, somebody must feel compelled to say to his bethrens, "don't make a fool of yourself by protesting a mere word"! 01:56, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Zeus1234, my preferred version is neutral on exactly how many Chinese or Asian Americans find it offensive - only that there exists people from these groups that find it offensive. And if you'll see my proposed intro below, it's worded specifically to say that they "objected to the use of the term as offensive", instead of that they "consider it offensive". Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 03:47, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Title of the article

I'd like to point out that there is an articled called "Evolution (term)" on Wikipedia, and it's probably a good model to follow here. But please don't let this distract you from the more important issue at hand. Xiner (talk, email) 20:42, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Do you mean we should rename the article to "Chinaman (term)"? Or is there a discussion you can point me to for a better idea of how to name an article like this? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:43, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, articles about words are often titled as "... (term)". Now, there is Evolution (term) and Evolution (philosophy), just like there's Chinaman (term) and Chinaman (cricket). At least I see a parallel there. Xiner (talk, email) 20:51, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

The opening line of the ethnonym article is:

An ethnonym (Gk. έθνος ethnos, 'tribe', + όνομα onoma, 'name') is the name of an ethnic group, whether that name has been assigned by another group (ie. an exonym), or self-assigned (ie. an autonym). For example, the ethnically dominant group in Germany are the Germans, an exonym carried into English from Latin; the Germans refer to themselves by the autonym "Deutsch".

Note the phrase "whether that name has been assigned by another group (ie. an exonym), or self-assigned", or self-assigned (ie. an autonym)" means that "ethnonym" is perfectly acceptable here, despite HGQ's complaint that Chinaman is not a "proper" name for a people; doesn't matter, it's still an ethnonym, and the jury is out as to where its origins point to, exonym or autonym (somewhere in between, I'd say). So Chinaman (ethnonym) which I originally proposed but which was summarily dismissed without valid reason (esp. ironic when by someone who likes to use definitions), remains viable; Chinaman (person) may also have some antecedents elsewhere in Wikipedia. Myself I think the easier thing to do here would have been to keep what is now the Disambiguation page as the main article, with the Disambiguatino page properly titled as Chinaman (disambiguation) as it should have been from the start, once this article was split off. There's no need for anything in parantheses on this article if the DAB page is relocated.Skookum1 20:53, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

According to, "ethnonym" is the proper name of an ethnic group. Also, this seems to be somewhat of a new term, as I can't find it on some other online dictionaries, and it's also not in my Oxford dictionary. I'm not sure why you object to "racial term" when "ethnonym" is acceptable to you. I used Sambo (racial term) as a precedent. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 21:00, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

That's presupposing (as you do) that Sambo and Chinaman fall into the same category (they don't, their history and contexts are entirely different). Again, I see no reason why the article can't be the main page, and Chinaman (disambiguation) can be the "other uses" page - as is so often the norm; a Wikisearch should go to the main article/term in most cases, not to a disambiguation. How many of the wikilinks pointed at Chinaman are in reference to cricket or Indiana politics? No, they're all to the main meaning/context, and so that should be the primary target. Other than that the use of the r-word is the POV issue here; point to yet another r-word usage (created by you) to validate it is redundant/self-serving. "Ethnonym" as defined by its Wikipedia article, which sources dictionaries as well as other sources, is not for "proper" names for people, but includes exonyms; and this may be originally an autonym anyway; it can't be shown to be either, therefore it's an ethnonym, PERIOD. But even that shouldn't be needed in the title if the disambig page is properly dealt with.Skookum1 21:07, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Sambo has three meanings: martial art, race, and slang for sandwich. Skookum1's suggestion seems to avoid the question altogether, and it doesn't violate WP:MOS because the term "Chinaman" most frequently refers to the racial usage anyway. Xiner (talk, email) 21:13, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
To the ethnic usage; the presumption that it's a "racial usage" implies that its usage is POV; that's not its primary use, but its primary criticism. It was so much the standard ethnic term, without negative connotations, that it was accepted into other languages, and also had sufficiently a non-negative sense that it could be used to refer to a a political senior/mentor. The position that it is a "racial term" is in and of itself POV, given the weight of counter-evidence and the facts of its primary use (not the facts of the criticisms/condemnations of that usage).Skookum1 21:19, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure how "racial term" implies POV usage any more than "ethnonym" does, in that I don't think it implies POV usage at all. But I agree that we can rename this article to the "main" article and rename the DAB page with (disambiguous). Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 21:26, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

See, I knew we could find a common ground somewhere. Now, if anyone else disagrees with the proposal, please speak up. Xiner (talk, email) 21:43, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

chinaman figurine usage

Well, since the citation-happy just had to remove yet another inoffensive usage from the Dab page, without bothering to search for it, I did the easy thing and googled; and look what I came up with in addition to the listing of catolgue entries for "Chinaman figurines" now on Talk:Chinaman:

