Sunday 22nd October 2017,

Asian Americans

Ξ 17 comments

Whole Foods Market: Says Ching Chong Incident “Not A Community Issue”

posted by Len Patel

Whole FoodsBy Shirley N Lew

In an apparent attempt at damage control, Whole Foods Market has responded to calls for a meeting over the use of the racial slur “ching chong” by a store employee at the chain’s New York Bowery location. Readers shared Monday’s update on Whole Foods non-responsiveness all over the internet (Thank you!). That prompted the Public Relations Manager of Whole Foods Market Northeast Region, Michael Sinatra, to call me yesterday . Someone from Whole Foods is finally reaching out to us!

 Sinatra told me he saw the story being spread on social media and that it was becoming a community issue, while he felt it only involved one individual. I have a response to that, but I’ll refrain from posting it here because I would prefer to tell him that in person as to why I feel differently.

While Sinatra apologized over the telephone to me, it would be much more meaningful for Kwok Ming Cheng, the person the slur was directed at, to hear that. Sinatra now wants us to all meet together, “over coffee,” including Damon Young, the store team leader. However, he felt there was no need for Executive Director, Margaret Fung of the Asian American Legal and Defense Education Fund to join us as I originally proposed. Sinatra offered to discuss the matter in a telephone conference if that was more convenient, but Kwok and I agree that meeting in person would be much more effective. I’ve left Sinatra a message with a few dates and times to meet. Let’s see what happens.

 If I hadn’t written the last update, would they have contacted me? What do you think? If you could be in this meeting, what questions would you ask? Share your thoughts and comments on our @AsAmNews Facebook page or on our site, www.AsAmNews.com.

Related Stories:

Whole Foods opens dialogue about racist incident, but no public apology

Whole Foods investigates apparently racist incident at NY store

The history of the racial slur “ching chong”

Popular Posts

17 Comments

  1. Appalled in NYC says:

    RE: Whole Foods Market says ching chong incident not a community issue:I think the fact that Whole Foods was dismissive of requests to meet and failed to even offer what corrective action, if any, were taken speaks volumes. To me it primarily says 1) its just those little Asians; 2) if you ignore them they will go away; and 3) oh darn, its on social media/internet now it will look bad if we don’t respond. I was such an avid fan of Whole Foods, but since this incident broke in July, I have yet to patronize one – why bother when I am not valued as a customer and/or treated respectfully.

    1. Disapointed says:

      RE: Whole Foods says ching chong incident not a “community issue”: Whole Foods has done a couple of asshole things over the years, and thinks it is some kind of progressive outfit. Even Waffle House is more progressive than Whole Foods. It has a sign on the wall clearly stating that no sexual, ethnic or racial slurs, epitaphs or discrimination will be tolerated. It almost always has a diverse group of workers of various ethnic origin that are usually cheerful and do not look browbeaten by the management. (There might be exceptions but at least the intent is written in black and white and creates a better atmosphere.) There’s little or no organic food at Waffle House but at least it has a purer attitude than Whole Foods. Also many Whole Foods are loaded with wireless radiation which makes it difficult for those of us that are sick (or suffer from EHS/wireless radiation poisoning) to shop there. Whole Foods is apparently not up on the latest science and does not yet care about this health issue. Its main product is “health” so I hope it will look into this issue along with taking a firm stance by not tolerating ethnic slurs against Asians or any other group. As a person with a health condition I do feel it is also discrimination when persons with disabilities (such as mine) do not have access without getting sick. It is also appalling that Asian Americans or others cannot shop in a store without being accorded basic human courtesy and respect. I know Whole Foods can do better than this. It was founded on the principle of health, better food and a better community life so: Get with it Whole Foods! Just do it. For info on bio health effects of WiFi and EMF radiation you can google WEEP, and scientists such as Martin Blank, Martin Pal, Andrew Marino, David Carpenter, Sam Milhouse and Magda Havas. All older PHDs, epidemiologists or doctors that have studied EMF effects for many years. Make Whole Foods a non-discriminatory place and a hard-wired, healthy, less toxic place for everyone. It won’t cost lots of money at all, only a shift to greater awareness.

  2. Yogi says:

    RE: Whole Food Market says ching chong incident not a community issue: They are just like any corporation. If you don’t put them in the news spotlight, they hope you just fade and go away.

    1. Sai chow says:

      RE: Whole Foods says ching chong incident not a community issue: Peaceful boycott from buying in Whole Food stores is the way to go! Not that they will take us seriously since their main target customers are not Asians but is a start!

  3. Corky Lee says:

    RE: Whole Foods Market says ching chong incident not a community issue: I’ve always felt from the beginning, that if the corporate office saw a newscast about the incident, an immediate response would be forthcoming. It’s been close to 2 months and the regional manager happened to find out about the incident on social media? Guess the store manager was “hiding the incident under the rug”. If it was a African Americian that was offended, there would have been a faster response.

