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    #1

    Is the word "Chinaman" used in a sarcastic way? Or used humourously?

    The definition of Chinaman: offensive terms for a person of Chinese descent
    (archaic (or derogatory) a native or inhabitant of China

    Context:

    The Spirit of the Chinese People A Paper that was to have been read before the Oriental Society of Peking
    LET me first of all explain to you what I propose, with your permission, this afternoon to discuss. The subject of our paper I have called "The Spirit of the Chinese people."! do not mean here merely to speak of the character or characteristics of the Chinese people. Chinese characteristics have often been described before, but I think you will agree with me that such description or enumeration of the characteristics of the Chinese people hitherto have given us no picture at all of the inner being of the Chinaman. Besides, when we speak of the character or characteristics of the Chinese, it is not possible to generalize. The character of the Northern Chinese, as you know, is as different from that of the Southern Chinese as the character of the Germans is different from that of the Italians.
    But what I mean by the spirit of the Chinese people, is the spirit by which the Chinese people live, something constitutionally distinctive in the mind, temper and sentiment of the Chinese people which distinguishes them from all other people, especially from those of modern Europe and America. Perhaps I can best express what I mean by calling the subject of our discussion the Chinese type of humanity, or, to put it in plainer and shorter words, the real Chinaman.
    Now, what is the real Chinaman? That, I am sure, you will all agree with me, is a very interesting subject, especially at the present moment, when from what we see going on around us in China today, it would seem that the Chinese type of humanity_the real Chinaman_is going to disappear and, in his place, we are going to have a new type of humanity_the progressive or modern Chinaman. In fact I propose that before the real Chinaman, the old Chinese type of humanity, disappears altogether from the world we should take a good last look at him and see if we can find anything organically distinctive in him which makes him so different from all other people and from the new type of humanity which we see rising up in China today.


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    The Spirit of the Chinese People - Wikisource, the free online library

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    #2

    Re: Is the word "Chinaman" used in a sarcastic way? Or used humourously?

    I imagine this author is Chinese and his use of "Chinaman" is meant to represent an honorable figure, an ideal.

    The thing about "offensive" terms is that their use is prohibited to outsiders, but not necessarily to those in the group. As a white American, I can't call a person of Chinese descent a "Chinaman," but they can refer to themselves in that way if they wish.

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    #3

    Re: Is the word "Chinaman" used in a sarcastic way? Or used humourously?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    The thing about "offensive" terms is that their use is prohibited to outsiders, but not necessarily to those in the group.
    The N-word is an example of this. White people (what a silly expression for people whose skin colour is, except perhaps for albinos, never white) cannot use this to refer to 'black' people, but some 'black' people use it of themselves.

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