2.08.2012

starbucks labels drinks with the "chink eyes"



Oh, man. Not this again. Recent racist incidents involving employees at Chick-Fil-A ("CHING CHONG") and Papa John's Pizza ("Lady Chinky Eyes") have had me checking my receipts lately. Some ignorant-ass joker could be mocking you right in front of your face. But hey, why use words for your favorite racial slurs when you can draw them?

Last month at a Starbucks Coffee location in Alpharetta, Georgia, two Korean customers -- who are not native English speakers -- discovered that their barista had identified them by drawing "chinky eyes" on their drinks. You know, where they usually write your name? OH NO THEY DIDN'T. Yes, they did.

Here's the photo of their cups:



You cannot tell me those are both just two random squiggles on those cups. I'm told that the customers immediately complained to the store manager, who did not defend the drawings or offer some kind of bullshit explanation, but simply apologized. And that's it. Oh, sorry for the racist way we run our coffee joint.

But my favorite part of the story: in addition to the manager's apology, the customers were offered a gift card. Well, thanks a bunch for caring.

This happened in a suburb of Atlanta with a significant Asian American population. I guess it's too much to hope that the Starbucks employees in question would give a damn about the people in their neighborhood. Instead, two Asian customers were simply reduced to a wordless, racist caricature with the stroke of a pen. How many times do you think this was done to Asian customers before someone actually noticed and said something?

(Special thanks to Helen Kim Ho of the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center of Georgia for bringing this to our attention.)

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