Last Friday, a medical student decided to visit a Taco Bell restaurant located in Philadelphia. In Young Lee was doing so after a fun night out with his friends.
He made the choice to give the restaurant a false name—“Steve” when he ordered his food. He did what he did so that he wouldn’t have to spell out his actual name. In Young was understandably surprised and shocked when he saw the bill; one of the restaurant’s staff members had written—in capital letters—Steve Chink.
We probably do not need to point out that “chink” is a derogatory term for people of Chinese ethnicity. At times, it is used towards anyone who appears to be from East Asia.
For obvious reasons, In Young wasn’t terribly pleased. Using Facebook, he shared a photograph of the receipt on Facebook and also tagged Taco Bell.
rsIn Young—a student at the University of Pennsylvania—commented that he was so “infuriated” by the receipt that he simply couldn’t help but confront the cashier.
According to In Young, the cashier actually defended the action, saying that there were three people named Steve in the restaurant, so he needed to differentiate between the three.
In Young said that he was made even more upset by the fact the cashier was defending himself instead of apologizing; he rightfully pointed out that it is rude to use a derogatory slur. The cashier eventually apologized. While In Young was still quite upset, he decided to let the whole matter go.
That probably should have been the end of it, but it was not.
In Young decided to try to enjoy his meal, but then he heard the cashier using the word “chink” again. He and his friends were seated close to the restaurant’s kitchen.
The cashier was, according to him, making fun of In Young to his co-workers. For obvious reasons, In Young was shocked—and not at all happy.
In a comment, In Young stated that he “snapped” and “stormed to the counter”. He admits to yelling at the cashier. He also admits that he may have used a bit of profanity, but acknowledges that doing so was not the most ideal way of handling the situation in which he found himself. He said he couldn’t really help himself.
As In Young was yelling at the cashier, a manager approached him and told him to calm down. The manager acknowledged that what the cashier did was wrong, but also said that In Young was being disrespectful.
In Young believes the manager was trying to defuse the rather unfortunate situation by redirecting the blame, and he wonders how the manager expected him to be polite after the cashier took time out to write “chink” on a receipt.
According to In Young, people in the restaurant responded when the manager started to condemn him, and the patrons started to berate both the cashier and the manager. The two employees then apologized again.
In Young’s post has actually gone viral on Facebook. To his credit, In Young was kind enough to blur out the name of the cashier in question in order to save that man’s job; that said, In Young is still upset.
In Young told local media that he wants the restaurant employees to undergo racial consciousness training. He wants people to be “more aware” of their behavior and what they are thinking.
In Young says that he has been “called names” before, but he does not typically address it.
Taco Bell has said that the employee who called In Young a chink has been fired.
In a statement, the restaurant stated that it does not tolerate such behavior and that the franchise is retraining its staff in order to make sure that nothing like what happened to In Young ever happens again. Management has apparently directly apologized to In Young.
According to In Young, he decided to share his story about what happened at the Taco Bell in order to encourage other Asian-Americans to speak out against racism. He does not think that Asian-Americans speak out as often as they should, so racist comments and actions are often ignored.
He wants other Asians to be “more vocal” about incidents like the one he experienced.
In Young added that he did not want the employee who used the racial slur against him to be fired, as that will just cause resentment—not an acknowledgment that he did anything wrong.