Over the weekend of Sept. 8, the anti-Asian slur “gook” was found in two locations in downtown Flushing. Find coverage below from Queens Chronicle and Korea Daily, which both reported on the incident, along with a press conference held by borough politicians on Sept. 12 to speak out against the slurs. DNAinfo also reports on a Korean-American who found “CHINX” written on his receipt from Hooters.
At the press conference, State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) condemned the act, reports Liz Rhoades for Queens Chronicle.
The graffiti was discovered over the weekend on an empty storefront at 31-32 Union St. and on a World Journal van parked at Union St. and 32nd Ave. The journal is the largest Chinese newspaper in North America and is headquartered in Whitestone.
Stavisky held the press conference outside the storefront, which is the future home of the Mitchell-Linden Library. The word written on both sites was “gook,” a negative reference to either Koreans or Vietnamese.
Korea Daily‘s Seungjae Seo includes a brief history of the word:
“Gook” is the anti-Asian slur that targets Koreans in particular. The term emerged from the U.S. Army during the Korean War in 1950. They used “gook” as a derogatory term after hearing Koreans say “Mi Gook,” to refer to “America.” The term means “country” in Korean.
“Gook” was commonly used during the Vietnam War as a slur against the Vietnamese, especially enemy troops. The term continues to be a derogatory term to refer to people of Vietnamese and Korean descent.
In nearby Fresh Meadows, a Korean-American customer at Hooters in July noticed on his receipt that an employee had referred to him as “CHINX.” Though the employee resigned, customer Kisuk Cha has sued the restaurant, DNAinfo reported last week.
On a related note, back in January, a teen was fired after a Korean-American customer at a Papa John’s in Harlem was described as “lady chinky eyes.”