I really love my book club. I can’t remember how many years we’ve been together, but there are many. And because we’ve been together for so long and have a genuine love and caring for each other, our conversations are easy, even when we talk about difficult topics.
During our last meeting, the topic of racial slurs came up. For background, we are made up of two white women, two Latinx women, a biracial woman who’s parents are Mexican and Japanese, and me, a Chinese-American woman.
For some reason the phrase, “chink in the armor” came up. A couple of the members of the book club had never heard that phrase before. I shared that a white member of my family had been telling a story when the phrase came up, just as I joined the conversation. Knowing that the context had nothing to do with my race/ethnicity, I jokingly said, “Hey, that’s racist!” The look of horror on the storyteller’s face told me that they weren’t convinced I was joking.
This anecdote got my book club discussing and researching the origin of the phrase and the current use of the phrase. According to one source, the phrase isn’t used much because of the use of “chink” as a racial slur. I don’t find much use for it in general, but it didn’t occur to me to stop using it. However, given the lack of nuance in public discourse these days, I’m thinking it may be the right move to retire it.
What do you think? Are there other phrases we should reconsider?