Chinks don’t fuck

Queens, NY.

There’s a doorway here, cut out of the concrete flank wall along from the Roma Brothers dry-cleaning company. It’s set in, as though providing a hiding place for children playing tag or perhaps a very slight home from the rain for any homeless person who doesn’t mind standing up while they sleep.

The door itself goes to who knows where, but it is certainly very green which makes the words ‘Chinks don’t fuck‘, written tidily in heavy black marker pen, jump off the page, as it were.

I’m sure this thought was promoted by the fact that the cleaners, which for thirty years had been run by some Italians, has recently been taken over by a Chinese family. However, they are quite a large family, these Chinese, and very nice into the bargain (and very good with shirts also), and their numbers would appear to give the lie to this strange assertion, as the population of China itself does.

One night soon, and, in part, because they never put starch on my collars when I ask them not to and often repair little rips and fallen hemlines without being asked, I am going to go down to the door and add ‘up‘ at the end of the three word sentence. A small gesture admittedly, but worth making. There’s absolutely no reason literature shouldn’t fight racism with the tools at hand. Pens or otherwise.

April 1995