I imagine that those who need to will paint the usage "Chinaman figurine" is "racial" or even "racist"; clearly it's not, and it's yet another example of the non-offensive uses the offensive-use only camp wants to deny exist. Deny exist to the point of deleting mention of them, rather than looking them up.Skookum1 21:54, 24 March 2007 (UTC) Like the comedian Hong also deleted until confronted with his existence, there's also *The Chinaman China, Crystal and Gifts - no sign on their pages if the proprietor is chinese, or the reference in the store's title is to the figurines. On second/third thought this is probably from the British usage for a dealer in chinaware, and leads me to wonder if the pronunciation in that should be "China Man", i.e. with the two words pronounced separately. I suppose emailing the store and asking the provenance (and pronunciation) of their name might be the way to go, partly to establish the British usage, if that's what this is.Skookum1 22:05, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Sub-note on the now-validated Chinaman (figurine) article; this may already have some kind of mention on Chinoiserie, since Chinaman figurines were a big part of the emulation of Chinese culture and arts in the West that the whole porcelain industry is all about, and which was central to chinoiserie; not just the big vases and tableware, but the little figurines were meant as cultural compliment, they're often very humanistic in nature, and nothing derisive about them. Yet they are called "chinamen" and "chinaman figurines" without malicious intent, as are, when discussed, images of Chinese people when portrayed on the tableware, vases or in statuary etc (cf. most editions of the Antiques Roadshow, where you'll still here some of their antiques analysts use the term very casually, and again without ill-intent.).Skookum1 22:17, 24 March 2007 (UTC)


Also notable is the caption from the Menzies book 1421 about Tseng He (sp? name?) et al using "chinaman" as used on the "evidence" page (search "chinaman" on that page) for the summary of that very recent book's own promotional site. The "fault" of his editors, apparently, but example of even a noted Chinese scholar/writer still using the term unabashedly, albeit in its historic context (as with the Onderdonk's Way catalogue from the BC Archives).Skookum1 22:10, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Skookum1, you have a habit of discounting every voice that says the word is racist now for intellectualism, elitism, or whatever. 02:00, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
No, I'm just really good at finding all the references that aren't racist and which like other people here (Zeus, Keefer) I knew existed (and which in fact are all over the internet for people who go looking without their ethno-ideological blinkers on anyway). Your denial that such usages exist is shoved back in your face (see above); if you want to pronounce it "elitist" and "intellectual". those traits are the turf of political organizations and the academic cabals behind political-correct "neutralization" of languages. They can rewrite the present, and try to rewrite the future, but try as much as they like they can't rewrite the past. They can object if somebody comes up with a cite for it, though, but they can't get that cite erased, no matter how much it disproves their ongoing and widely-promoted LIE that this word is always racist. That may not be HQG's position, but it's certainly yours, oh nameless-I'm-too-good-to-have-a-user-name person.Skookum1 19:07, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Attempt to satisfy everyone

"Chinaman" is an archaic term that refers to a Chinese man. It was at one time a standard English term similar to Dutchman or Welshman, and was not defined as offensive by the Webster's Dictionary of 1913. However, modern dictionaries do find it as offensive, and controversies have arisen even when it is used without an intent to offend. Xiner (talk, email) 22:37, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

I would prefer this:

Chinaman is an outdated term that refers to a Chinese man. It was, at one time, a casual and standard English term similar to Dutchman and Welshman, and was not defined as offensive by the Webster's Dictionary of 1913. Today, Chinese people and Asian American organisations have objected to the use of the term as offensive, and it is defined as such by modern dictionaries. However, the term has been used without stated intend to offend or knowledge of its offensive nature.

Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 23:05, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

An aside: worth noting that neither Welshman or Dutchman are the proper names for those nationalites (Cymraeg and Nederlands/Hollander, if from the province of Holland, that is) and, in fact, Dutchman in English is, other than being more correct as "Netherlander" (rarely used of course); but in frontier English, as I've explained before, "Dutchman" more commonly referred to Germans and other non-French, non-English Europeans (excepting Scandinavians who were "Swedes", often if they were Norwegian or Finnish - guaranteed to be very offensive in those cases btw); actual Dutch were relatively rare in the West, or I should say in British Columbia because I'm not sure about California and the PacNW/Mountain States. After WWII they're all over the place esp. in BC, Bill Vander Zalm most of all) but in the days of the gold rush and the railway they just weren't that common; not sure why; point is that "Dutchman", in reference to a German, is another mis-usage; one that the Germans seems to have accepted, and perhaps in their own speech in the local argot made a point of saying "Deutschmann"). "The Welsh" and "the Dutch" have equivalent as "the Chinese"; the equivalent of Welshman and Dutchman, as noted, is Chinaman. Why the one is derisive and the other not still has never been satisfactorily explained or justified by thowse critical of the term, including all of the organizations which have beat the tub over it in recent years (to the effect that lately even the EBay catalogue avoids using it, despite it still showing up there in googlesearch(metatag?) form).Skookum1 00:30, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, can we leave the asides for later? Of course if it's part of your complaint about my proposal, please feel free to say so without the "aside" tag. As for whether the term is offensive, if the 1913 Webster is a valid reference, then so should modern-day ones? Xiner (talk, email) 00:33, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
No, the aside was in reference to the idea that Chinaman is not a "proper" ethnonym; the explication of Dutchman was, yes, a side issue, but a demonstration of how something incorrect, and even in fact sometimes derisive, can be OK even though it's incorrect (whether used for Netherlanders or Germans). As for the modern-day ones, other than the dictionaries the only thing they prove is that there is latter-day criticism of the word; they do not constitute proof of its offensiveness per se, only that some people hold it to be offensive; as for the dictionaries, only some of them say that it is offensive, or if they say anything like that they qualify it with "sometimes" (there's that word again) or its equivalent:
Some modern dictionaries say that it is offensive, while others do not. more like it, plus:

In the later 20th Century, certain groups and academics have condemned the term as racist/derogatory/offensive, or more specifically the term became controversial and efforts to ban its use were begun in the later 20th Century, when certain groups and academics began to criticize the usage as "racist" and "offensive". The term remains in use as a self-reference by authors, comedians [more than one tells Chinaman jokes] and musicians [there's more than just that rapper...].
The existence of the condemnations of the word are all that is proven by those cites; not that the word is in and of itself inherently offensive; if it was, it wouldn't be being used in cricket, in antiques dealing, or for that matter in the caption a plate in Menzies' 1421.Skookum1 00:49, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

