The reasons for changing these place names, and reckoning with their histories, are both ethical and strategic.
But when other Americans mistreat Chinese Americans, it aids Beijing in three important ways.
Renaming place names containing the word “Chinaman” is not about ignoring local history, or about censoring certain words.
“It’s about intimacy and irony.”Indeed, racist Chinese names aren’t the only ones that need fixing.
In the 1960s, many communities updated their place names, adding the word “Negro” in place of the even more pejorative term that had been used before.