We should have done better
June 4, 2020
An anonymous comment drew our attention to a misstep in last week's edition in which we allowed the use of the term Chinaman in a letter to the editor.
It was strange for us to see that term; it's an archaic term and not in our normal vocabulary. It was used in conjunction with writing from Cathlamet's past, perhaps close to 100 years ago.
But after receiving that anonymous comment, I went to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, always a good starting place for quick research. Here's what Wikipedia had to say about the term:
"Chinaman is an indiscriminate term referring to a Chinese man or person, a Mainland Chinese national, or, in some cases, a person native to geographical East Asia or of perceived East Asian race. While the term has no negative connotations in older dictionaries, and the usage of such compound terms as Englishman, Frenchman and Irishman are sometimes cited as unobjectionable parallels, the term is noted as offensive by modern dictionaries."
And so, we are chagrined. We certainly never meant any offense; we apologize to anyone who may have been offended, and we have come away a bit smarter than we were before.