I am in full support of Xiner's compromise, although Hong's suggestion is tolerable as well. I would support either.Zeus1234 01:03, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, I'm not. I want my sentence "Immigration Act of 1924 showed that anti-Chinese feelings were widely accepted in America" to stay in the article, at least in a History section. If Skookum1 can use excuses to avoid condemning the word, so should I be able to tell the full story of anti-Chinese racism.
You know, Skookum1, I wouldn't shed a tear if the page isn't unprotected, so if you want to keep arguing for argument's sake, and not compromise one bit, that's fine with me. 01:58, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Chinaman is an outdated term that refers to a Chinese man. It was, at one time, a casual and standard English term similar to Dutchman and Welshman, and was not defined as offensive by the Webster's Dictionary of 1913. Today, Asian American organisations and others have objected to the use of the term as offensive, and it is defined as such by many modern dictionaries. However, the term has been used without stated intent to offend or knowledge of its offensive nature. With the cites we have, that's about all that can be said conclusively. Note that this is close to Hong's suggestion, with a tweak to allow 'not all dictionaries', and to verify that sources cite organizations who hold this term as offensive, and it's difficult to conclusively (and verifiably) establish the extent of the Chinese and Asian populace that does, although obviously a great deal do. But again, verifiability. --Keefer4 02:31, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

As for User:'s input. I think it's a valid and useful inclusion on the broader article Sinophobia, but doesn't seem to relate directly to this term's encyclopedia article (a link to Sinophobia within however, would seem sensible).--Keefer4 02:41, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it's a good idea to say that "many" dictionaries define it as offensive. Basically because we don't actually know that. The article provides 8 online dictionaries that define it as such, but there are a lot more than 8 English language dictionaries in existence. I think we should just say that "dictionaries" define it as offensive without saying how many do - that's the most neutral thing to do. It doesn't say "all", and it doesn't say only "a few". Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 03:36, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Please note that Standard English is a controversial idea itself. I'd say "It was used at one time to refer to Chinese men in casual contexts, similar to Englishman or..." Xiner (talk, email) 03:44, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm ok with stating that it was "casual" usage without mentioning whether or not it was also "standard" usage. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 03:49, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
"Many", also doesn't say "all or "a few", and just "dictionaries" does imply all, which might be the case these days. I havent checked 'em all. But casual context-- then extends to dictionaries and newspaper usage at the time? Their common use of the term back then, would exceed casual usage. Any ideas? "Casual and common"? Of course how does one define "common"... but for that matter "casual" too?--Keefer4 03:57, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, if it was really used like Englishman or Welshman, then it had to be more common than casual, because Englishman can be used in formal texts. Xiner (talk, email) 04:07, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
NB so could "Chinaman", as in the case of court records, census materials and most histories and journalistic arenas until a certain point in history where it was pronounced taboo - whenever that was (and it would be an interesting date to establish, but something for OED researchers to do, as with the original provenance/oprigin, which remains uncertain). Re the court records I just did an archives-wide search at the British Columbia provincial archives which has various entries, appended in a new section below but many of which are official memoranda and other correspondence and files which use "Chinaman" as a standard, generic term (see below); the non-official materials include film transcripts which are also of interest (for now I've only compiled extracts from the officialesque pages, which are from the "Textual Records" search area of the Archiges). Chinaman could be and was used for "formal texts", whether government/officialdom or in regular writing, whether journalistic, diarists or whatever.05:59, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I have to disagree that just "dictionaries" imply all. And the word "many" here would be a weasel word. Please see WP:Avoid_weasel_words#Examples, the second example of weasel word usage says: "Many humans practice cannibalism. (Cannot be disproved: "many" could just as well be three)". What if we say that it "has been defined" as offensive instead of "is defined" as offensive?
And truth be told, I wouldn't mind if we even stay away from saying that in the past it was used "casually", "commonly", or as a "standard" term. You have basically highlighted the problem with such wordage, because it really borders on interpretation of sources. But in an attempt to satisfy NPOV, we should try to include something about how it was used in the past. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 04:09, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
"Humans eat meat", or "many humans eat meat"?. It was not intended as a weasel word suggestion and if it was interpreted that way by anyone, I apologize. The examples listed at weasel words are not all-encompassing nor can they, reasonably be broadly applied to every usage of the word "many" to define an indeterminite number. "Has been defined" makes sense to me, as does your point about casual, common, standard interpretation, which was what I was trying to convey, too--Keefer4 04:22, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
There's absolutely no need to apologise. This is a content dispute like any other, and we're discussion how to edit the article. But please read WP:Avoid_weasel_words, these kinds of words are only to be avoided if they cannot be attributed. At the top of the policy page, it says, "This page in a nutshell: Avoid 'some people say' statements without sources". We can probably find sources to back up that not all humans eat meat, but that many do. And per the example I provided - what does "many" dictionaries mean? "Many" could just mean 8 dictionaries. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 04:30, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Ok let me revise my proposed version of the intro:

Chinaman is an outdated term that refers to a Chinese man. It was, at one time, a casual English term similar to Dutchman and Welshman, and was not defined as offensive by the Webster's Dictionary of 1913. Today, Asian American organisations and others have objected to the use of the term as offensive, and it has been defined as such by modern dictionaries. However, the term has been used without stated intend to offend or knowledge of its offensive nature.

