I see this meme make the rounds every now and again and I always want to respond, but don’t want to enter into a tirade on someone elses’ post. So I’ll make my tirade here!
-Yes, you can still order black coffee. It describes the substance in its natural state. I’ve yet to see coffee dark enough to be black, but it’s a colloquial term. While I balk at being called Black, again because I’m not that dark and I’m literal, I can exercise that agency for myself. Coffee is not sentient.
-No, brownies are not being taken off the shelf. Unless Brownies, the Sidhe, Wee Folk, Gentlemen of the Hills, and/or Fae in general make themselves overtly known and take offense, this isn’t a problem.
-White Castle can keep its name. The buildings are white. They look like castles. It makes sense. But if the business opts to change its name they have the agency to do so.
-Cracker Barrel can keep its name too. To date, I’ve never known anyone to be offended by the establishments’ moniker. But again, the business owners have the agency to do as they wish.
-According to my Google algorithm and Wikipedia, Chinese Checkers were invented in Germany as “Stern-Halma” in 1892 and rebranded in America as “Chinese Checkers” in 1928. Thus, it’s inaccurate. The game isn’t even Chinese. But Chinese isn’t in my heritage or culture. At this point, it may not matter to Chinese Americans nor the Chinese themselves. You/We would have to ask to find out. They have the agency to make that call.
-According to my Google algorithm, Indian Burn is another American term. Considering that, like Black, I find “Indian” to be an inaccurate colloquialism I do not use the word myself unless I am talking about someone with heritage and culture coming nigh directly from India. Thus, overall, I’d ward against using this phrase. “Indian”, much like The N Word, was not an upstanding reference to a whole people at any point in time. America does have a problem with calling people out of turn. All this said, if you are willing to reconsider your lexicon, maybe listen to Indigenous Americans from South America up into Canada. They have a LOT to say about their treatment in both history and the modern-day and have the agency to speak for themselves.
Side note, when was the last time you heard someone use these two terms anyhow? I’ll split hairs if you will.
-Italian sausages describe a foodstuff seasoned and prepared in a style derived from Italy, I would wager. I see many Italian restaurants, run by Italian descended families, with their own recipes for sausage. Thus I do not think that the term offends. But if Italian people change their minds I’ll respect that. Overall, the term is a broad stroke. Imagine being in Italy and someone saying they have “American Barbeque”. Most regions of the US have their variants, and of those, there are staunch supporters. But even in that group, there are further breakdowns. There is so much nuance in food and it is fun to dive in.
To summarize, don’t use the phrases/descriptors “Chinese Checkers” or “Indian Burn”. Going forward, if there is any group with agency and you are genuinely curious if you are causing offense to them, ask that group. There may be an initial annoyance, but if you are trying to learn you’ll be met with patience. This “foolishness” is respect for sapient life. It goes on until respect is meted out for everyone. Simple really.
It is not foolish to respect people. There is no shame in continuing to learn and evolve. If you don’t want to keep growing, then go stagnate in a bog somewhere. I was going to use the term “Luddite”, but I JUST looked it up and there is a modern group who have agency, so I chose a lengthier description.
See? Not that hard to do with the internet, a bit of time, and a bit of heart.