  4. Aloe says:

    Re: Whole Foods Market says ching chong incident not a community issue: Wow, this is terrible. I think Whole Foods should issue a public apology. That is unacceptable to call someone a racial slur while an employee and representing a company, and then to have the company ignore the issue and hope it goes away.

    1. chinatownResident says:

      RE: Whole Foods Market says ching chong incident not a community issue: This is NOT acceptable. There should be a zero tolerance policy for such deplorable act. This employee needs to be reprimanded from the top down, otherwise it’s as if the CEO condones such acts and simply brushes complaints aside.

      Demand immediate action! the community should be picketing in front of the store!

  5. A Concerned Asian says:

    RE: Whole Foods says ching chong incident not a community issue: It’s been said that one who does not object to or take action against an injustice becomes part of that injustice. It up to we Asians to speak up, take a stand and stop being the silent minority. Voice your opinions with your purchasing power. The bottom line is what motivates corporations. Let’s ask ourselves if Whole Foods took any disciplinary action against this employee or made a public apology to the Asian community. If not, then share this incident with as many people as you can and all vote with your wallets.

    1. A Concerned Asian says:

      What does AsAmNews mean when it states my comment is awaiting “moderation”? If AsAmNews think my comments need “moderation” when in all truth my comments are moderate then do remove my post as I do not wish to continue to be part of the silent majority that AsAmNews is insisting we remained. Prehaps AsAmNews is less than reflective of the views of the Asian community it claims to represent.

      1. AsAmNews says:

        To Concerned Asian: The comments on this site are moderated to reduce the number of spam emails sent to this site posing as comments. AsAmNews is run by volunteers, and comments are not moderated 24/7. We apologize for the delay in moderating your comments. But rest assured, comments are approved as long as they do not contain offensive racial or sexual language. This is true even if AsAmNews might disagree with the comment.

  6. aaactivist says:

    RE: Whole Food Market says ching chong incident not a community issue: Where are the picket lines from our community? That is why there is no response.

  7. Peter Goldberg says:

    RE: Whole Foods says ching chong incident not a community issue: Whole food should close shop. Their employees are senseless in this 21st century which means their management team does not take the racist issue seriously and no education to their employees about the issue.

  8. J Eng says:

    RE: Whole Foods says ching chong not a community issue: My mother was told in a Chinatown bakery that her old clothing and her overall appearance made her look like a beggar (hut yi) but no one at Bowery Whole Foods has ever been anything but nice to her including the Chinese staffers,

    I have a cousin with the same last name (Chiang as in Chiang Kai Shek) and we couldn’t figure out how to spell it and actually had the conversation recently: is it Chiang? Chang? Chan?

    There are worse things than being intentionally Ching Choing’ed and when it happens to Koreans at Hooters and Jews at another restaurant where they get racistly identified, they alert the press but they don’t make it an issue.

    Notice that a Japanese American went after South Park for considering a new series that would end up being City Wok but not a sound when City Wok was in the regular episodes especially not CIty Sushi.

    Whole Foods is already apologetic but I can’t get over the contrast in nastiness and kindness between a Chinese store and Whole Foods towards my mother. I think it’s great that there is community support when something like this happens but we should reciprocate when the other side tries to rectify the matter instead of trying to demand that they do more. How many times has a Chinese store delayed and avoided responding to a customer complaint? I’ve been kept waiting not only more than an hour while management looking staff walk past me and get a good look at me and been told to come back another time. But I can’t call racism and just have to suck it up and hope that patience and courtesy will be eventually reciprocated. Can no one else claim that some Chinese stores are like that? Not all but certainly some established ones.

  9. J Eng says:

    Chinese language media covers Whole Foods racial slur incident: http://worldjournal.com/bookmark/25663434–Wholef

    somehow google translates cheng and chiang

  10. Re: Whole Foods Market says ching chong incident not a community issue: Wow, this is terrible. I think Whole Foods should issue a public apology. That is unacceptable to call someone a racial slur while an employee and representing a company, and then to have the company ignore the issue and hope it goes away.

  11. Adam says:

    RE: Whole Foods says ching chong incident not a community issue:Yes peaceful boycott may be the best plan here.

  12. ركن البيت says:

    Whole Foods Market says ching chong incident not a community issue:I think the fact that Whole Foods was dismissive of requests to meet and failed to even offer what corrective action, if any, were taken speaks volumes. To me it primarily says 1) its just those little Asians; 2) if you ignore them they will go away; and 3) oh darn, its on social media/internet now it will look bad if we don’t respond. I was such an avid fan of Whole Foods, but since this incident broke in July, I have yet to patronize one – why bother when I am not valued as a customer and/or treated respectfully

Comments are closed.

Search

Get Social

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,402 other subscribers

AsAmNews has Asian America in Its Heart

Please support AsAmNews by sharing & commenting on our stories

Like Us on Facebook & follow on Twitter