Please note that I think the "casual English term" statement is kind of questionable, but I'm trying to make it more NPOV. Suggestions on how to make that wording better would be much appreciated. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 04:37, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Just saying... "modern" might be an issue as well, the definition of 'modern' varies from "Of or relating to recent times or the present" to "not ancient or midieval" (Chambers Dictionary, 2003, Chambers-Harrap Publishing, Edinburgh) perhaps dictionaries published within the past XX years, dating back to the earliest mention of derog/offensive we can find, or any other ideas? Basically someone (me?) just needs to go to a library and study up the term, to see when dictionaries (at least) began to refer to it as derog.--Keefer4 05:29, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
How about "current dictionaries", "current dictionary editions", or "today's dictionaries"? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 05:46, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
"Today's" or "current" seem to work for now, until we can find the shift in definition period, and source it. Anyway, that's enough of this page for me right now. It's looking better here. Later--Keefer4 07:09, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Here's a further revision of my proposed intro.

Chinaman is an outdated term that refers to a Chinese man. It was, at one time, a casual English term similar to Dutchman and Welshman, and was not defined as offensive by the Webster's Dictionary of 1913. Today, Asian American organisations and others have objected to the use of the term as offensive, and it has been defined as such by current dictionaries. However, the term has been used without stated intend to offend or knowledge of its offensive nature.

Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 17:03, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Skookum1's and keefer4's sources

I'd like to hear what others think about the sources. And Skookum1, what's your proposal for the lead? Xiner (talk, email) 15:53, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Later today.Skookum1 18:35, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, in the morning,'s been a long day...(it was actually sunny here! - - after 23 or 24 days of rain in March so far....ack!).Skookum1 06:52, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
My sources are in there as well, and I'll continue to add to them as I find time and more relevant material.--Keefer4 00:06, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Be interesting to see this and maybe compare it to CP, Reuters, etc.Skookum1 06:52, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

The Seinfeld episode

By the way, they've definitely put the word back into the Seinfeld reruns. I noticed the word (before I found this article) because AFAICR I hadn't encountered it before, and thought it was odd. Xiner (talk, email) 04:00, 25 March 2007 (UTC)


Here are some dictionaries that do not define the word as always offensive: Oxford English Dictionary Online[[4]] '2. A native of China.'

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary[[5]] 'often offensive : a native of China : CHINESE '

I can find more if needed. I think that these counter-examples can allow the word 'many' to be inserted in front of 'dictionaries' in saying that the word is offensive.Zeus1234 16:48, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

You need to pay for a subscription to access Oxford English Dictionary Online (unless you can show me a free way to access it). But my Pocket Oxford English Dictionary has the word listed under "Chinky":
Chinky (also Chink) *n. (pl. Chinkies)
informal, offens. a Chinese person.
And Merriam-Webster Online, as you cited, says that it is "often offensive". This is not contradictory to what my proposed version of the intro says, as it doesn't say that it is defined as "always" offensive. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 17:02, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Zeus1234, what's the first definition in OED? Xiner (talk, email) 17:42, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Here is the entire entry copied for you from [[6]]
1. A dealer in porcelain.
1772 Lond. Directory, Brown William, China-man, 1 Aldgate. 1800 New Ann. Direct. 79 Fogg and Son, Chinamen. 1819 P.O. Lond. Direct. 123 Fogg, R., Chinaman.
2. A native of China.
1854 EMERSON Lett. & Soc. Aims, Resources Wks. (Bohn) III. 198 The disgust of California has not been able to drive nor kick the Chinaman back to the home. 1872 MEDHURST Foreigner in Far Cathay xi, John Chinaman is a most temperate creature.Zeus1234 17:45, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
PLEASE NOTE: This is from SECOND EDITION 1989 Zeus1234 17:46, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I'd be interested in seeing the full OED to see the first provenance; 1854 seems incredibly late; you'd think the word would have become current in the early days of the California Gold Rush - and also for it to have turned up in captains' journals from trading voyages. Not sure what Meares used in his Nootka Sound logs....(1778).Skookum1 18:37, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
For you interest, the OED is not a good source for discovering when a word emerged. For example, for the word 'chink' it says 1901, but there are plenty of sources from the 1880s and 1890s. I would imagine that it would incorrect for chinaman as well.Zeus1234 18:39, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

And one more thing: Chink is a completely different word from Chinaman, and far more derogatory. They have different etymologies, and arose at different times. You can't say that they are equivalent.Zeus1234 17:54, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Here is Chink for comparison:
A Chinaman. Also attrib. (Derogatory.) [[7]]
1901 Munsey's Mag. XXIV. 536 The leader suggested the ‘chink’, and to the one Chinese laundry..the little band departed. 1910 W. M. RAINE B. O'Connor iv. 41 Chinks, greasers, and several other kinds of citizens driftin' that way. 1919 War Slang in Athenæum 8 Aug. 727/2 ‘Chinks’ for Chinese labourers. 1922 J. S. FLETCHER Ravensdene Court xiv. 173 ‘AChink?’ ‘He means a Chinaman,’ I said. 1926 Chambers's Jrnl. 552/1 The towns, small or large, possessed from one to hundreds of ‘Chink’ laundries. 1932 J. DOS PASSOS 1919 17 The Barman was a broadfaced Chink. 1936 ‘R. HYDE’ Passport to Hell 229 The little Chinks hated the Boche like hell. 1945 [see CHOW-CHOW n. 3]. 1969 J. DURACK in Coast to Coast 1967-8 99 We used to have a couple staying with us. Chinks, they were, medical students.

