Houston Community News >> The Word 'Chinamen' Considered Racist

6/5/2007 TUCSON, Ariz. - A Chinese takeout restaurant has removed racially insensitive language from its menu, Web site and advertising fliers after community groups denounced it as racist and the parent company of the firm that helped create the ads ordered them pulled.

Mike Reynolds, owner of Eggrolls, Etc., apologized in a telephone interview Monday for using the word "Chinamen" in his ads, saying he was initially unaware that it was widely considered a derogatory term. Reynolds said he still doesn't think his menu, on the whole, could be construed as "intended to hurt or damage anyone," but apologized for any "misunderstanding" created by the jokes on his menu, which included a parody of the inability of immigrant Chinese to pronounce words containing the letter "r."

Reynolds said his menu and advertising fliers were "never intended to harm or insult the Asian-American or Chinese-American community." Reynolds never responded to letters from local and national groups urging him to be more sensitive in his advertising. He said he doesn't plan to respond or issue a formal apology.

At a press conference last month, leaders of Tucson's Asian community, the YWCA, Chicanos Por La Causa, Tucson Urban League and members of the Tucson City Council and the Pima County Board of Supervisors denounced Reynolds' advertising as racist and further criticized him for failing to respond to concerns first raised in February by the Tucson Chinese Association.

Jason Wong, president of that group, said he was pleased that the business finally responded to the complaints, but disappointed that it took so much community pressure to make it happen.

"The issue wasn't solely just the Chinese community," Wong said. "Any group or member of the community should not have to feel there is no one to support them if an injustice has been done. The support showed this is a wonderful community," he said.

Reynolds said the changes to his advertising were planned before the groups held their May 16 press conference.

(Contributed by Examiner.com)