On Making Chinatown More ‘Chinese’

Major retailers have opened up shop in D.C.’s Chinatown, revitalizing the neighborhood. But only about 500 Chinese immigrants remain in the area and the number of Chinese-owned stores and restaurants has declined through the years. Now, the District government wants to retain the cultural history of the neighborhood by revamping the area’s signs, lampposts and benches to make them appear more “Chinese.”

I don’t think that’s going to do much for the remaining Chinese residents of Chinatown, and creating a Disneyfied version of their neighborhood isn’t a good way to honor their heritage. Furthermore, it’s a bit rich of the city to go to such great lengths to maintain appearances when it helped cause the decline of Chinatown in the first place by bringing in big-time development and national chains that forced immigrant businesses out. And if adding Chinese characters to street signs were actually an attempt to help out the old folks who don’t read English, the city should be translating Mt. Pleasant signs into Spanish.

Read more at: www.washingtoncitypaper.com