Ah, Jews, Jews, Jews, Jews. You sure do love your Chinese auctions, don’t you?
It seems that even in an era of political correctness, within certain circles, this term just will not die.
And frankly, I’m mortified.
I’m not Chinese, but I have family who is Chinese. Some are Korean, as well. I guess this makes us more ethnically diverse than many Jews, but I suspect most Jewish families are moving in this direction. Still. Even if we don’t know a single Chinese person, we should still stop calling it that.
First of all… is it actually racist to call it a Chinese auction?
I figured I’d let Chinese people decide. But when I turned to Google to find out how Chinese people feel about Chinese auctions, what I found was mostly… nothing. Silence.
I did find some debate (presumably among non-Chinese people) over whether it was too far in the direction of political correctness to refer to these as a “silent auction” or (as in some parts of the States) a “tricky tray.” (Okay, that’s just weird.)
One guy reacted by saying, “You say something ‘Politically Incorrect’ and people look at you in horror as though you just killed a kitten.”
However, another person on the same thread said, “the term is tied up with a lot of other negative characterizations of Asian culture as being mystical in contrast to Western culture being rational.”
That’s my understanding as well – that Chinese people (and Asians in general) were assumed to be sneaky characters, always hiding something. Hence the racist “ancient Chinese secret” TV commercial (see the video below).
This discussion on a Jewish site yielded absolutely no philosophical depth whatsoever. When asked if it was racist, the first guy just said, “No.” Another volleyed back by asking if a Dutch Auction is racist. (I had never heard of this, but apparently, it’s mainly an investment thing.)
Here’s the thing.
While “Chinese Auctions” may have once been common, today, many English speakers outside the religious Jewish community don’t even know what these are. That’s because almost everybody calls them something else these days. Meaningless political correctness or not, they have moved on and nobody really minds all that much.