Go Back to Your Country

Go back to your country. Send her back.

We hear it on TV and the radio.

The Chinese must go. (See posters, news clips, and ads below.)

None of it’s new. People who look like me have been hearing it since the ’50s.

The 1850s.

Ching chong ding dong.

Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these.
(This chant, recited by little white boys to me, had hand motions that accompanied it:
“CHINESE” – pulling their eyes into an upward slant
“JAPANESE” – pulling their eyes into a downward slant
“DIRTY KNEES” – pointing to their knees
“LOOK AT THESE” – pulling the tops of their shirts to mimic breasts)

Me Chinese, me play joke, me put peepee in your Coke.

Fucking chink.

I’ve been hearing it since the first grade. Though I was Springsteened here. I’ve never even been to China.

“I’ve been hearing it” is the present perfect continuous tense. I.e., it’s never stopped.

For those of us with darker skin, we are born into it, and for generations, we have died still in it.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can make it stop, if all of us speak up, every day, to call out playground bullies and presidential ones.

Or else, while I may not go back to China, we all will go back to the ’50s.

Which ’50s?

Does it matter?

And now, as promised, the top ten variations on a hit 19th-century theme: “The Chinese must go!”

“They must go.” Double entendre. Presumably, only the rats will be eaten.
Thank you, Tacoma, Washington!
“You can go or stay.”
“The Chinese must go,” and this detergent will help.
“The Chinese must go,” and you can “join the army” for the “war on the Chinese.”
This steam washer will make us go.
I guess boots will make us go, too!
Hey hey, ho ho, “the pigtail has got to go.”
“Chinese must go.” I guess back in the 1800s, it was thought that assaulting our hair would make us magically go back to China.

We close with this “The Chinese Must Go” gem, a cap gun patented in 1882. When the trigger is pulled, the man in back gives the Chinese man a butt-kicking; simultaneously, the cap fires off in the Chinese man’s mouth. Collector’s item!