Zeus1234 18:02, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

The Pocket Oxford English Dictionary is tenth edition, published in 2005[8]. And I don't think any editor has suggested in the current content dispute that "chink" is the equivalent of "Chinaman". But correct me if I'm wrong. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 18:14, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Hong, you were a little unclear when listing your source from the pocket dictionary, I didnt realize that it was a list that included Chinaman, but that you had simply taken the definition for 'chink'Zeus1234 18:37, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I'd say that the date is in favor of the pocket version, but pocket dictionaries are notoriously terse. I think "many" is well referenced and definitely not a weasel word. It doesn't preclude the possibility of "all". Xiner (talk, email) 18:18, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Tomorrow I can check the most recent edition of the OED at the library. I will inform of the results when I do.Zeus1234 18:37, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Oh shoot. A huge apology to everyone. I looked up the wrong word in my Oxford dictionary. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 19:51, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

LOL. I'd a feeling you were, Hong. I'm still interested in what Zeus1234 is able to dig up, though. Xiner (talk, email) 19:53, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Bancroft Library (of the California Online Archive) items are now complete; see here.Skookum1 20:11, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Just fixed a few links there; if you find any that don't go to where they're supposed to - usually in image or plate/text, let me know and I'll fix 'em.Skookum1 20:19, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
UBC stacks now also finished searching; Note E.M. Forster, David Mamet, Bret well as other recent publications, e.g. by Don'O Kim and Jeffery Chan.Skookum1 20:41, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Sorry I couldn't elaborate more earlier. Something came up and I had to go offline. My Pocket Oxford English Dictionary actually does not have "Chinaman" in it. But I had the chance to check the 2003 edition of Oxford American Dictionary and Thesaurus and the 2005 edition of The New Oxford American Dictionary. The first one says that the word is "archaic or derogatory, now usually offensive". The second one says it is "informal, dated, offensive". I did not have access to another Oxford dictionary that is not specific for American English, so someone should check to see what those other Oxford dictionaries say. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 01:31, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Here's a list of all the oxfords I have access to online.[[9]]:

1. Chinaman n. chiefly archaic or derogatory a native of China. (From The Concise Oxford English Dictionary in English Dictionaries & Thesauruses) 2006

2. Chinaman n. archaic (or) derog. (now usu. offens. ) a native of China. (From The New Zealand Oxford Dictionary in English Dictionaries & Thesauruses) 2005

3. Chinaman n. → n. (pl. -men) (informal) ,(dated) ,(offensive) a native of China. (From The New Oxford American Dictionary in English Dictionaries & Thesauruses) 2006

4. Chinaman n. archaic or derog. (now offens. ) a native of China. (From The Australian Oxford Dictionary in English Dictionaries & Thesauruses) 2004

5. Chinaman noun → noun (pl. -men) usu. (offensive) a native of China. (From The Canadian Oxford Dictionary in English Dictionaries & Thesauruses) 2004

6. Chinaman noun chiefly archaic or derogatory a native of China. (From The Oxford Dictionary of English (2nd edition revised) in English Dictionaries & Thesauruses) 2005 Zeus1234 02:08, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Do you have a paid subscription to the Oxford website? Or if you know where there is free online access to these Oxford definitions, can you point them out? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 02:36, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Here's a free one I found online - according to, the Compact Oxford English Dictionary of 2005 defines the word as "chiefly archaic or derogatory a native of China".[10] Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 02:46, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I have a subscription via the university I attend. Without a subscription, the only way to access them would be to go to the library.Zeus1234 02:58, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Ah, I see. I'd like to figure out the discrepancy between what you saw and what I saw in the New Oxford American Dictionary. The edition that I looked at was the second edition, published in 2005,[11] and I can't seem to verify online that a 2006 edition was published. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 03:04, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

OK, I did some more searching on the web, and I found the problem. You were right Hong, it turns out I was looking at the definition in an abbreviated view. When in full view, it matches what you have. I'm amending then entries I made earlier. Apologies. Zeus1234

Oh good. I was starting to think that I looked at the wrong word again!  :-) I don't actually own that dictionary so don't have immediate access to it. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 03:22, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
I'd just like to suggest you guys keep an eye on which kind of English each dictionary is for, i.e. noting any patterns in meanings given for dictionaries aimed at American English, vs those at UK English; and of course Canadian English, where I can see some difference between the US style of usage and that in BC (where the word was most common in Canada, as also were the Chinese which is why); I know there's lexical differences worldwide, and there's surprising the number of different official Englishes (Keefer4, we'll corresond about this if you want; wish I still had my int'l style guide for the Vancouver World Bank Conference...I was head of the word pool): Asiatic English, Oceanic English, a bunch of different official African forms, Singapore has a different form from that used in Malaysia (different oh so slightly, but very pointedly) and so on; but lexically I've noted other differences, such as how Brits don't find or understand something like "Red Indian" to be offensive, or that Canada is not America for that matter (it is in their concept of what "America" means....not synonymous with the USA, but with the New World), and in Talk:Kanaka there's different connotations of the word - another ethnonym - in Australasia, where it's offensive, vs in BC, where it never was (it was, if anything, complimentary or salutary). Point is that the different historical contexts of the Chinese experience in each of the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and elsewhere suggest that connotations/meanings of the word in the US would have a different taint/flavour from that in BC, or the UK, or Oz, or South Africa, or wherever; that "John Chinaman" shows up in an apparently non-derogatory context by someone writing from China in those days, suggests - and I say "suggests" only - that "John Chinaman" was a generic in Asiatic English at the time (Asiatic English at the time would primariliy be that spoken by British business/military/missionary types and whomever else from the US, Canada etc) as opposed to being a specifically derisive form in US (and BC) usage. "Chinaman" often appears in complimentary/favourable description contexts; "John Chinaman" almost never does. Not that one example proves anything, but it points to the notion that British dictionaries may not have changed over to the offensive viewpoint at the same time as the US (earlier or later, harder to say), and that (outside of the old china-dealer meaning, which is apparently of older provenance) in whichever era, the British dictionary entries might be interestingly compared to the corresponding set of American ones (esp. if you can line up the dates), partly to see any differences in comments about usage as with 1854 Oxford Dictionary of English Usage quoted below; noting that it seems to be the British dictionaries that include the china-dealer meaning. I wonder....would there have ever been a Brittanica entry, do you think? Certainly in the dictionary volumes that went with the whole encyclopedia; but might older encyclopedia editions use this word, i.e. as an article title because doubtless it is found somewhere in the definitions/articles.Skookum1 04:28, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Biblliography section - current materials

