Story last updated at 5/29/2013 - 2:07 pm
I enjoy the Capital City Weekly, and was dismayed that the editorial staff did not catch and arrest the ethnic slur in the text of Pat Roppel's story on Washington canneries published in the May 8-14 issue. This ethnic slur was also included in the caption of the photo accompanying the article. It is true that the machine referred to was called an "Iron Chink," because it was a machine that took the place of many workers, and in this case "Chink" is a stand in for a Chinese person. So if it was the intent of the author or of the CCW to use this term, its usage should have been accompanied by the kind of disclaimer that explains that in the name of historical veracity, and to truly show the kind of bigoted thinking and racist epithets then in common usage, the original term was used. In fact, a few of these machines are likely still in use, and among many old timers in the industry, sad to say, the original name is probably still used, but it is important to recognize that it is an ethnic slur and for that reason probably needs to join in retirement similar such expressions.
I am confident that this error was made by the author and the editorial staff in total innocence, and that printing a correction or editor's note has already been arranged.
Editor's note: The decision was made to keep the use of the word because of the historical ties to the machine in question and because it's the name the piece was predominantly called for decades. Our history is littered with racism and injustice, down to the naming of factory equipment. Capital City Weekly will look at how to best present these cases in any future references.