Ching Chong Ling Long, UCLA’s new Chinese delivery service formed between students and Palace Seafood and Dim Sum. The idea was to have a hearty laugh at the truly racist rant made by a former student, but the business is starting to feel some heat itself. Who stands opposed?
Monterrey Park-based assemblyman Mike Eng is asking UCLA to shutter the business, Pasadena Star News reports, arguing that the name will "perpetuate misunderstandings about Asian-Americans and intensify hurtful sentiments toward this community." Is it maybe missing the point to accuse an ironic, racism-skewering Chinese business of being racist itself against the Chinese community? Probably, but UCLA isn’t touching that one with a ten-foot chopstick. Instead, it has its own excuses for wanting to shutter the business.
School spokesperson Phil Hampton admits their hands are tied when it comes to language, as you can’t tell the students what they can say (pesky First Amendment!). However, the school is investigating whether it’s okay to start a food delivery system such as Ching Chong Ling Long in the first place and says it’s "looking into whether there is a violation of campus policies that prohibit the use of residence halls to transact business."
So, obviously the students knew the name was going to be inflammatory, that’s why they picked it. Obviously, the school can’t take complaints about the name lightly, while not wanting to advocate the crushing of students’ entrepreneurial spirit. What do we want to know? How did Sambo’s ever survive into 2011?
In any case, what do you think of Mike Eng excoriating Ching Chong Ling Long? Is he missing the point or is the business being insensitive? Now that the offensive phrase "Ching Chong Ling Long" has entered our vocabulary, should we ignore it or ridicule it? Is the Palace just doing this for publicity? We’d love to know our readers thoughts in the comments.