The other day, John Derbyshire noted that “Chinaman” is one of those words declared taboo, but no one really knows by who:
The particular word they had found demeaning was, as I had just noted, the word “Chinaman.” That word had been declared taboo at some point in the later 20th century by whomever it is that gets to declare these things,
I don’t know either, but I do remember one of the first times someone got in trouble for using it.
It was Mary Sue Terry
, then running for governor of Virginia against George Allen, who uttered the dreaded “slur” while discussing education policy. Allen seized upon the comment and brought it up
at a debate.
Later, Allen took Terry to task over her choice of words. During a discussion on education, Terry said she was offering a $100 million plan to reduce class sizes “so that these children have a Chinaman's chance at graduation.”During his rebuttal, Allen questioned what she meant when she used the term “Chinaman.” After the debate, he told reporters, “It sounded inappropriate to me . ... I looked at it as somewhat insensitive and offensive.”
“That was a poor use of words,” Terry said later. “That’s just an expression I grew up with in the country. No offense intended.”
This was 1993. A much more incendiary “slur” severely wounded Allen’s campaign against Jim Webb for U.S. Senate. Allen called
a Webb campaign operative “macaca.”
But back to “Chinaman.” Last year, Democratic bigwig Bob Beckel landed in hot water
for using it. Many on the left view the old liberal as a racist. [The Crazy, Often Racist Things That Fox's Bob Beckel Has Said On Air
, TPM, January 14, 2015]
The simple rule to follow these days is not to utter anything a leftist doesn’t like. Which means don’t say anything at all.