In looking over the UBC and SFU "card catalogues" (as we used to call them, "old skool" when it was all manual, and university libraries were a sea of calm and quiet instead of a sea of cellphones and internet workgroup discussions...) there have come to light a number of papers/books of contemporary issue which either use "Chinaman" in the title or which have it as a keyword, indicating it's discussed in the text; some of these are novels like those by Frank Chin and D'Ono Kim, and there's the David Mamet collection of poetry Chinaman, which also has come to light. It may be useful to have something like a "further reading" section (or otherwise titled, because of the nature of the content-links/cites) as obviously the "image of the Chinaman" is a theme in Chinese-American culture studies; i.e. used as a paradigm/stereotype to be overcome/addressed/or whatever; not sure what Mamet's context is but with him you never know by the title. The idea is that, because it is part of current academic literary/academic discussion/usage, those are of interest to the article's content and provide (to me) a better counterbalance to the purely political positions of the organizational statements about the word, and accompanying news coverage of the name-change campaign et al. (which was controversial here, as I've asked Keefer4 to hopefully dig up a cite for :-), because many people felt that the placename usages were not derogatory and were historical, and it did come out whether in letters to the editor or what coverage of the potboiler/controversy there was that many people didn't see why the word was offensive, and also because the names were part of the heritage landscape; in the same era many "Siwash" placenames were also removed, but not all; depends on whether the local native people found it offensive or not). There's enough titles alone to warrant such a section (see the Skookum1Resources page where Xiner moved my last night's citation posts to) but there also appears to be a book where it's enough of a theme in the discussion of the book/paper that libraries give it "chinaman" in its keywords listing.

This is a different set of materials than books or items which simply may use it in their texts, as with books/writings by Emily Carr, Bret Harte, Rudyard Kipling (?), [[Thomas Pynchon|Tom Pynchon (?), Tim Robbins (?), Kurt Vonnegut (I'm sure - Cat's Cradle and/orSlaughterhouse Five) and I can't see it NOT being in Joyce somewhere (along with everything else); makes me wonder what there might be in writings by other California authors, also, such as Saroyan, Steinbeck, Jeffers...and speaking of Jeffers a read through Walt Whitman will probably find something. Ezra Pound comes to mind also but I don't remember the verse, and I have no doubt it's in Graham Greene or, for that matter, Ian Fleming. But those are all just "mentions"; the idea with them is they represent how current the word was in language, even literary language (whether literaturized as part of folk speech/idiom or just in the writer's general lexicon - e.g. as with Kipling and certainly others. Fine; there's no way all those need to be listed, but a few of the "big name" fragments there are, from Twain to Carr to the Denny or other Seattle letter with the Christmas stuff; these would make a nice section showing "general usage" (whatever that would be titled, if titled as a section).Skookum1 23:16, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Two more dictionaries

A friend just sent me the OED stuff above in the "Dictionaries" section, but also had this appended, which proved to be very interesting, and also provides the "not offensive" cite - for 1954. I'm giving them subsections for easy finding in case discussions spin off these two definitions, which are, um, very provocative:Skookum1 23:16, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Oxford's Dictionary of Etymology (1966)

Oxford's Dictionary of Etymology (1966) doesn't mention Chinaman but does say:

"Chinese", pertaining to (native of) China. China, (Indian name) +ese. Earlier Chinnish and Chinian (16th century) were used; and in the 17th Century Chinenses (plural), Chinensian, Chinesian, Chino (Old Spanish), Chinois (French)...
1872 MEDHURST Foreigner in Far Cathay, "John Chinaman is a most temperate creature."Skookum1 23:16, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Just to note that almost seems an ironical usage, as John Chinaman is usually a harsh derisive, and rarely used in a complimentary fashion; either that or the writer is using it innocuously and/or out of its North American context of the time (being actually in the Orient and all, and there's still variation in meaning of English words from one side of the Pacific to the other). "Chinnish" is interestingly "old" in flavour; the English/Anglo-Saxon equivalent of the Norw. kines ("Chinese") and kinesisk ("Chinese-ish", and pronounced "ch") and the Ger. Der Tschiniesischer (masc.) (sp?).Skookum1 23:20, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Oxford 1954

Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Oxford 1954 says; The normal uses are: A Chinaman (rarely Chinese); three Chinamen (sometimes Chinese); 50,000 Chinese (sometimes Chinamen); the Chinese (rarely Chinamen). Chinee for Chinaman is a Back-Formation from Chinese pl, & being still felt to be irregular, is rare except as conscious slang, but common in such use.Skookum1 23:16, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
What's the date of our first cite for material condemning use of the word? Seems other 1950s vintage (and probably 1960s vintage) could be consulted with different results than more recent ones, no? It also seems that we may be able to establish a timeline up to which dictionaries did not say it was offensive, and a time from whence they did (which is probably after the first citation condemning use of the word, if that first citation can be found, given that of course not everything in the universe is online...well, not yet, anyway....).Skookum1 23:25, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I suspect it's probably in the 1970s or 1980s. I am doing a research project on 'chink' at the moment, and that word turned offensive in the 60s. I'd imagine that 'chinaman' took a little bit longer, as it is not as offensive as 'chink.' I can check this tomorrow when I get to the library.Zeus1234 00:04, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

The ongoing saga

Well, this edit should prove to everyone that Skookum1 will not compromise one bit in his denial of the current racist nature of the word. What more do you want, Skookum1, besides every current dictionary defining the word as at least "often" derogatory? And since you're not negotiating, I won't be, either. I want the current version to stay, except maybe with a disclaimer that it is sometimes used without an intent to offend.

And no one is going to read an essay every time you do decide to pipe up, Skookum1. It's not that hard to say what you want to say without using a thousand words each time. 15:15, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

What is wrong with you? Even though you disagree with Skookum's opinions, that's no reason to personally attack him. Register under a user name or leave. Try and be constructive like Hong and reach a consensus that takes into account everyone's views.Zeus1234 16:22, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Please, you're not helping. And consider registering for an account even if it's a sockpuppet. Sockpuppets are not against WP rules unless you use it to circumvent policy. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 17:05, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

That this nameless individual can read "racism" into the content of my discussion of book titles in current literature/studies, most of which are on the topic of racism, is a very good example of what I was saying about people who need to feel discriminated against will always find racism. The flip side of this edit is that I dared list off all the major writers who are known to have, or are likely to have, used the word. And also managed to establish that a major 1954 dictionary said that Chinaman was the more common term, while Chinese was rarer. But somehow the Four-Point Kid thinks that all of that was "racist". This is just proof to me that a lot of the knee-jerk calls of racism that are around in the media are people who don't really understand what racism is, and/or who inflate the smallest perceived slight as if it were something to do with Auschwitz. The post speaks for itself: there's more and more proof that, contrary to Four-Point-Zero-Zero-Zip's position that it's not anything but derogatory and offensive, there are actually dictionary citations saying it is not offensive (i.e. by not saying that it is, but also in the case of the Oxford English Usage one where it's clearly stated to be the normal the UK anyway, or was). A good read through the actual titles of the books I was pointing to in that link will serve to prove my point; I was suggesting a bibliography of the current books on discrimination and/or the Chinese-North American experience which use it in their title or invoke it in their discussions; for this I get branded a racist (again, by someone who clearly has white-resentment written all over every single one of their posts). Some of those look like interesting reads, and I'd venture that Hong has learned a thing or two about newspaper and other older usages, if he's bothered to look through the items that Keefer4 and I have dug up. But it's clear that Four-Point-Zero-Zero-Zip isn't here to learn anything, or to improve the article. Only that it says one thing, and one thing only.Skookum1 18:01, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Come now. From what this anonymous editor said, you think it's proof that "a lot of the knee-jerk calls of racism that are around in the media are people who don't really understand what racism is"? For all we know, this person isn't even part of the media. He or she doesn't represent anybody but himself. It seems your so-called "Four-Point Kid" here is not the only person around here prone to knee-jerk responses. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 19:22, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Really? How are you enjoying all the materials brought forward demonstrating non-offensive uses and dictionary definitions? Got any knee-jerks to dismiss them with? I'm trying not be confrontation, but come now, Hong - the suggestion from Four-Point that the linked item was proof of my racism is and can only be viewed as an expression of overt ethnoracial paranoia; reading discrimination into material that's not discriminatory. And that is the whole point of the history of the word "chinaman". It's becoming increasingly clear that we might even be able to pin down a date on which it was pronounced "moral contraband", despite modern-era pretenses that it's always been discriminatory, and Four-Point's insistence that it can't be presented as anything else but. Whatever; at least I know which direction my knees point in.Skookum1 19:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Skookum, none of the sources brought forth has included an opinion that the usage was not offensive. What we have are a lot of examples of casual usage, and your opinion that they were inoffensive usage. This is something I've said a long time ago, nothing knee jerk about it. Furthermore, no version of the article has even proclaimed it was "always" discriminatory. You're reading something that does not even exist. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 19:41, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
none of the sources brought forth has included an opinion that the usage was not offensive.
How can you say that with a straight face? See the Fowler's Dictionary of English Usage in the section just previous. Aside from that, that you could read through all the cites that Keefer and I have produced and still maintain that none of them demonstrate casual/inoffensive usage denotes to me, a lack of comprehension and reading skills on your part. That you could maintain such items are in fact derisive without actually being able to prove why, except pointing at dictionaries published long after the p.c. movement top band the word - that you could hold to such a position strikes me as, well, a bit pathetic. And yes, by implication, versions of this article (particularly the one it's frozen in right now, which is partly of Four-Point-Zip's creation) imply that it has always been derisive; and toning down any comment that for a very long time it was not derisive seems to be something that neither you nor Four-Point are able to deal with. Well, maybe you can deal with it, given recent discussions with Zeus, Xiner and Keefer about revising the intro; there's still a huge section missing accounting for the broad range of uses until the word was pronounced as taboo by certain organizations. Growing web citations indicate that the word has not gone away, continues to be used in non-discriminatory contexts (see placenames listing now on resources page, for starters). You're supposedly an educated man, Hong - how can you read items like those from the New York Coachmaker's Magazine and read discrimination into the usage there, or in the Townsend Daily Leader news articles, for that matter? Or in so much else; I'm about to post two journal entries by Arthur Bushby, who was private clerk to Justice Begbie, which are entirely undiscriminatory in context. Except to you, who will insist that they are, or that there's nothing to prove that they aren't. Sheesh. Have a look at the Bushby quotes once they're up. The whole point of all the items on the resources page is for discussion of the meaning of each bit; some are discrimimatory, but in many cases like Emily Carr or Mrs. Denny I challenge YOU to tell me why they are discriminatory, since they don't read like that to me or Keefer4 or anyone else.Skookum1 19:58, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Skookum, please try to understand the difference between an editor's opinion and assessment and that of a credible source. It doesn't matter whether you or I think a usage is offensive. What matters is if there's a credible source that labels specific instances of usage as offensive or inoffensive. We're not supposed to inject personal opinions about a source into an article. That's an interpretation of sources, and that's original research. And what's with this accusation that I'm going to think of these two journal entries written by an Arthur Bushby as discriminatory when I haven't even heard of this guy? Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:07, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Because you've been saying that you can't see why such items aren't discriminatory/derisive; if you don't think they are, you're admitting to "inoffensive use". And Arthur Bushby is only one of many people you haven't heard of in North American history; I imagine you may not have heard of Emily Carr or Bret Harte either, or other historical figures whose culture is under discussion (and their use of the word "chinaman" was part of their culture). Arthur Bushby's a semi-major figure in BC history; but even our major figures are treated like blips by Canadian national-mainstream history, so it's not surprising you haven't heard of him. Doesn't matter if he was Governor or Joe Blow from Peoria, his uages are clearly non-discriminatory and, taken at face value without any equivocation like "this can't be proven to not be offensive", are clearly inoffensive in character/tone. And his is one of HUNDREDS, probably THOUSANDS, of such examples. I'd wager (if I had money) that the total number of discriminatory-use citations for "Chinaman" are only in the hundreds, if that many (that's not including "John Chinaman" and other more extreme-derisive combination forms).Skookum1 20:32, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Two Smithsonian Institution entries, from a 1910s Natural History work, use "chinamen-buff" and "chinamen-brown" as colour names, among many others. Please explain how these usages are discriminatory and derisive. Enquiring minds want to know.Skookum1 20:01, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I have never said these usages are discriminatory. Furthermore, my personal opinions, as with yours, are not admissible as a source in the article. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:09, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Hong, no one's helping me, so sorry if I'm not helping anyone else. 15:57, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

