What he said:
“When I was growing up we used to call the Chinese ‘chingalings’. We weren’t being disrespected [sic]. We used to say: ‘We’re going to eat in chingalings.’ The Chinese weren’t offended by that. That was the name everyone in Wigan called it [the first Chinese cafe in Wigan].”
Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan puts his other foot in his mouth with his comments regarding the Chinese community in England.
It was only last month that Whelan told the Guardian that “Jewish people chase money more than everybody else”.
The resulting storm saw the club lose two of its sponsors, Premier Range and Ipro.
Whelan defended his remarks thus:
“It’s telling the truth. Jewish people love money, English people love money; we all love money.”
Whelan was then defending his hiring of Malky Mackay as Wigan’s manager.
Mackay was under investigation by the Football Association for alleged racism and anti-Semitism over his email and text exchanges while in charge of Cardiff City.
One of Mackay’s texts or emails described Cardiff City owner, the Malaysian Vincent Tan, as a chink.
Another referred to the Jewish football agent, Phil Smith, as “a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers.”
Whelan also said:
“If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman a chink he is lying. There is nothing bad about doing that. It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies.”
Simon Johnson, chief executive at the Jewish Leadership Council, said:
“Unfortunately Mr Mackay and now Mr Whelan have referred to some of the worst old-fashioned tropes which have been used in the past as the basis of anti-Semitism and stereotyping of Jewish people. Mackay used offensive language to insult a fellow participant in football using a tawdry racial stereotype.”
Wong, director of the Manchester Chinese Centre, said:
“I remember at school in the 70s a skinhead kicking me, calling me ‘chinky, chinky,’. It has stopped now; things have changed for the better. We have legal protection against racism and that is important; it is not political correctness. As a football manager, this man should not have said it.”
The British Chinese Project termed Whelan’s latest comments highly offensive.
A statement read:
“Once again, Mr Whelan, rather distressingly, believes he can speak on behalf of Chinese people. His comments are extremely unhelpful in our fight to end discrimination and racism against Chinese people in the UK. Once more, he is using a public platform to tell a wide audience what Chinese people find offensive.
Contrary to what Mr Whelan may believe, the vast majority of our community deem the terms ‘chink’ and ‘chingaling’ highly offensive. For many in the Chinese community these words hold deep emotional resonance, as they are often used in conjunction with racial violence, harassment and hate crimes.
Therefore, to say that ‘there is nothing wrong’ with using such terms or that Chinese people ‘aren’t offended’ by their use, demonstrates a dangerous level of ignorance. We have noticed that Mr Whelan has truly gone out of his way to apologise to the Jewish community, it is a shame that the same level of apology hasn’t been extended to the Chinese community. We can assure him that we are just as angry and just as offended as the Jewish community.”
Wigan, meanwhile, responded on-line saying:
“Wigan Athletic are reminding supporters that it is illegal to swear or use racist, homophobic or sexist language. The club has a zero tolerance on this and any supporter found to be using inappropriate language runs the risk of being ejected from the match.”