A small Philadelphia area controversy makes Gothamist wonder the WIIWINY (What If It Were In New York) factor: A young Asian-American is trying to get a 55 year-old cheese steak shop named Chink's to change its name because it's culturally insensitive. Chink's is actually a nickname for the shop's first owner, Samuel Sherman:

"He had slanty eyes...and the kids started calling him 'chink,' " Mildred Sherman said. Many people didn't learn of his real name until they attended his funeral in 1997. Sherman said the nickname is etched on her husband's gravestone. Sherman called the controversy "ridiculous. We are Jewish. We're far from racist. We have Chinese customers," Sherman said. "My husband was well-loved by everybody."


>Now, aside from people's basic ignorance during the 40s and 50s when Samuel Sherman was called "Chink" (and ignore up until now, what with people calling Gothamist "Gook" and "Jap"), Gothamist has issues with brand new establishments propagating stereotypes. However, since Chink's has been a local establishment since 1948, its name has never meant to be a specific slur against the Chinese, and doesn't have its employees wearing coolie hats or use its name ironically, we feel that having the name changed might be too much to ask.

Perhaps some information about the origin of the name and dangers of racial slurs could be posted in the store. It's a thorny issue. "Chink" is an offensive word, no doubt about it. However, while name-change instigator, Susannah Park's theory that the name never caused much fuss because Chink's is in a white neighborhood, coupled with the fact that Asians are not outspoken might hold water, Gothamist ventures to think it's slightly overreactive based on what we know about the store. The article was from January; if anyone knows latest, let us know. [Via reader Matt R.]

Chink's had been voted "Best Cheesesteak" in Philadelphia.

Darkie Toothpaste, a toothpaste brand with a black man with dazzling white teeth, was changed to "Darling" when bought by Colgate-Palmolive.