So it's OK that the word can be labelled "offensive" but while that's not an opinion (and not a very well-proven one) any attempt to say that it was not offensive is just personal opinion? You're on the side maintaining all usages are derisive; I challenge YOU, irrespective of the article's contents, to go through the citations Keefer4 and I have amassed and explain why they're derisive, if you think they are; or why you think the organizations who have branded the words derisive were justified in doing so, given all the materials that they apparently either didn't study or consider, or didn't want to study or consider. Personal opinions currently taint the opening line of the article; they may have come from Four-Point-Zero, but they might as well have been yours; and that you opposed the presence of materials like the comedian and the figurine (which are both well-known and esp. the figurines is a common and ongoing usage) because they didn't have cites; now there's lots of cites and you're saying no one has a "right" to interpret them. No, they're what they are - face-value uses of the word from a time where it had not yet been pronounced discriminatory and campaigns had been led to expunge it from use. Campaigns which, I note, have been dismal failures, and which do not rely on citation-proofs but on raw emotion and claims of perceived discrimination/abuse, like the dreaming-in-technicolour accusatory delusions above of Four-Point-Point.Skookum1 20:21, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

The organizations which branded this word unacceptable obviously didn't do their research; it would take an MA thesis, perhaps, but a comparison of proven/demonstrable "discriminatory/offensive" uses of Chinaman across the available literature/sources vs demonstrable "casual/inoffensive" use will, overwhelmingly, turn up statistics favouring the latter usage as more regular; claims of discriminatory/offensive use have been loud and vocal; they have rarely been supported by actual evidence - more like supported by hysterical finger-pointing and tub-thumping, like Four-Point's above.Skookum1 20:23, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't know how many times I must repeat this, my preferred version does not label it as offensive, period. It says, specifically, that Asian American organisations "objected" to its usage. I'm not maintaining that all usages are derisive. Neither is my preferred version of the intro doing that. You're complaining to me about something that is not true. Here is what I would like to see in the intro:
Chinaman is an outdated term that refers to a Chinese man. It was, at one time, a casual English term similar to Dutchman and Welshman, and was not defined as offensive by the Webster's Dictionary of 1913. Today, Asian American organisations and others have objected to the use of the term as offensive, and it has been defined as such by current dictionaries. However, the term has been used without stated intend to offend or knowledge of its offensive nature.
That Asian American organisations objected to the term is backed up by several sources. Readers are free to dismiss that if they like, but the important thing is that the opinion is specifically attributed to someone instead of making a blanket statement that it is offensive. Do we have credible sources to say that so-and-so do not feel the term is offensive? I have not seen any yet. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 20:34, 26 March 2007 (UTC)