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RaciolinguisticsHow Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race$
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H. Samy Alim, John R. Rickford, and Arnetha F. Ball

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190625696

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190625696.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

The Meaning of Ching-Chong

The Meaning of Ching-Chong

Language, Racism, and Response in New Media

(p.81) 4 The Meaning of Ching-Chong

Elaine W. Chun

Oxford University Press

This chapter draws on linguistic anthropological tools to examine ideologies of racist language in the United States. In particular, it focuses on the expression ching-chong, an onomatopoeic mimicry that represents Asian otherness, as well as responses to this expression’s use in a YouTube video posted by a white college student named Alexandra Wallace. In my analysis of viewer comments responding to this video, I propose two axes of linguistic meaning that informed public interpretations of ching-chong as either racist or nonracist language, namely its locus—where linguistic meaning is located—as well as its temporality—when meaning happens. I then discuss how seven antiracist strategies—eradication, regulation, quotation, euphemism, rehistoricization, reappropriation, and satire—may differently foreground these axes and variably succeed in achieving antiracist goals. I argue that each of these strategies usefully raises public awareness of racist language but necessarily encounters certain pitfalls.

Keywords:   language ideology, racism, antiracism, Asian American, new media, eradication, reappropriation, satire

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